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NaNo Help: Generation Ship Occupations

I'm leaving this off the filter so I can recruit nanowrimo help.

I've sent our solar system's first generation ship out into space, heading towards Alpha Centauri. They will be acting as an exploratory team as well, leaving their findings for the rest of humanity to eventually retrieve.

So this first ship has a higher scientific population, but it's also going to be a self-sufficient ship with three separate habitats (temperate, tropical rainforest, and taiga). I'm hoping you guys can help me determine what kinds of people absolutely have to be on the ship. I'm hoping to keep the initial population somewhere between 150-200 members, with genetic diversity helped via fertility banks.

The main space agency is ISACC, which is like a merger between NASA, ESA, RKA, and the military. A high percentage of crew is ISACC. Everyone is required to help outside their field to keep the ship running properly, so there's often some overlap. People with many proficiencies or artistic/cultural hobbies (music, dance, theatre, etc.) were preferred. Some folks get spaces due to sponsorship/political ties/cultural significance (for instance, a few people from the remaining royal families/native tribes/religious minorities/etc.) Crew comes from: Earth (much of which is still healing from nuclear holocaust), Luna (several colonies), L1 (the first satellite colony), and a few actually grew up on the ship, Akupara, which had to spend several decades proving self-sufficiency in orbit before it was okayed for departure.

Here's my current list of people on the ship. Please make suggestions (or corrections) if you have anything to add. Thanks for your help!


Second/Aerospace Engineer
Astronauts - 4
Systems Engineer:
    Communications Engineer
    Hardware Engineer
    Software Engineer
    Nuclear Engineer/physicist - 2
    Solar Engineer
    Electrical Engineer
    Mechanical Engineer
    Life Support Systems Engineer
    Waste Systems Engineer



Geneticists – 2
Family practitioner

Nurses – 2
Surgeons - 2
EMTs - 4
Holistic Healers -??
Biologists - 2


Farmers - ???
Zoo Keepers - 2
Butchers - 2
Horticulturalist/Grounds - 3
Botanists - 2


Social Administrator
Linguistic specialist
Museum Curator
Cooks/Chefs - 2
Ministers - ??
Teachers – 2

Kids - ??

Sponsors/Politicos/People of Cultural Significance - ??


Metalsmiths – 2?


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I have sent this post to two people - my husband who is DemosthLocke and a writer too, and a friend alensande who works for NASA ;)
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
AHH! You are amazingly awesome. Thanks so much! (I have a feeling your NASA friend may find my list woefully inadequate. LOL)
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
She may, but that is one of the reasons I love her - she's honest about everything!
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
I can take it! I hope she takes a moment to peek, but I can also understand if someone's nano isn't her top priority.
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
And I know my husband will have ideas. Because he spends HOURS even DAYS thinking about this stuff. Sci-fi is one of his favorite things.
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
What about who makes the fabric for the tailor? Which ties into what kind of farms/animals, weavers, spinners, etc. I don't know what kind of machinery you were planning on the ship. :)
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure either. LOL It's kind of high-tech meets SCA or something. They reverted back to as natural way as possible after Earth went to hell, but they had to make some crazy medical and technological advances to survive.

I figure part of the farm work would include sheep shearing and spinning yarn. I don't actually know all that much about creating cloth though. I figured there were machines to make most cloths, and weavers and knitters and the like who would use plain yarn. Let me know if I'm off base, or overlooking something entirely! Thanks!
Nov. 12th, 2008 09:09 am (UTC)
As with most things, I have just enough knowledge to make me dangerous. ;p Meaning I can get myself into trouble. haha
Anyone can learn to card, spin and knit, but that would be rough stuff. So, if you've got the machines to make the cloth, then you're good to go. ;)
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
I'm confused - is it exploratory or settlement?

If you're going to have metalsmiths, you're going to need a mining operation - I'd say minimum of 3 people to that.

You also would need some sort of restaurant or cafe and minimum of 2 people to run it.

A biologist and botanist would be good as well.

Are they all coming from basically the same culture? Or would you possibly get use out of a linguistic specialist & culture liaison to help people mesh well together?

ummm... have you seen Sunshine? They have a cool o2 lab that could produce food as well :-)

Nov. 11th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Biologist and botanists were on my list for needs as well.
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, an embarrassingly silly omission. :P
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Actually, it's a little bit of both. They are hoping to find a suitable planet to colonize, but the mission is considered successful if they're able to make it to the nearest star system and send back information. I haven't decided how yet, but I'm contemplating "time capsule"-like things that they can program to return to our solar system, or possibly via high powered satellites that they leave every now and then along the way.

There is a cafeteria, with a chef and a sous chef. People rotate contributing to certain jobs, and the cafeteria is one of them (until the population grows, anyway). Dorms and homes have kitchens, too, for those who prefer to cook for themselves.

Biologist & botanist - Thanks! I had these two on my previous list, which I lost. I knew I'd forgotten some obvious ones.

They're not all coming from the same culture, but they are all required to speak English (the 'official' language of the ship/ISACC). A linguistic specialist is a good idea, though.

I haven't seen Sunshine. I'll have to look into that. Thanks for your help!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 11th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Are you serious? Well I totally appreciate the ego boost! I've been feeling like a failure since I'm only at 8,000 words.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 12th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I spend far too little time on the forums though. And not keeping up with the f-list either, so if you need NaNo help, you might want to nudge me. LOL

Want to know a secret? This is the same story I tried last year, which means I've really put two years worth of thought and research into it. I just had to scrap most of what I came up with last year, because my grasp of science was ALL wrong (probably still is), but at least I've been percolating on it a while. I thought I'd have these lists and the character sheets all finished by October! I'm wondering whether it's fair to add them to my word count, since it's technically still working on NaNo and was written in Nov...

Thanks again, sweetie!
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(no subject) - ahavah - Nov. 12th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - ahavah - Nov. 13th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Nov. 11th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
That sounds very cool. I'll see if I can find it at our library. And thanks for musing it over, too.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
I need a zoo keeper because they're actually going to have a zoo. LOL It's part of the recreation plan. Most exotic animals have frozen eggs on bank, but there's also a small zoo with a few neat zoo staples. Native animals are actually live in the habitats, with hunting being monitored to maintain a good ecological balance. The three habitats are basically supposed to be mini-planet type things.

I figured about the same with the low-tech, and I thought farmers and a resident survivalist would keep those kinds of skills alive and active.

I had considered the redundancy thing. The family practitioner would also help as far as birth goes, the surgeons if a cesarean would be necessary, and I'll likely stick a doula in there somewhere. Maybe one of my holistic healers or a minister, and I shall name her Mary Sue. LOL (I actually kinda like that idea). Eventually, as the mission progresses, everyone is going to be required to take at least one apprentice. I've tried to make the *really* important people have doubles in the other habitats, or assistants who could basically do their jobs.

Thanks for all your help! Keep them coming if you think of more.
Nov. 11th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, great fun!

I am going to have to take a longer look at your list, but I really have spent a lot of time thinking about essential skills. .

All I will add now is: don't understimate the need for unskilled labor. Metalurgy needs mines (as aimingforpeace mentioned), carpenters need lumber, traps and nets need tending, etc. Having a handful of people that can do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done are going to be very handy.
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming over to help! Oh, I definitely plan on filling in with "cultural" folk and laborers. My husband has spent a great deal of time as a laborer, so I certainly don't underestimate them! lol Some of that is also the kind of things I'm going to make people participate in for the "inclusion" requirements. Everyone has to pitch in on the chores to get a good sense of what it takes to keep the entire ship running smoothly.
Nov. 11th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Hey - email me at melanie.simmonds@gmail.com - my husband would like your email to converse with you re: this :)
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Okay! Thank you guys. I really appreciate the help.
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Hope you don't mind the randomness of my post :o) Saw this on nanowrimo.

Just a random thing - I know you said that all the others would take on responsibilities not limited to their role, but...

How were you percieving the maintenance/upkeep of the ship's systems (the whole thing - from propulsion to life support to the computers)? Would it be something everyone did, or would you have a specialist team of engineers and workmen?

I'm imagining that the ship's systems would be extremely complex - and even with computerisation and automation, you'd still want to keep a close eye on it. I know from my friends that there are people who are gifted with engineering, practical things, and those whose talents are more... well... elsewhere, and I'd want the former looking after your critical systems. Even though you would want arty people on board, too.

I'd definitely add a power systems engineer and another software engineer. Power supply management is an incredibly complex area and I'd imagine over a huge ship it would be critical.

Sorry, I'm a geek! I've worked on complex electrical and mechanical systems, so these sort of things are the first that pop into my mind. Hope my rambles are vaguely useful.

Good luck!

Nov. 11th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
No, I enjoy randomness! That's how my novel is so far. :)

I figured the systems engineers, the mechanics, and the astronauts would work together to keep the support systems running smoothly. I also had a massive nuclear holocaust the decimated a huge chunk of the earth, so they spent several hundred years working primarily on medical and biosphere technologies. Basically, biospheres and environmental revitalization became mandatory for continued existence. They've been doing the "habitat" thing for five hundred years, so I figure most of it is pretty well automated. The astronauts and grounds folks. I'll definitely add your suggestions, since you know more about it than I do! And software engineer is probably what I meant with "computer engineer". *blushes*

Thanks so much for your help!
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
No worries :oD

I'd actually class computer engineer and software engineer differently, as the hardware is a completely different matter.

Most technical people I know of work well together - it's just the management that cause all the problems ;o)
Nov. 11th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure who you can ask, but you might seek to talk to some Military Officers that served in the Gulf War (Not necessarily Iraq, but 'over there') because most of them serve more than one function.

I learned this from my old vet in Ohio while being a vet and in charge of the care of the dogs & horses (yes they apparently have Army horses) they also inspected all the food and made sure it was safe for humans. I also know that on Navy ships, people usually have 2 jobs. Such as a gunner might also be a cook or a plumber also a fireman.
Nov. 11th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I have anyone to ask, but I like the idea. Thanks!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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