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I know that this quote exists, i just don't know who said it or the specific language. The quote goes something like this:

If we ever decided to send a manned spaceship (generational ship) to another planet, that spaceship would be be passed by a more advanced ship (one that goes faster) before it ever reached the planet, but if we don't send it then we'll never have the technology to send the second.

And the quote, i think, also said something about this happening two more times before they reached the planet.

Hoping someone can help me out with an author/speaker, and the source that i could cite.

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    $\begingroup$ I was wondering if it was Larry Niven, but I can't find a quote from him that seems to be what you are looking for. $\endgroup$ – zeta-band Sep 26 '19 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ As a baseline for finding the original quote, this was a plot point in the 1982 TV series "Once Upon a time... Space" $\endgroup$ – SE - stop firing the good guys Sep 26 '19 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ There's a whole TV Tropes thing on this: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LightspeedLeapfrog $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 26 '19 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ This might be from Heinlein's 'Time for the Stars'. I don't think that exact quote is there, but the plot is partly about the decision to send sub-FTL exploration ships out to explore the galaxy, and by the time those ships get too far FTL is developed and FTL ships go out and collect people from the old ships and/or retrofit the old ones with FTL drives. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hanson Sep 26 '19 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @DanHanson that quote isn't in TFTS - the protagonist gets surprised when their ship is "passed" - but it's featured prominently in the Tv Tropes link. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 27 '19 at 0:46

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