Talk Series: Worldship Design
Date: 10th November 2020
Time: 8pm UTC (London time)
Presenter: Andreas Hein
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World ships are hypothetical, large, self-contained spacecraft for crewed interstellar travel, taking centuries to reach other stars. Due to their crewed nature, size, and long trip times, the feasibility of world ships faces an additional set of challenges compared to interstellar probes. Despite their emergence in the 1980s, most of these topics remain unexplored. This talk revisits some of the key feasibility issues of world ships. First, definitions of world ships from the literature are revisited and the notion of world ship positioned with respect to similar concepts such as generation ships. Second, the key question of population size is revisited in light of recent results from the literature. Third, socio-technical and economic feasibility issues are evaluated. Finally, world ships are compared to potential alternative modes of crewed interstellar travel. Key roadblocks for world ships are the considerable resources required, shifting its economic feasibility beyond the year 2300, and the development of a maintenance system capable of detecting, replacing, and repairing several components per second. The emergence of alternative, less costly modes of crewed interstellar travel at an earlier point in time might render world ships obsolete.
About the speaker
Andreas is the Executive Director and Director Technical Programs of the UK-based not-for-profit Initiative for Interstellar Studies (i4is). He is also an assistant professor of systems engineering at CentraleSupélec – Université Paris-Saclay. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Technical University of Munich and conducted his PhD research on heritage technologies in space programs there and at MIT. He is an INCOSE member, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and a Fellow of the Stanford Ignite – Polytechnique program. He has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences. For his research, Andreas has received the Exemplary Systems Engineering Doctoral Dissertation Award and the Willy Messerschmitt Award.
About the series
The i4is Education Team are running a series of online talks for i4is members. The talks are based on the various modules we have provided for the ISU recently. The main reason for holding these talks is to give the i4is members another benefit for their support. We also see this talk series as being beneficial to our i4is colleagues and research collaborators by giving them the opportunity to present to an interested group, topics that intrigue them. We hope that you will join us.