Pregnancy on Generation Ship

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by caters, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. caters Registered Member

    Messages:
    29
    I was thinking about the generation ship in my sci fi story and I am working on a book about specifically the generation ship.

    I thought this thing about pregnancy deserved a topic here so here I go.

    Starting with a few weeks before mating, half of the people on the generation ship will stay diurnal while the other half transition over those few weeks from diurnal to nocturnal. The aliens on the generation ship have already mastered this but this is partly due to how their sleep schedule is determined by photosensitive proteins and genetics.

    This all happens in the primary sleeping quarters. The secondary ones are reserved for mating.

    Now Diurnal-Diurnal couples will most likely have Diurnal children but there is a possibility that their children will be Nocturnal instead. And very little emotional upset occurs(at least that caused by sleep schedule)

    Nocturnal-Nocturnal couples are similar in the fact that very little emotional upset occurs.

    Diurnal-Nocturnal couples on the other hand can only have sex during the 2 twilights(morning and evening) because those are the only times when both the diurnal humans and the nocturnal humans are awake.

    When the time for mating comes, each M-F pair will be selected randomly to increase genetic diversity. Once those pairs are selected there can't be any deviation from that for a week(fertile window). Now of course this could cause issues like for example there is an equal chance that a woman will be in her fertile window and that a woman will be on her period.

    But anyway, after that 1 week everyone goes back to sleeping in the primary sleeping quarters.

    2 weeks later all the women that aren't on their period head to the medical bay for pregnancy tests. Those that come up negative are asked to come back in a week if they still have a missed period. If their period comes within that 1 week, it is a true negative. If however the test comes up positive or a transvaginal ultrasound shows an embryo, that negative was false. Of course there is a grey area. Very rare but possible is there being no sign of pregnancy via either pregnancy test or symptoms(known as cryptic pregnancy) until labor. And then those women with cryptic pregnancy could easily be mistaken for those people with appendicitis.

    A few months later they are tested again but this time to see if the baby has any external defects. If the baby does have external defects, there are 2 options. 1 option is for the baby to adapt to the defect(like for example hand walking if a leg is missing). The other option is for the aliens to fix the external defect which could be as simple as cutting an extra limb off and skin grafting or as complicated as forming a new limb for several years.

    After birth, all babies are tested for internal defects and if there are internal defects, they are diverted right to surgery to fix it. They have all kinds of machinery to sustain homeostasis during surgery.

    Do you think that this is reasonable or not and if not, why not? I certainly think it is reasonable.
     
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  3. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    As a retired midwife it sounds like SiFi to me

    However since it is a SiFi story

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    I don't see any problem

    You might like to consider prem birth and induced labour for delayed labour

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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    What are minimum & maximum ages for mating? Minimum & maximum ages to board the ship?

    Any mating with aliens?

    Some people will mate on their own.

    <>
     
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The idea of being nocturnal or diurnal makes no sense, what's the point? If this behavior is the product of conditioning, then it makes no sense to say a child is born one or the other. Also, what's the point of a mating system? Eugenics shouldn't be required with a certain minimum population. Encouraging mating is totally unnecessary.
     
  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    If half sleep while the other half is awake, less space is required. And less resources.

    <>
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    How so? Lights and heat would need to be on 24 hours a day rather than 12. And sleeping in zero g requires little space.
     
  10. caters Registered Member

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    29
    The minimum age to board the ship is 18 to avoid difficulties with mood and orphans. There is no maximum age for boarding the ship. Minimum and maximum ages for mating correspond with the average reproductive period for females and are lifetime after puberty for males.

    No, there is no mating between humans and aliens because the difference between the 2 species makes it impossible for a human to give birth to an alien and vice versa.

    It totally makes sense to have nocturnal and diurnal humans and aliens because aliens do the work on the generation ship and humans make friends with the aliens and sometimes even help the aliens with their work. And I didn't say that children were born diurnal or nocturnal. I said that they would be more or less likely to be diurnal or nocturnal depending on their parents' sleep schedules. It is only the aliens that are born diurnal or nocturnal, not human babies.

    The reason I have the mating system is actually 2 reasons. One of those is to increase genetic diversity. The other, bigger reason, is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. To the aliens, becoming pregnant off schedule is a crime that leads to consequences for both the mother and the father. Namely that they can't take care of their biological child once it is born. So this means 1 of 3 things since formula isn't available. Those 3 things are:

    • Baby being breastfed by a mother who is already breastfeeding
    • Inducing lactation in a female a few months before the baby is born
    • Human baby feeding on alien milk
    And just to clarify, neither the aliens, nor the humans are in 0g. They are in 1g(earth gravity). There is artificial gravity throughout the ship that keeps everything at earth gravity to prevent the gravity related side effects of being in space such as:

    • Space sickness
    • Decreased bone density
    • Decreased muscle mass
     
  11. superstring01 Moderator

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    12,110
    So. If a civilization had the technology to build an interstellar vessel (no easy task) capable of not only affecting the aforementioned journey, but get people there alive, it would presumably be incredibly advanced. I mean, you can't shield the ship with metal since cosmic rays become other nasty stuff when they hit metal. Water is the only non-magnetic shielding and sufficient water, several hundred meters thick, is what you'd have to cobble together on the outside. Ice would do, but it sublimates so you have to fit it into tight bags/vessels of somekind. To ensure they don't get sand-blasted as you cruise through space at many hundreds of miles per second, they'd have to have microscopic (probably nano) reparative abilities. That belies a degree of technological prowess that would also go hand-in-hand with other technologies, namely artificial wombs and such. Just being a douchey nitpicker.
     
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    There are 2 primary ways to deal with cosmic rays on board such a ship: prevention and cure.
    Prevention is shielding and all that stuff.
    Cure is the "simple" task of repairing damaged cells / tissue.

    I favour the cure option for such a generation ship; as long as the damage is not too extensive then one assumes that it can be repaired adequately through sufficiently advanced tech.

    If prevention is the preferred option then, heck, hollow out and fly a suitably sized asteroid... much safer, I'd have thought?

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  13. superstring01 Moderator

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    A suitably sized asteroid will be sandblasted by the time you get anywhere. While each cubic meter of deep space only has --at most-- one hydrogen atom in it on average, the lightyears between systems will slowly eat away at whatever you have. Moreover, the water in an asteroid does sublimate and every time it gets struck by an atomic particle, that sublimation will increase. You'd have to find a way to repair the outside of your vessel no matter what.

    To your "repair human cells" option, clearly that is an option. No doubt, but I'm not sure you're being fair to just how plentiful the cosmic rays are and the point isn't that the cosmic rays won't reach you (they will not). After cosmic rays strike any form of metal, they convert to different radiation. In a science fiction scenario, you could convert this to a good thing. Even now, it's hypothetically possible (hypothetically --but not really; my friend is a NASA engineer and he says this all the time: "If we haven't done it yet, we don't have the technology to do it. Period.") to build a ship covered in bags of carbon-nano-tube latices that self-repair using micro-mites that crawl along the bag.

    In front of your ship will be a two-kilometer foam layer (made of a material not unlike styrofoam but much, much lighter). It too crawls with micromites. As atoms strike the foam in front of your ship, the foam slows the atoms down and repairs itself, gathering the added mass and either saving it for repairs or discharging it.

    As to the sides of your vessel, if you aren't inventing artificial gravity (which I hope you're not), then you have a rotating mass. Say, your generational ship is 7500 meters long by 2500 meters wide. The internal space will be 2000 meters wide, with each exterior wall being 250 meters thick. The first 50 meters would be functional flooring and machinery. The outer 150 meters will be layers and layers of semi-functional shielding (20m structural lattice, 20m of liquid heavy water chambers, 20m more structural lattice 20m of frozen heavy water, 20m structural lattice, 25m frozen heavy water, 25m protective carbon foam). Lastly, your very outer layer will be a thin layer of radio-voltaic cells that (this isn't the crazy scifi shit -- humans are working on this now) that can capture random photons (exiting the ship or striking the ship) and convert it to usable energy. That's not a LOT, but it does ladder-down your energy waste into some usable energy and it gathers random energy from deep space.

    Returning to the "repair people" -- if you have the ability to repair cells on the sub-microscopic level (literally, repairing the proteome and the genome -- which is what you'd have to do), then you also have the same lateral technology to dispense with any concerns about breeding humans or cycling between birth cycles. The technology that allows you to physically repair cells on the nano-scale bequeaths you technololgy that LITERALLY alters the very nature of what it means to be a life-form and removes any concerns about reproduction.
     

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