This. Also, for those that didn’t get the memo, a man ain’t just a woman who’s permanently unable to become pregnant. Not only are there some jobs that shouldn’t be done while pregnant: there are some jobs that one man can do that one woman can’t. It’s weird how many people have been assuming all through this thread that our colonists have nothing to do but breed, and a man’s only value is as a sperm donor.
I don’t know, but surely one of them has to be Cecil.
I also think one of them should be Raica Oliveira. It’s taken 70 thousand years of evolution to produce this very precious set of genes. We can’t just let them get discarded in the process.
If you keep the males to a minimum you’ll minimize the need for a large police force and prisons.
Given the terms set out they’re all going to die of starvation, so it makes little difference what sex ratio or occupations are included.
Interesting(and probable) conclusion. Is it true even if you could handpick the group for survivability? I can’t think of a time in history this type of experiment has been tried before.
Good gravy. What on earth (um, pun not intended) would inspire any woman to get on this ark? “Get on this ship because we need you to make babies. Oh, and you can’t pick the fathers, you just have to stay pregnant. Got it?”
In any case, a lot depends on how much tech is going along. If a lot, you need people who know how to operate and/or fix the tech. If little, you need people who know how to survive without it.
These numbers are so small, I wonder if the best strategy would be taking extant families–youngish couples with youngish children.
Well, they have no domesticates at all. So, no agriculture. So, no food barring what can be hunted and gathered. But they have no tools. So they’ll be limited to flint-knapping, at least to start, and what are the chances any of them are going to have any skill at that? Crude stone tools. If they have a lot of wilderness survival types, and some botanists/ecologists/biologists with sufficient expertise to come up with a hunter-gatherer survival strategy before they all succumb to hunger, then the remnants of the group might hang on for their own lifetimes, and their descendants might last some generations at a stone age level before inbreeding does them in. That’s a very optimistic outcome, though, imho.
The more mouths to feed through the winter :smack:
You know, women can crank out kids at one a year. You don’t need women. The expedition should be mostly able-bodied men.
How could that possibly be true? Surely it’s happened thousands of times. Millions, counting all our time being half-monkeys. Must be a woosh.
Knowing what we know now (and educating the colonists appropriately), it wouldn’t be hard to forage correctly, develop effective stone+wood tools, move onto building shelter, and get everything in check for the winter (which might be very mild on this planet anyway). By this time next year you could be smelting iron. You’ll need a lot of clever, inventive folks who’ll have to make do recreating all the tools they couldn’t memorize before the trip, but once you know what you’re aiming for (precision tools; machinery like drills and lathes; steam engines; etc) it’s not too hard to reinvent the wheel.
So we’re assuming that “Earth-type planet” means something like “planet that was seeded with life by the same alien species that (it turns out) seeded Earth, with enough later interventions by the same aliens to ensure that the biology is similar enough to Earth’s that humans can eat native lifeforms and survive on the ground with just the shirts on their backs”?
But with just the shirts on their backs, they’ll starve anyway (well, those that don’t die from eating things that turn out to be poisonous).
If you landed 100 people with just the shirts on their backs on, say, a Magrathean recreation of Oregon as it would be without humans (but more fjords!), so that the people could use prior knowledge about what plants and animals were edible and useful for tools, and what kinds of ores to look for, then they’ve got a decent shot at most of them surviving, especially if you time the landing to take advantage of the salmon run. (In which case I’m guessing we’d be looking for half hard-core experienced survivalist/flint-knapper types, a quarter geology/metallurgy/blacksmith/wooden structure engineering types, and a quarter medical &more advanced science types. )
The “clothes on the back” scenario is the real killer. People could easily die from hypothermia on the first day if they get wet. The could easily die from dehydration on the first day if they are stuck in the sun for hours and can’t find water.
Even Les Stroud always has a Leatherman, warm clothing, and a few odds and ends, like a broken bicycle and a harmonica.
Yes, isolated small groups have settled untouched land before, and thrived. But these people carried their technology for survival with them. The people who crossed the Bering land bridge into North America already knew how to survive in the steppe-tundra of Beringia. The Polynesians who set out on canoes to colonize new islands carried with them pigs, tools, and agricultural stock.
Speaking of Les Stroud/SurvivorMan, notice that shelter and water and the most important things. He’s out there for a week and he might get some food, but mostly he’s living off his stored reserves. You don’t need food right away, but you do need shelter right away, and water not long after that. Hypothermia and dehydration are the big killers in survival situations, not starvation.
Hm. Maybe I send 99 women and McGruber.
I’m not sure you realize exactly how much effort it takes to smelt iron.
Where are you going to get coal? Use charcoal? That won’t burn hot enough. You need coal to make coke. And where the hell are you going to find your iron ore? If you’ve got a continent-spanning civilization then it won’t be hard to find iron ore, but how much effort can a hunter-gatherer expend looking for the right kind of rocks? How many miles can you explore every day? And even if they did find a hematite deposit right on the surface, what are they going to do with it? How much effort can a tiny tribe of hunter-gatherers expend on such a project before they all starve to death?
It’s true that geologists are probably good candidates for the colony, because lots of them have good field skills.
Sure, plenty of isolated colonies have survived and later prospered. But lots of others perished, because the margins are so thin. One bad winter, one fire in a storehouse, and everyone starves to death.
Given that requirement, I will NOT be going on the expedition myself. No resources, no technological aids, insufficient personnel. It’s an expensive path to group suicide.
Getting back to the realistic version:
Absolutely, a cargo hold full of powered and unpowered tools, especially tools to make more tools (think machine tools and smith equipment) and power sources.
Since a cryo ship requires a robust computer system to monitor the cryo, a few extra terabytes of storing all Human knowledge, literature, digitizable art, and the entire publication history of The Straight Dope (with GQ archives) has a trivial marginal mass cost.
I would insist on a proper seed population size, as well as ova and sperm in cryo storage. The population would be exactly half men and half women, already in couples to avoid “pairing-off” issues at the destination.
To put a slightly different spin on the religion issue…
What about sending a well-selected group with identical and very strong religious beliefs? Whether or not one believes in religion, this would provide the group with numerous psychological and sociological benefits (commonality, cohesiveness, shared values, etc.).
That may be wise, but perhaps adversity itself will bring people together just as effectively.
(But I could forsee devastating splits if there’s disagreement on what the next actions should be for the colony. Eg whether they should build permanent shelters vs nomading until they find ore. These people must all be taught the same strategy for survival once on the new world, or else they’ll need a lot of discipline to follow a decisionmaker. Certain religions may bring that discipline.)
Most importantly, he also knows which plants are good to eat, which are poisonous, and what plants are useful for starting fires, etc. On an alien planet, that’s a LOT of trial-and-error knowledge to build up. And the errors could be costly (for instance, the subject of Into The Wild probably died because he made a mistake and ate some mildly poisonous plants that look similar to edible ones, and the poison didn’t kill him, but weakened him enough that he couldn’t keep getting more food. That was somewhere the plant species were already known, and he’d studied that info).
Also, short-term survival is way different from colonization. You can afford to live off of your body fat for five days, if you know that afterwards you can hit a McD’s to reload your reserves. But colonizers need to match calories in vs calories out for the long term. Food is much more important, then.
Really? And there I was thinking we had been smelting iron with charcoal since time immemorial. Just as well, since unless Colony’s prehistory mirrored Earth’s there’s no guarantee it ever had a Carboniferous period; without a few million years while nothing could figure out what to do with lignin, you’re stuffed for large-scale deposits of fossilised wood.
Now, agriculture, pace Gorsnak, doesn’t require domesticated animals. True, some draft animals would be nice, but any local candidates are practically certain to require centuries of domestication, and ditto for the food animals. Farming however can be done purely with human power, much as the pre-Columbian American indigenes managed it, and it’s still likely to work out better than hunting and gathering - “better” in terms of being able to stay in one place while you build your infrastructure, at any rate.
I’d strongly argue in favour of some people who have studied Classical-era civil engineering; if you can only manage water supplies and sanitation up to Roman standards, that’s put you a long way ahead of the Iron Age game.
You need someone who can manage timber-felling and seasoning, and someone who knows how to build large-scale out of wood. Similarly with quarrying and stonemasonry. Rammed earth might be a good way to go, too.
Geologists and prospectors are a must, and it’ll be seat-of-the-pants flying for them as Colony’s rock strata are going to have developed a lot differently to Earth’s. Still, presumably iron-bearing rock is going to be broadly similar, the demands of chemistry being what they are. We should be looking out for copper, tin and lead too; bronze is easier to work than iron, and while lead plumbing isn’t free of downsides it’s a lot better than nothing. If we live long enough to have to worry about the harmful effects of lead in the drinking water, we’ll be doing all right.
An astronomer or two is going to be invaluable when we get around to developing navigation on Colony. No doubt we mapped the place thoroughly when we set down, but it will be a mighty long time before we have much use for our maps and we may end up having to redo everything from scratch by then. Even simple stuff like the compass and cross-staff was unknown to the ancients. Once our colony starts increasing in numbers and looking for living space, some means of crossing the sea is going to be necessary - and, of course, with a little simple astronomy, if you’ve managed to forget what size and shape the world is you can soon work it out again.
Life’s going to be hard for the early generations once the ship-borne supplies have run out and until the colony’s own infrastructure is up and running. I doubt that massive population growth is going to be either desirable or possible at this stage, so we should need neither a uterus-heavy founding party nor a continual-pregnancy policy. Better take the best knowledge we have in terms of effective primitive obstetrics; I hate to think how advanced a civilization we need before we can support modern medical science.
What ship-borne supplies? They’re getting sent with the clothes on their backs and nothing else. Not even a box of granola bars.
Of course, this means most or all of them will die.
So insisting on this condition makes the exercise kind of pointless.
Huh. Under the circumstances, arguing the toss whether or not to send any religious people seems kinda superfluous. Well then, better hope that summer offers enough food ready to hand while you get some shelters up, and you may as well have the bulk of your colonists be Kalahari bushmen or Yanomami or whatever - if they’ll graciously accept a few knowledgeable people in the disciplines already mentioned then so much the better, but unless most of your hundred already know how to eke out a living while dirt-poor then you’re buggered.