19,000 to 81,000 Years, Time to Conquer a Galaxy

We tell you the data provided by Heritage, the simulation program that tells us the conditions of the space shuttle, or the space ship, necessary to colonize other galaxies.

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We tell you the data provided by Heritage, the simulation program that tells us the conditions of the space shuttle, or the space ship, necessary to colonize other galaxies.

No matter how advanced we think we are, humanity is nowhere near ready to colonize other planets, much less to go to the nearest galaxy. There is no planet of our system that interests us to colonize, for the moment, for not meeting the necessary conditions. It would be necessary to terraform the planet and it is unfeasible, for the moment.

What if we build a ship to go to another galaxy and colonize a planet?

There are about 2,000 exoplanets in which we could live, if we propose it, but at the moment it is a suicide mission. The closest star is Proxima Centauri, a star that is 4.24 light-years away from us. It is “little”, but we do not yet have the necessary propulsion technology to travel at the speed of light.

This means that, with the current propulsion systems, it would take between 19,000 and 81,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri, and you can now take stock of what such a trip would mean for humanity. If you have imagined generations of humans dying and being born during the trip, you have succeeded. And the Heritage program has been created to calculate what we would need to make a trip of those characteristics viable.
Heritage is a program developed by Frederic Marin, of the Astronomical Observatory of Strasbourg, and Camille Beluffi, particle physics of the Casc4de scientific foundation. Together with Rhys Taylor, of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Loic Grau, engineer of Morphosense, they have calculated the resources that we would have to invest to colonize other planets.

Heritage calculates everything that would have to be taken into account to create space “ships” to take humanity to other galaxies, and there is not much hope at the moment. In the analysis, the team calculates that it would be necessary to have a minimum of 98 people to be able to go to another star system. It is the ideal number so that, when reproducing for thousands of years between them, no genetic disorders appear.

As they are “few”, there has been a margin of up to 500 settlers in the ship. Now, how would they feed? Loading the ship is not an option, so the food should be grown. This adds a few thousand kilograms to the equation, so the ship should be large and heavy enough to send it into space. In addition, fuel also plays an important role in weight.

To feed the population of 500 people, it would take an area of ​​0.45 square kilometers of artificial land to raise animals and grow plants, and that raises the size of the ship. The easiest thing would be to create a ferry like the ones we have seen in the cinema, with a circular structure so that they can orbit and create a kind of artificial gravity.

The minimum radius would be about 224 meters and would be 320 meters long. If you compare it with terrestrial buildings, it’s not too much, but here the difficulty is in throwing “that” into space or building it there directly so as not to waste tons of fuel just on take-off.

That is, Heritage has done all the calculations, except one. And, the most important resource, water, could not be calculated. Scientists believe that the water that is loaded on board the ship is not enough, even if it is recycled, since it would end up being depleted (and sooner than expected). In fact, however deep the simulation of Heritage, they leave the problem of calculating the water needed to colonize other planets for further investigation.

As you can see, it would not be cheap, simple and almost viable, at the moment, to create a ferry to colonize a planet. But at least we have an idea of ​​the ship we would need for it.


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