The Ark is shaped like an inverted umbrella - one whose struts and canopy were reversed in a storm. Engine faces down, Habitat domes face away from the engines.A small Bridge section rises on a mast through the bowl-shaped canopy of domes.
Its crew is the best of the best. In fact, there are several crews. Some will be in hybernation, held in reserve for an emergency, or to ensure retention of key knowledge and skills a thousand years into the journey. Some will be just kids - the ship will be their Academy.
The supercargo is from many different nations and cultures. Habitat domes are perfect for this purpose.
- 55 Habitats per parasol wedge x 6 wedges = 330 habitats
- Each Habitat is 50 miles across
- Bounce tubes connect domes to each other and allow for rapid transit between Habitats
The cultural diversity of the supercargo may be because in the lonely hour of the last instance, altruism prevails. Or it may be out of some Dawkinsite enlightened sense of self-interest: memetic diversity may help ensure the survival of at least some human genes across the generations.
There will also be debates about whether to encourage cultural seclusion (preserving what is unique and special about different nations and groups) or whether to encourage oikoumene - a world-culture for the world-ship. Will each dome be a hermetically sealed universe, or be one part of a world without end?
At the start of the journey, the Ark will be humankind's last best hope. Can it remain so on its long journey?
All images from The Starlost Compendium.
The Ark at Launch: It does not make sense to use ordinary spacecraft statistics for a space ark that is hundreds of times larger than ordinary spacecraft. Instead, let's imagine the Ark by specifying it's level of Technology, Environment, Resources, and Aspects at launch time.
Imagine the Ark as a self-contained world.
- Technology +1: Exploiting the system (the Ark can complete its construction in this system and exploit the resources of any system it visits)
- Environment +4: Many garden worlds (all 50 miles across)
- Resources 0: Sustainable (Each dome habitat is self-sufficient). An internal economy has not developed yet.
- Humankind's last, best hope
- Built to last
- Worlds without end - at least 330 of them