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Adolescent Space Colonists

Send adolescents to colonize space
  (+12, -4)(+12, -4)
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Why not? According to the media we're prolific breeders, tech-savvy, and come from a different planet anyway...

I seriously think this would be a good idea. Our brains are more adaptable, so they'll be ideally suited to learning and innovating the stuff we need. We've still got about a decade before reaching our prime (well, I have anyway), so the colony can be set up and fully functioning prior to any children being born (that means when I say they can be born, Jack; I'm the captain here and you need a marriage license from me. Ha! How does it feel to be named Jack and not be a captain?). The psychologists might disagree, with all the pubertal changes, but pick the right people and it's not so much of a problem...

Selky, Sep 11 2009


       I know what you mean but i'm very attached to my teenage daughter and she doesn't want to go into space. I also wonder about birth defects and infertility. I don't think there would be any children.

Actually, the lack of desire among children to go into space nowadays baffles me. I'm glad you're not one of them.
nineteenthly, Sep 12 2009

       Nobody told me I was supposed to have reached my prime already.
Now you've got wondering just when that's going to be.

       Honestly I think that adolescents would have way too much energy to stay cooped up for the several years it would take to get anywhere. You'd all go bat-shit stir crazy without a holodeck.   

FlyingToaster, Sep 12 2009

       Send 'em while they still know everything. Problem is how to get them to stay that way.
lurch, Sep 12 2009

       Young people learn faster. The risks of sending inexperienced people into space are high but *if* they survive the first year they might then be better prepared to survive the next year than highly trained astronauts. An interesting concept with a tentative bun attached.   

       Good luck getting it past the super-risk-averse administration.
wagster, Sep 12 2009

       It would make a great "reality" tv program.
tatterdemalion, Sep 12 2009

       "Honestly I think that adolescents would have way too much energy to stay cooped up for the several years it would take to get anywhere. You'd all go bat-shit stir crazy without a holodeck." We've got the next best thing: an X-Box with the Halo series on it (this idea actually came back to me through diccussing a fleet of personal spaceships each crewed by one person playing X-box live during science) ;) Besides, I'd be too busy playing on the simulator, to get the docking maneuver with the asteroid space elevator (deployed by a previous mission) worked out. I chose an asteroid because it's a few weeks journey away, as opposed to Mars, which is 6 months away.   

       A spinoff from this idea led to an idea for a colonist training center, for ages 12-18, where they'd learn what they need.
Selky, Sep 13 2009

       heheh, so the only adolescents that would be able to make the journey would be the couch-potatoes-in-training who wouldn't be able to do anything once they got where they're going....   

       Guess we're stuck with near-geezers.   

       Orbital or Lunar Training Centre's a good idea: half the day in school learning regular stuff, the second half working/apprenticing, the third half working out... hmm... "Ender's Game" subbing in technical apprenticeships for battle simulations... they could be the mechanics / commtech / life-support for the space fleet... yeah, there's a problem with that... I think the only way you're going to do that is turning them into drones: zero social life from age 4 and up working in responsible positions so they get enough knowledge under their belt by the time they embark... hormone control at puberty and/or an artifically engineered society which somehow is able to morph into another type once the actual colony is built, or half your crew is pregnant at every given time...</ramble>
FlyingToaster, Sep 13 2009

       Zero-g Wii is interesting to consider. Ok, maybe not.
tatterdemalion, Sep 13 2009

       "heheh, so the only adolescents that would be able to make the journey would be the couch-potatoes-in-training who wouldn't be able to do anything once they got where they're going..." Because they play on computer games? How'd you make that leap?
Selky, Sep 13 2009

       not much of a leap: how many people do you know could spend a few *years* cooped up in a tin can.
FlyingToaster, Sep 13 2009

       Probably about 3 or 4, maybe 6.   

       Where are you getting a 'a few years' from, anyway? A flight to Mars only lasts 6 months, and a flight to an Asteroid is only a few weeks.
Selky, Sep 13 2009

       The Apollo astronauts tended to feel that they'd peaked too soon. If you sent adolescents, that problem would be exacerbated. What would they do for the rest of their lives? Would they go on more ambitious missions? If so, would they be less suitable by your criteria?
nineteenthly, Sep 13 2009

       then what do you mean by "colonize" ? You mean "as soon as the adults have built this neat self-supporting base and pizza delivery is all worked out, we'll go live there" ?   

       ps: "Doogie Hawser" is just a TV program: real doc's become viable in their late 20's.
FlyingToaster, Sep 13 2009

       If you are planning to send any group of people into space, you will pick a group who are exceptionally talented. If they are adolescents, they will know more than most adults and there will be decent doctors, engineers etc among them. Some people really do learn that quickly.
Bad Jim, Sep 13 2009

       "then what do you mean by "colonize" ?" By colonize, I mean 'stay there'. Asteroids can be colonized as well as planets.   

       "You mean "as soon as the adults have built this neat self-supporting base and pizza delivery is all worked out, we'll go live there" ? " I must say, you have a very stereotyped idea of adolescents, that is, frankly, wrong. Some are like that, yes, but there is a lot of variation. You send people who fit the criteria of being able to survive without pizza delivery. Just like you woudn't send an adult who needed pizza delivery to survive.
Selky, Sep 14 2009

       //you woudn't send an adult who needed pizza delivery to survive//<sigh> and I so wanted to see Saturn up close, too.   

       What I'm sayin' is that when you get to whatever airless piece of rock you want to live on, you're going to spend the next <x> years building a base to live in. Meanwhile claustrophobia is gonna be a right bitch.
FlyingToaster, Sep 14 2009

       It is not that hard to envelop a small Asteroid to allow it to be given a breathable atmosphere. Once you've done that, you have a lot more space.
Selky, Sep 16 2009

       envelop it with what? and prevent collisions as well?
CaptainClapper, Sep 16 2009

       Plastic? WIth resin? Self healing plastics are being investigated at the moment. The energi's involved are quite large, but there's a way to get around that, I'm sure, if we engineer the problem away.
Selky, Sep 18 2009


       "I'm sure, if we engineer the problem away."
normzone, Sep 18 2009

       This recalls me of the Spacers, the first humans that emigrate to space, in Isaac Asimov's novels. Maybe this space adolescents will be selected by this genetic trait, that is, the natural ability to enjoy to be Really Up!
selenio, Sep 19 2009

       May I propose "Young Explorers of Space" or Y.E.S. be the acronym?   

       I too desired to go into space, for real, as an adolescent. Since the journeys are so long it only makes sense to send people who can completely reorient themselves to a new way of life and generally children are far more plastic than adults. I firmly believe that children could come to have healthy relationships with non-human computer personae and thus avoid feelings of isolation and loss and if trained young enough come to accept a limited dietary diversity. They also tend to deal with their own potential mortality better than adults do. I hope that you will flesh this idea out with more details about how and where of Young Explorers of Space (Y.E.S.) when they depart the mother world.
WcW, Sep 19 2009

       "now switch over to the Number Two Oxygen Tank"   

       "I don't want to and you can't make me; you think you're so much better than me"
FlyingToaster, Sep 30 2009

       //a flight to an Asteroid is only a few weeks.//
Erm, the Asteroid Belt is further away than Mars, and visits to free-range asteroids are only economical with unmanned probes, because then they don't have to lug all that heavy life-support gear with them.
And they don't have to plan on a return trip either.
coprocephalous, Sep 30 2009

       You've never heard of NEOs (Near Earth Orbitals)?
Selky, Sep 30 2009

       //You've never heard of NEOs (Near Earth Orbitals)?//
They're not Ceres-alike though, are they?
All that expense to visit a small hill.
Quicker to drive to the Lake District.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 30 2009

       Hills in Cumbria are less than four billion years old though.
nineteenthly, Sep 30 2009

       Adolescents are actually the worst sort of pioneers, combining high use of food resources with low experience. I agree with using adolescents as shock combat troops since in that short term situation resource use is less of an issue and experience is less useful (and actually sending experienced soldiers in this role is wasteful) but energy, durability and flexibility are more important. This application for teenagers has a long history right up to the present. I am not sure that is the metaphor one uses for optimal colonization, unless there are natives to be pacified.   

       Better would be a small number of experienced geezers and a large number of female toddlers, together with frozen sperm. The toddlers are small and so use less food and so put less strain on supplies as food supplies are getting underway. Genetic variation over the long term is maximized by omitting males in favor of sperm and this allows optimal reproductive control as well. If sperm were segregated by Y chromosome males could be excluded from the population until such time frozen sperm supplies waned.   

       In such a colony, one could make the case for medical suppression of reproductive capacity for a majority of colonists. Suppressed reproductive capacity is probably the reason low calorie diets increase longevity. Many physical ailments stem directly from reproductive capacity. There is a trend towards this in western society anyway (eg: oral contraceptives that decrease number of menses), at least for women.   

       Plus, ten trillion ants can't be all wrong.
bungston, Sep 30 2009

       There was some study done with fruit flies and lifespans -- the researcher was able to make them live something like 4 times as long within 6 or 7 generations by feeding the females birth control for longer and longer each generation. I wonder how many centegenarians were born to older mothers. Would be neat to know.
CaptainClapper, Sep 30 2009

       Baby, baby, baby, baby and one put upon mommy.   

       Diapers in space. Now in Smell-o-vision.
popbottle, Jan 01 2016

       Preheated, Charles Stross, " Accellerando ", when the protagonists daughter downloads ... wait, I'm not spoiling it for you, go read it.
normzone, Apr 09 2017

       I did start to read it a while ago but I didn't enjoy it.
nineteenthly, Apr 10 2017

       I understand, I felt exactly the same way the first time I read it.   

       Surprisingly enough, a couple of years and a fresh read changed it all. I've noticed that effect before.   

       In my first couple of decades I tried to read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia). I could ... not ... do it.   

       Then I tried again when I was older. Since then I've read it six or eight times - it's that interesting.
normzone, Apr 10 2017

       I started to read it a while ago based on another mention of it on here (something about horizontal escalators, I think). I still haven't reached that part of the book, but it's interesting so far. These days I mostly read ebooks on buses/trains, when I've forgotten to grab a newspaper, because I don't have a phone, just a tablet that only gets Internet access via Wi-Fi (and is actually pretty bad at that most of the time).
notexactly, Apr 11 2017


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