How Much Sex Until Proxima Centauri?

A space shuttle launch

The crew of STS-107The nearest star beyond the sun with potentially habitable planets is Proxima Centauri b, and getting there using today’s technology would take 6,300 years. Since human beings don’t live that long, a space crew would need to have children, who would go on to have children, and so on. How many people would need to crew such a mission to maintain a full staff? Scientists Frédéric Marin and Camille Beluffi calculated this, taking into account concerns like infertility, inbreeding, sudden deaths, accidents or random events. The results were published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.

“We can then conclude that, under the parameters used for those simulations, a minimum crew of 98 settlers is needed for a 6,300-year multi-generational space journey towards Proxima Centauri b,” say Marin and Beluffi. Of course, there are factors that remain undetermined. Will space travel affect fertility? What about radiation from space?

Would you be willing to have children in space to staff future interstellar travel?


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