An Earth-like planet is found orbiting a distant star. It has water. And we can tell that something is living on the planet but we can’t determine what kind. To get there will take hundreds of years in a generation ship. There’s no suspended animation: only your (distant) descendants will see and, hopefully, colonise the planet.
Your ship is a partially hollowed-out asteroid 2 miles wide and 10 miles long. The initial crew is 1000 people. When you land, the target is having 10,000 colonists when you get in orbit around the planet. You job will include both building more living space inside the asteroid and teaching the descendants and passing on cultural values. The trip will take between 500 and 800 years. The asteroid would carry many times the equivalent of the Library of Congress. It would also contain a complete film library of movies, documentaries and tv shows. Obviously, it would also contain all the seeds needed grow plants and trees. Bacteria, viruses and the like would also be on board.
You would be able to go with your family if all the adults agreed and everyone (including the children) passed the tests. Would you volunteer to be a colonist? Why or why not?
*75% of this panel possessed science degrees, including a physicist. Continue reading LonCon3 #6: Generation Starship – Would you sign up?