This is the first part of a series of questions I'll ask about a self-sustaining colonization ship. I'll keep editing this post as things unfold.
Edit 1: Added two movie references to try to make the ship's idea clearer and removed the points that were making this question too broad, as pointed by JBH. Also, life support is not being taken into consideration for physical space anymore. It will be discussed in a further question.
The setting is kind of a low sci-fi. In this universe there are no FTL drives - in fact, the maximum level of technology is not even close to that. Humans rely on "old fashioned drives" with a little twist. They're more efficient than the ones we have today, but bear in mind that this is a very-near-future-tech scenario (50 to 100 years in the future).
Humans are in the early stages of the space colonization era. "The Colonists", as they're known, are huge ships equiped with the tools to ensure the crew's safety and to help populate the new worlds.
Since these trips might take decades, the ideia behind the ships is basically the same as seen in Pandorum and Passengers - most of the tripulation is in a suspended animation state while AI's or a minimal crew keep the thing on track.
For the sake of simplicity, assume that the colonized planets are exactly like Earth (but untouched by men). For now, this series focuses on the ships and their trips to the new worlds. In order to estabilish boundaries, these trips might take from 20 to 200 years.
This first question focuses on the building process of a Colonist. The original idea is that the ships are built completely outside of Earth in Space Shipyards located in orbit (kind of like the ISS).
Is it possible to build such an enormous ship? If yes, is the Space Shipyard a feasible idea?
Here's a list of things to consider for this question:
- The Moon is a fully terraformed colony in this setting. This colony is able to provide 1/5 of a given raw resource, like iron or wood;
- This is a collective effort of humanity, which means that, as long as the Earth and the Moon have the resources to do it, money is of no consequence;
- Each ship has to have enough space for: 100 tripulants plus at least a dozen members of the crew, heavy machinery and fuel;
- I decided to not take life support in consideration just yet because most of the crew will be in a suspended animation state. There will be another question to deal exclusively with this;
- The Shipyard is already there and it has all the manpower and the tools to assemble the ship - but not the materials. They must come from either the Earth or the Moon;
- Since we can't know what kinds of fuel, alloys or any other new tech might arise in the coming years, consider the costs for all transportation of materials as half what they are today;
- The shipyard idea came from the notion that a ship this big would never be able to leave Earth because of its weight. I don't know if that's correct (but I think it is). In any case, if the shipyard is not necessary, feel free to kill it.