Earth, though, is tough on rhi­nos

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Prox­ima b, our near­est neigh­bor­ing ex­o­planet, is al­most 25 tril­lion miles away. Even one of our fastest space­ships—the 31,600mile-per-hour New Hori­zons— would take hun­dreds of thou­sands of years to get there. As­sum­ing we can’t fig­ure out how to warp space-time but fin­gers crossed), (seems un­likely, we’re still look­ing at a cou­ple-hun­dred-year trip in the best-case sce­nario, which leads to the real prob­lem: No hu­man crew could sur­vive the en­tire ride. Sci­ence-fic­tion writ­ers have long floated so-called gen­er­a­tion ships as a so­lu­tion. De­sign­ers would out­fit these in­ter­plan­e­tary cruise vessels to sup­port a com­mu­nity of adults and their chil­dren, and their chil­dren’s chil­dren, and their chil­dren’s chil­dren’s chil­dren…un­til hu­man­ity fi­nally reaches a new ce­les­tial shore. Here’s our best guess for what it would take to sow the seeds of an ex­tra­so­lar species.

By Rachel Felt­man / Iil­lus­tra­tion by Sinelab

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