Author : JD Kennedy
It is interesting how seemingly unrelated technologies become connected together to create new and unexpected capabilities.
First, there was the successful development of cryogenic ‘sleep’ systems. The goal was to freeze someone who had a terminal illness until a way of treating that illness was discovered. Unfortunately, the researchers found that you could keep a body frozen for only six months or so before irreparable tissue damage occurred (effectively, freezer burn).
While this was a failure for terminal patients, it turned out to be a boon for deep space travelers. A frozen person does not need the life support that an awake person does. You can transport dozens of frozen people on a much smaller spaceship than would be needed for an awake crew. You can also get them there faster since rapid acceleration and braking is not a problem. This allowed the creation of large research stations on Mars and even a small outpost on Titan.
Later, a practical matter teleporter was developed that could de-materialize an object on one end and re-construct it on the other. There were several significant limitations with it, though. It only worked with inanimate objects – living creatures always died in the transmission. The teleport range was also very short and limited to wired connections as it was very sensitive to errors induced by noise. It also required a fixed receiving station – you couldn’t just teleport anywhere like they did in SF stories. As such, it hasn’t seen wide-spread use.
The first breakthrough came when someone realized that you can store the ‘image’ of an object being teleported and later re-create a perfect copy of it from the stored image. This allowed more equipment to be sent to the Mars stations than ever before. It was teleported a short distance on Earth, where its pattern was stored. The object was then recreated on Mars from storage devices that were shipped with the frozen crew, further reducing the cost of deep space exploration.
The next came when someone realized that a frozen body was an inanimate object while it was frozen. Tests proved that you could freeze an animal, teleport it, and then revive it with no damage to the animal. Soon trials were successfully made on human volunteers (usually terminally ill patients). It didn’t take long before a researcher realized that you could store the pattern of a frozen person and make as many copies of it that you liked! It was much easier than cloning – you didn’t have to grow and train anything! This discovery resulted in some very sticky legal and ethical considerations. Thus, it was quickly and universally outlawed.
But like any law, there developed one very unusual exception.
A visionary realized that we could now ‘package’ an entire off-world colony, including hundreds of colonists, in a very small volume. Travel time to a planet in another solar system was no longer a limitation. A special team of ‘colonists’ was extensively trained on how to survive in any habitable condition. Specialized equipment was developed for the new colonies that not only would help with the initial deployment of the colony, but could be replicated as needed once the colony was established. When everything was ready, the ‘colonists’ were frozen, teleported, recorded, and revived. All of the equipment was also teleported and recorded.
Then one great day, hundreds of identical copies of the colony were launched to every habitable exoplanet then known. The seeds of humanity will finally reach beyond confines of its home system, even if the ‘original’ colonists never leave the planet.