This is pretty much the first question I’ll need to answer to transfer my human subjects realistically to my own galaxy far far away.
Obviously, the ship will require a power source capable of moving a massive ship for a very long distance at a very high speed. Do I want to have my humans live through several generations during the ship, should I go for stasis solution or wormhole travel?
I know they’d need to have some sort of vegetable garden – or several – within the ship. Should I also take chicken aboard – a source of protein and doesn’t require as much food as larger livestock. The chicken would also provide a natural fertilizer to use in the gardens. In that respect, perhaps a few pigs or goats might be a good investment also, although then you’d need to invest also in room available. And, especially if travel takes many generations, breeding the animals.
Of course, the ship will have to have room for a large number of people. It will need cooking facilities, communal space for rest and recreation, a gym… And one of the most important things, control room. Maybe I should draw myself some maps of what it could be like? I need to have a clear impression on where they’re going, what are they likely to see on the way, etc.
There is also the need for personnel. A captain, control room staff, engineers for maintenance, computer techs, all sort of managerial staff to handle the day-to-day life of the ship (food use, waste management…), doctors, people to work the gardens, with the possible animals, cooking, if I’m going for the generation travel, teachers are of vital importance… A ton of tasks, so no one should really be unemployed.
If we go for the stasis solution, most of the points above would be moot. I doubt I’d go for stasis, because it kind of removes the “journey” part of the journey story. ‘They went to stasis and woke up a week before they found a good planet.’ Stasis would, however, make this last part very interesting.
How do we choose who goes and who stays? The best and brightest of their fields? An even mix of all cultures and beliefs, all chosen for their abilities to colonize new worlds. This should really give a good chance to explore human psyche and behavior in writing. It’ll also pose a great challenge to create so many individuals and trying to act as they would as representatives of different cultures.
That leads to the next question: how soon in the future am I setting their departure date? If they depart a hundred years from now, world might be drastically different.
In any case, I will have to do some research in many cultures should I go for the multicultural approach, just to avoid stereotypes.
Lets see what happens to the preliminary listing I just presented when I put a bit of study time into some of these questions. I fear this will just be the tip of the iceberg: there is a great deal I don’t know in the field of mechanics and technology, and I don’t really want to make huge mistakes. Glossing over in broad terms isn’t always the way to go, it just sometime points ever clearer towards a lack of knowledge in an area.
Next, I think, I need a list on subjects to refresh my knowledge on. I might do a post about useful research material and some pointers I got from that.