By the late 2300s, after centuries of advancements to HIT-equipped spacecraft technology and new insights on how to sustain human life in prolonged deep space outposts, human interstellar travel was now viable, and plans dreamt up over decades were now set into motion.
In 2400, MARA announced the launch of a mission to its closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. It projected that each leg of the trip would take about 15 years, with 6 years in between setting up proto-mining colonies. In 2436, MARA successfully completed the Proxima Centauri round trip, returning with a wealth of new information about interstellar colonization.
MARA’s probes had identified 7 star systems as “highly viable colonization candidates” within 40 light years of Earth. These systems featured the right mix of stellar characteristics, had terraformable planets in the goldilocks zone, and possessed critical resources that would give pioneers the best potential for a successful colonization.
Despite its dominance, MARA alone did not have the resources or capabilities to lead mass stellar colonization, so the United Nations turned to the private sector. Corporations across the world were invited to bid for the colonization rights for each of the viable star systems.
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