Embryo Space Colonization
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Basic Information

Imagine you are in charge of the effort to colonize worlds outside our solar system. If you don't have FTL Stardrive technology, and restricted to more mundane spacecraft propulsion systems, the voyage will take more decades than a human crew is likely to survive. How do you get the colonists to their destination? You could try the generation ship approach; build a large spacecraft to carry the colonists and everything they need over generations in time and vast distances in space. This would be very resource intensive, to the extent that a world wide effort would be required. You could try sleeper ships - transport frozen, fully grown humans to the new world that they may be unfrozen upon arrival. The problem is we have not yet found a way to stop this process from killing those it is tried on.

Embryo space colonization by comparison a third option that involves sending a robotic mission to a habitable planet with frozen early stage human embryos (or other means of growing humans), and robots to build the colony, protect the human colonists until they are grown at which point they must be ready to take charge of the colony. This is far cheaper than taking a fully grown population from one solar system to another.


1. Website: Wikipedia

Game and Story Use

  • First Contact with aliens might happen this way. Either we, or they, start growing embryos on the others homeworld, or another planet in their (or our) system.
    • The PCs find a strange machine in their backyard. It eventually grows an alien.
  • Could be a campaign framework. PCs "wake up" as "blank slates" just "grown" from a tank. They are the only humans on the planet. The rest of the colony is robots.
  • Would require some fairly sophisticated AI to raise sane colonists, let alone ones continuing the parent culture. Seems like a desperate measure to continue the species in some form, but not necessarily a recognizable one. The embryonic colonists might be the last sons of Krypton, or some kind of genetic memory might be involved.
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