Articles Blog

Living on a Generation Ship | Unveiled

Living on a Generation Ship | Unveiled

Living on a Generation Ship Despite being among the fastest objects ever
built by humanity, space shuttles are slow. They’re not nearly powerful enough to truly
explore the universe, or even the solar system. The harsh reality is that we may never be
able to build the machines needed to practically send people to explore other planets. So, if speed isn’t the answer to interstellar
travel, then what is? This is Unveiled and today we’re uncovering
the extraordinary truth about living on a generation ship. Are you a fiend for facts? Are you constantly curious? Then why not subscribe to Unveiled for more
clips like this one? And ring the bell for more fascinating content! The universe places a speed limit on matter;
the speed of light. That’s a big problem for us because, given
how massive space is, it means that most of the stars and planets are out of our reach
forever. If an astronaut-carrying ship were to travel
to the nearest star at speeds we’re currently capable of for a ship of that size, then everyone
on board would have died of old age before arriving. But – and here’s the important part – if
that original crew were to have children during the journey, then the next generation could
keep on traveling. That’s the idea behind a generation ship
– a spaceship large enough to house a group of people that will live and die in transit. But, by allowing future generations to take
over, humanity as a whole could survive the long, long stretches of time needed to voyage
across space… and one day make it to a distant star system. In theory, a generation ship makes interstellar
travel to anywhere possible. These ships are a popular subject in science
fiction because of this, but also for a few other reasons. For one, some argue that they could one day
be needed. If any kind of catastrophe were to happen
to us on Earth – like an extinction or an unprecedented natural disaster – then a generation
ship out in the cosmos would survive us… and anyone on board would suddenly become
the last of life from this planet. But, even without some kind of Armageddon,
proposed generation ships would be on the frontline of our search for new home planets. Right now, we have only a few Second Earth
candidates based on brief sightings made by our most powerful telescopes… but reaching
any of them is a task that would take hundreds or thousands of years. By the time a generation ship had journeyed
to them, then, it will have staged whole eras of human history. But, if the crew members alive at the time
of arrival were able to start colonies on other, habitable worlds, then they would have
succeeded in spreading humanity across the cosmos. Where generation ships are concerned, it’s
a case of playing “the long game”. So, what would a ship like that look like? First, it would have to be massive. As in, almost inconceivably huge. And it would have to house an initial crew
of at least 100 to 500 people – ideally more. While estimates on the minimum viable population
for humans do vary – that is, the minimum number of people required for long-term survival
– 500 is usually held as the lower limit. Life for these 500 would be so far removed
from life on Earth, though. It’s thought that human beings would suffer
various health issues if they lived in zero or low-gravity environments for a long time…
so reliably simulating gravity would be key. It’s another reason why the size of the
ship would be so important. Not only would those on board require space
to live, but the vessel would also need to be large enough and built in such a way to
produce the centrifugal force necessary for sufficient anti-gravity. Even then, the conditions would take some
getting used to! For anyone on-board, though, this ship is
life. Their long-distance mission may have started
with strong links to the Earth it was leaving behind, but those connections would fade over
time, and later generations could even grow to forget Earth altogether – living their
lives without ever seeing much besides the stars outside and infinite stretches of darkness. Naturally, then, a unique society would form,
but one where discipline and order were key. Children growing up wouldn’t have many options
for careers – understanding that everything they do should be for the better of the ship. But the idea of “purpose” would likely
be passed from generation to generation; the belief that their own seemingly limited lives
were allowing for intergalactic exploration. In the event that the ship was actually escaping
an Earth in some kind of trouble, then there’d also be the knowledge on board that they had
somehow evaded their own planet’s demise. Clearly, tensions could run high… especially
given the probable monotony of everyday life. Even if those on board had futuristic ways
to change and update the entertainment options available to them – including movies, music
and books – being endlessly confined within the same metallic structure, always cast thousands
of miles from anything else of note, could have a dramatic impact on a person’s mental
health. They’d walk the same corridors every day,
speak to the same people every day, and be greeted by the same endless view whenever
they passed a window. They say; “variety is the spice of life”,
but there’d be precious little variety here! Maintaining the ship’s gardens would be
one of the most crucial tasks, seeing as they’d be a source of oxygen, food and a tangible
reminder of Earth. In terms of produce, food from the gardens
would need to offer big yields that are quick to grow and have a high energy content. In the movie, “The Martian”, the main
character opts for potatoes, but other top contenders for space farming include tomatoes
and corn. Whatever the case, diet on a generation ship
is another aspect of life that would become very predictable very quickly. And it doesn’t get a great deal better when
we consider the water that would be available to wash it all down. Water would be recycled in much the same ways
as it is for astronauts on the International Space Station – as a filtered product of everyone
else’s sweat, urine and wash water. But, if that sounds disgusting, it actually
shouldn’t – astronaut water is said to be cleaner than what most of us drink on Earth. Other than food, drink the mental strain and
the effects of anti-gravity, arguably the most pressing concern for those on a generation
ship would be radiation. For NASA, prolonged radiation exposure is
one of the chief threats on any prospective deep space mission – let alone a continuous
voyage across the universe! On Earth, we’re protected from the effects
of radiation by our magnetosphere, but on spaceships as we currently understand them
there’s no such cover. In a hypothetical time when generation ships
are a reality, perhaps radiation-proofing will have also improved enough to make the
ship impenetrable. If it hasn’t, then those inside would be
at far higher risk of developing some cancers… and, seeing as high levels of radiation can
even damage our DNA, it’d pose not just a risk to the individual but also to the future
generations that the mission relies on. Elsewhere, the focus would simply be on keeping
the ship running. Engine failures; power outages; damage to
the outer walls… they could all prove deadly and could all happen at any moment of any
day. Say the means of artificial gravity faltered;
everyone and everything on board – from the food to the furniture – would suddenly be
scattered. Say the thrusters shut down; an already incredibly
long journey just got a little longer… In reality, living on a generation ship would
be a round-the-clock job. With so many imminent dangers and potential
problems to contend with, even during downtime it’d be impossible to totally switch off
from the task at hand – which is surviving. From the moment you were born to the moment
you died, you’d be a vital component to a small and unique social set-up suspended
in space. There’d be no time for childhood and no
option of retirement. By simply existing on the ship you’d be
a valuable part of it. The “daily grind” could prove almost unbearable
at times… but there’d be little choice but to complete it in the hope that you, your
children or your children’s children could one day step off of the ship and onto a brand-new
and exciting planet. What do you think? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments, check out these
other clips from Unveiled, and make sure you subscribe and ring the bell for our latest

76 thoughts on “Living on a Generation Ship | Unveiled”

  1. I love this channel very much because of the content and learning about outer space and the questions that no one things about.

  2. But wouldn鈥檛 it be immoral making all descendants that didn鈥檛 sign for this force them to live in a ship, forever?

  3. Why is it always assumed that we would use 1 giant ship? Why not multiple smaller vessels? It might cost about the same amount, maybe a little more, but it would increase the chances of survival if one ship were to break down, there would be more space for more people and etc…

  4. I see this channel as the best on earth, giving us good facts.
    I wish that this channel becomes the first to cross 1B subscribers…

  5. I think travel through worm holes or bending space time to arrive nearly instantaneously would make more sense then decades of travel and not knowing if help would arrive should there be major mechanical issues. Perhaps teaming up and starting commercial relationships with others (here or from other worlds) who have already figured this out would be the best option. Peaceful relationships from country to country are shrinking our world as ideas and inventions are shared via social media. No doubt the same thing will happen in this galaxy and beyond. Are you prepared for change?

  6. Yeah, good move…. Dooming your children to life in a tin can eating recycled dead people and recycled waste and morphing into top-heavy wet noodles. Tell it like it will be not with a bow-tie on it.

  7. I remember a sci-fi story about a generation ship that had traveled from Earth for 1,000 years. After reaching the destination world, which was very similar to Earth, and disembarking, everyone started complaining, things like "Wind!! Water from the sky!! The sun… so bright!! Plants have overgrown everything!! It's hot!! It's cold!! Dirt everywhere!! etc. etc. and on and on until finally they all returned to their generation ship and left, preferring to live on it which they had grown so accustomed to.

  8. This reminds me of the tv series Battle Star Galactic looking for the lost tribe (Earth), after the people have forgotten Earth in a generation ship.

  9. I had two dreams about Generation ships ( well I assume they are) and the entire time I felt deeply uncomfortable and the experience was greatly unsettling. I remember always feeling anxious and worried that one of the ships components would fail and lead to death. So yeah if asked in real life I would say no

  10. Wow! What a downer …. If the average villager, of a few centuries ago, could be born and die within the same 2 or 3 mile space, would a generation ship be any different as far as variety?

  11. Sir how many million light years away is this brand new dream planet, any thoughts ? Isn't it better hang around here unless you are a faster than light Traveller 馃檪

  12. What if something like VR games (or something more developed with senses like wind, smell and touch), could act as a replacer for those boring days, leading to a source of exploration (the games could be based on earth) and sense of change?

    That could also help with something another comment said about a book (were the characters arrive only to think everything is irritating (the sun, too hot/cold, dirt everywhere and preferring the ship), since the VR game (if featuring all senses) could make them more used to earths/earth like qualities.
    Imagine a military boot camp in VR as a school exam for the younglings lol

  13. Just knowing that your children and your grand children would not set foot off the ship would render this mission impossible. Too big of a sacrifice

  14. Get life in prison if you want to simulate it, drink endlessly recycled urine for effect.. considering at the fastest speed we can go now it would take 25 thousand years to reach the nearest star, we wanna have a good power source, and know there is a suitable planet waiting, and what condition for planet fall those far distant generations will have is anyones guess. none i imagine..stupid idea, grasping at anything in desperation of the realisation that we cant actually go anywhere in this universe no matter what, ever, and that sucks so bad we come up with generation ships..clowns. face facts the universe is not for us, and thats better look after this spaceship mud planet you are on being destroyed before your eyes, at the rate of Toxic microscopic plastic dust ingestion and inhalation, a credit card in weight currently for all of us per week, you lot wont last another twenty years before organ failure, poor clowns, and they dream of other worlds…clean your own space ship earth up before dreaming of dying of old age in a deep space prison and condemning our children to the same fate while drinking urine recyce .. really its a dumb ass idea..

  15. Imagine future generations coming back to earth not knowing that鈥檚 where they came from and thinking they found new life lol that would suck

  16. We already live on a large generation ship. Need some more mechanics though, we seem to have a bit of a carbon dioxide problem.

  17. Imagine reaching Alpha Centauri after 1000 years travelling in a generation ship only to realise someone else from Earth got there first only 1 day earlier, using a FTL ship which took them 20mins to reach Alpha Centauri from Earth…

  18. Just take enough of that dense pasta neutron stars consist of and put it at the center of a spherical spaceship, and you'll have the same gravity as here on Earth. 馃

  19. The ship could be launched with eggs, sperm and or frozen embryo and not grown until when needed, and trained by holographic and robotic tutors. Never saw that scenario in a sci fi story

  20. It looks like someone either has watched or should watch the short-lived "Ascension" series (Tricia Helfer, it's well worth checking out, though it ended on a cliffhanger). Very relevant to this subject.

  21. You think your life lacks purpose leading to an existential crisis? Try being anything other than the first or last generation on one of those ships. There would be high temptation for someone to ruin the mission in order to be remembered. And what are you going to do? Screen the children as they're born for psychological suitability and blow them out the airlock if they fail to pass the strenuous requirements for long-term space travel?

  22. How are they planning on overcoming the "rule of lessor returns" when it comes to the water ? If they are only recycling their waste it simply will not work since no human puts out more fluid than they take in unless something is medically wrong . How are they planning on watering those plants as well as themselves ? Even if they carried components to make the water themselves eventually they would run out . No Quickie-Mart in space to resupply . Just saying IMO the listed options for long term water聽are inadequate .

  23. You're suggesting a Noah's ark to the stars. Madness would take over and ruin the project. For humans deep sleep, robots or cryogenics is the solution until we build light speed ships.

  24. My question is would it be armed ? You have no idea what it would find or face . And must be prepared for anything. To protect the passengers.

  25. We should really get radical life extension and or relativistic propulsion technology before we start interstellar travel.

  26. The advanced beings use a form of teleportation…as primitive as we may seem in 1943 the USA were playing with this technology… the Philadelphia Project.!

  27. The closest exoplanet known (Proxima Centauri b) is a mere 4.2 light years away, and some folks speculate we can achieve 10% the speed of light with some advanced technology, so that means about 42 years of travel. Certainly doable with just two generations of humans.

  28. I just don't see a lot of space sex happening. Considering that we've had at least a few instances long ago in which the population was dangerously low – which btw is the reason there are so many similar looking people and also the reason incest eventually results in defects, it'd make way more sense to grow fetuses from stocks of disparate DNA. Then the DNA could be tweaked for optimum survival in space.

  29. One of (if not THE) biggest casualties of such a voyage, would be human knowledge. So many resources would be used for simply surviving, no research facilities would be possible and no reagents/materials could be produced. Medicine would be confined to what we already know at the time of departure. Physics & astronomy might fare quite well but only at the theoretical level. Performing experiments would be nigh on impossible with no access to new equipment. Also, nobody on board would have any experience in construction of buildings and machinery. Upon arrival at the new planet, life would be extremely difficult as a result. Some of you may be thinking about deconstructing the ship and using its parts for accommodation…but you'd have to land the bloody thing! Given the size of it, this would prove rather difficult.

  30. And then they successfully arrive at the planet 2000 years from now. 鈥淥h. I guess it鈥檚 uninhabitable.鈥 馃し鈥嶁檪锔

  31. Lol. Let鈥檚 say this worked. I doubt a generation brought up on a generation ship would even know what to do once they landed on a planet. I bet a good chunk of the population would prefer to stay in space. They鈥檇 probably riot and mutiny.

  32. Well that was kind of depressing. I had my heart set on being an intergalactic
    super stud. Spreading my seed from solar system to solar system.
    It pains me to think of all the time I wasted kissing my ET doll.

  33. The first generation would struggle with earth separation for the remanor of thair life but all following generations would do fine .

  34. Such a waste…. how limited in your thinking. Long term space travel is prob ai and robot operated. Biological bodies would be cloned when you get to the end of the journey…. knowledge and personalities would be downloaded from computer storage into the clones.

  35. Imagine being born like 10 generations in and there鈥檚 still 10 generations to go. I wonder if it would suck or if it would be normal

  36. The future will be loading your consciousness into avatars and living forever. No gravity required. We will be our own space ships one day. Humans will evolve once AI is truly realized. Radiation will be laughed at one day, buy our robat AI great great great grandchildren.

  37. I鈥檓 not a scientist but I think sharing the concept that psychologically Humans would not be able to survive without Earth because we are all electromagnetically connected with the planet. This 鈥渇ield鈥 could be our psychological life source we all require for our evolving physical form with consciousness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *