So Bioships?

So for example tyrranids from Warhammer are a swarm of creatures using living bioships/weapons i would usually say this is to far fetched but you don’t seem to believe it that .

Similar mechanic is in No man’s sky. I can believe in creatures living in space because they appeared there (watch stellaris with its space amoebas and tyanki) , but using them as spaceships… Of course, it possible, but much simpler to create normal spaceships…
Oh, and welcome to thrive community forums!

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How would they work? How do you make a biological spaceship with propulsion? How do you construct one?
I feel like most fiction that has biological ships just ignores how they would actually work.

For propulsion They could go into a ring around a planet and consume some ice asteroids. They take minerals and water from the asteroid to use, and then split some of the water using electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen.

That gas is then stored pressurized in bladders all around the hull of the ship. Jets of gas or even water are released from the bladders to accelerate. Possibly burning the hydrogen and oxygen to add energy to the release.

This would not allow large amounts of acceleration but it would allow low energy manoeuvring with high precision and consuming some large ice asteroids would allow sustained thrust over time, which is plenty for moving around in space.

Though this would be quite limited in what they could do/.

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How do they get there? How do they launch from their planet and maneuver in space before they get to the asteroids?

This is the kind of stuff I need to also ask regarding underwater civs. The how they get started from scratch is important when considering the realism of something.

It’s funny you said that because I was gonna say the exact opposite. I highly doubt anything could naturally evolve in space. There’s just nothing there to make a body out of. Maybe they could evolve on a planet first, but then (like @hhyyrylainen said), how would they launch?

With genetically engineered creations, on the other hand… Well, without natural selection all bets are off, really. There’s no physical reason why a living being can’t incorporate an engine and life-support. There’s no physical reason why a living being can’t do anything technology can. Once you can deliberately design life your only obstacle is semantics: How much can you change before people stop calling it ‘life’?


Ever heard of encelidus and its geysers

I have arrived, to talk about bioships, and why if your space ship can’t self repair on some level, you’re doing something wrong.

To start with: A Civilization’s ships

So: Space is big. Huge. Unimaginably vast to the human mind. (Thus is why the nifty thing called abstraction is a godsend.) And, that makes travel hard. Ever done a long trip? Chances are you’ve had your transport break down. Now, in the settled areas of the world, where lots of infrastructure exists to help out, then this is fine. But the moment you get out into the wilderness? The more upkeep something requires, the more of a liability it becomes.
… Like every jacked up city truck I’ve had to help pull out of the woods.
As you get to places like the Frank Church Wilderness, the entire state of Alaska, Siberia, deep Desert Middle East, the Outback, the ruggedization becomes more apparent. Instead, you tend to drift towards either very hardy, easy to fix equipment, or living transport, because, at the end of the day, something that does a lot of it’s own self maintenance, and comes preruggedized is worth it’s weight in gold.

This has happened throughout history (Carriages require far more maintenance than bareback, and far more infrastructure, then to automotives) and there isn’t any good reason to imagine this paradime will shift just because you’re surrounded by a vast empty void that could kill you the moment something goes wrong.
Look at space flight. The ships, as we’ve created stop off points (Hello ISS) have migrated towards less… overbuilt designs. I mean, really, we build a metric ton of safeguards into our stuff now, but it used to be much less payload to failsafe than now (partially due to tech advancement, but in large part because we don’t need to carry the housing with us).

Early on, you are going to want rugged, and in all likelihood, at least partially self repairing, vehicles. Maneuvering in space is all about mass, so the less you have to carry, the better. Than means as easy of repairs as necessary. There’s some good general info out there, one of the people who’s covered this stuff has a Spaceship Design video.

The less you have to send squishies out, the better, so the easier the repair, the better. And what’s easier than self repair? Later on, as infrastructure is established, less ruggedness is fine, but why would you give up self repair on a ship? If you don’t have ftl, it’s practically required, simply because if you are flying for that long of a period of time, the chance of nothing going wrong is small enough to be considered irrelevant. Something will go wrong, sometime.

Now, does that mean Biologically built, aka Bioships? That depends on the species. Humanity is unlikely to, just because of how squeamish we are about bioengineering and “icky stuff”. A different species, one that doesn’t have as many hangups, could use several biologically derived systems in their craft. And as this continues, they could easily end up with largely biologically derived systems. A biological ship, in an inorganic shell.

So, naturally occuring bioships:

While we could see living biological samples in space, the biggest issue with naturally occurring bioships is evolutionary pressures. While you could make a water based microorganism appear in, say, an asteroid, there wouldn’t be sheer mass to support a biosphere that would create a living ship. And, as you get bigger, it gets easier to do anything in space, so you would need some form of biosphere. Otherwise, what pressure is there to move? If you can get food where you are just fine, why would you change? Any movement would likely be simple: a solar sail would be easily understandable (it’s giant leaves, and moving in the wind is used all the time in seeds being carried). No matter how it does though, the only way we see rapid movement in the animal kingdom is to escape predation or to catch food, neither of which would be likely when stars don’t move. Instead, you’d see something slowly drifting around, if it ever evolved.

“Naturalized” Bioships

So, what happens when a living ship survives without anyone running it, with some undetermined amount of inteligence? A possible “wild” bioship, which may even be capable of self replication, leading to what may become a new species. From there? Evolution does as it is wont.

So… thoughts?


In a single asteroid there isn’t enough mass to support a biosphere, then what about an asteroid belt?

umm, for that to work, the contents of the asteroids need to be able to come into contact with other asteroids. Basically you need to have space surviving and moving around organisms before you can consider multiple asteroids as a single biosphere.

See. I was right when I said that this is becoming like the underwater civs discussion where solutions that only work after the thing they try to solve is already there.

A plant like organism could release gametes in space (like corals) wich could land on other asteroids, and an animal like organism could evolve jumping specialised limbs to jump from an asteroid to another (it wouldn’t need a lot of strenght to go to an asteroid to another)

Except from what I’ve gathered the asteroids in our solar system are so spread out that you can’t actually see another asteroid when you stand on one with the naked eye. Only in science fiction / badly scienced movies, are there literal clouds of asteroids hanging close together.


Oh well, I think we are diverging from the original point of the discussion

Edit: what about planetary rings?

My earlier post mentioned that some moons of gas giants have geysers with the strength to blast a life form into space. Those moons also happen to be theorized to have liquid water oceans for mantels. These oceans may have life, and that which lives in the crust may be quite resilient. Think water bears. And protists. A geyser could send them into space. The water around them would freeze and then
melt in the sun. When it was a slush mix like a evaporating comet they would reproduce. Eventually their dormant forms might be mobile. Think a preprogrammed solar sail that lands on an iceberg in the rings each month to shed it’s skin, mate and eat a space plant. If a animal wound up on the surface of the moon it may venture into geyser vents to glean oxygen from the lingering water, and it’s metabolism would be so slow it could live on the surface for hours. If one un(or very)fortunate critter was blasted into space by the geysers they might have evolved to not really breathe. They could become bioships either way.

Works the same as any space ship, Newton’s third law. Some ships even account with the ability of fuel refinement and combustion as well. The ones that don’t do usually secrete a sort of mucus, but I would imagine they go dormant after that acceleration period and cruise until they reach their destination. Their fuel would have to come from something like asteroids or planets and they would have to synthesize it themselves. Honestly I can see this as a possibility, but probably ot added in thrive, especially with how the life focuses more on earth-like development. Their respiration would be tricky since they would be in the vaccum of space for some time. Them going dormant would help preserve any oxygen they collect up though.

I mean how do you get from some place where life can evolve, to space. You need some serious thrust to get off a planet or a sizable moon that could support life. It’s all good and fine if you can have a biological thruster that is enough to get you around in space in reasonable time, but if you can’t takeoff from a planet (and let’s not even start discussing life evolving floating in space) then you aren’t going to be a spaceship.

but what if the bioships are created from a setient species?

Edit: they could mix biological components with mechanical ones

If to watch life like the cellular life I’m agreed with hyyrylainen (i wrote this right at first time without watching nickname! Yoho). But! If the non cellular life is possible (life on clear electricity) without any intermediaries (like ATP/glucose /other sugar), in space could appear something like void cloud frim stellaris. Of course, it cannot be used like bioship, but it is ALIVE! Giant clouds of different elements, ions to create lightnings (for communication, for example)… They can have many different interesting things, which can be discussed in other threads.
About bioships… Alone known and well working method of exiting atmosphere and with this flying in space - Jet propulsion) or simply reactive movement… Translator can tell wrong things). For it are needed Oxidizer and fuel. But no one known creature can survive at temperatures, which are in nozzle of rocket, when it goes up. Ok… Where will it store all the reagents? Right, nowhere. Most part of time it will be useless, sooo… We so go to third main problem - how did they get everything this. As it was written a lot of times by all-knowing Hyyrylainen, how did it evolve? Problems are solvable, but solvings are useless before result. If something is useless, it dissappear. Rules are simple.
About biomechanical ships. What for did somebody need them? Mechanic parts should be expensive, every needed creature need individual pearts.
And for what? For ships, which we can do a lot by similar price. Bio parts need food, when usual ships don’t.
So, there are no any reasons to do biomech space ship.
I think, question is closed.
If you have any suggestions, we are open to discuss

Edit: As alway, sorry for my English, but thoughts should be clear

As I have said just evolve on enceledus and ride a geyser

They could use biological parts because those parts would need less maintenance making possible to create big ships that need less crew, for the food problem, the species could make “Food stations” where chambers of the ship is filled with an high nutrient substance (and this problem doesn’t make much sense because normal spaceships would require fuel too)