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"Science and science fiction, how do you even distinguish the two?"
- Jerry Pournelle

Space Ark  
  A very large ship used to transport a large group of people.  

As far as I know, this is the first use of this term.

Religious prophets..were recruiting funds and followers for huge space arks in which they would journey to a promised planet.
Technovelgy from Decision Illogical, by N.B. Wilkinson.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1948
Additional resources -

See also the generation ship from Star Ship (1955) by EC Tubb.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Decision Illogical
  More Ideas and Technology by N.B. Wilkinson
  Tech news articles related to Decision Illogical
  Tech news articles related to works by N.B. Wilkinson

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