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The apocalypse has come - nuclear war+asteroid hitting+alien invasion+Skynet+vampires.

Doesn't matter which, the world government/s knew this was coming (lets say, a year in advance) and they have a plan! They'll get as many "chosen ones" (scientists, craftsmen, leaders, soldiers etc etc) off to the Mars colony, where life can begin anew. The chosen can bring their close family along.

To do this, the powers that be contact the chosen ones 24 hours before getting them to the launch pads. We want to give the scientists time to pack some critical research notes, the craftsmen to get their tools, the soldiers their law enforcing batons and the leaders - they need time to write hope inspiring speeches.

Alas - the scientist has a second cousin that she won't leave behind. The craftsman feels bad about leaving his neighbors. The leader organizes his entire town to storm the launch site and get on a ship. A bunch of people tell a bunch of other people, who grab their pitchforks and attack our chosen ones!

Mayhem and despair!

So - how do we tell our chosen ones that the world is ending and convince/force them to come quietly, without extra people? Most likely, without telling anyone else or somehow keep the secret in their close family?

Extra points for getting the chosen guys to agree to go quietly, rather than force them, though force or acceptance through threats is also an option. Bear in mind that sedating 10000 prominent people will be noticed, will require a bunch of implementers to know about the "sedation operation", and might end up pissing the chosen off and getting cold shoulders from them on Mars. So I'd like to avoid such measures, if possible.

  • "The Government" finds out about the apocalypse a year in advance.
  • 24 hour notice before the end of the world, no more, no less.
  • A ship can carry 1000 people and the necessaries-for-survival + their stuff. We have 10 launch sites around the world, one ship per site.
  • The chosen can bring their close family - one spouse and children (in the process of choosing the chosen, single/newly-wed candidates are given priority over those that are married+lots of kids).
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The bigger question not being asked is: how do you convince people to build these ships without learning what they're for and wanting to come with? – Draco18s Jan 4 at 16:37
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@Draco18s Promise them a spot on the ship. Whether or not you keep this promise is up to you — when saving the entire human race, you can justify a few broken promises — but it could certainly be useful for the new colony to have a workforce capable of such large-scale projects. – iamnotmaynard Jan 4 at 18:17
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"You and your family have won an exotic tropical vacation!" – A E Jan 4 at 19:07
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"the soldiers their law enforcing batons" That's a bad idea. I'll let Commander Adama explain why. – Mason Wheeler Jan 4 at 19:17
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You may want to reconsider one of your criteria. Preference should probably be given to young couples who have already produced one or more offspring, over young couples who have not yet had a kid or two. You really don't want to get to Mars and find out that a portion of your new population can't conceive. The kids don't take up much space, cut a few years off the time to bootstrap the next generation of colonists, and can be pressed into providing childcare for the next round of births. It's also a propaganda win, their presence will help give the survivors something to fight for. – Morgen Jan 5 at 15:41

18 Answers 18

up vote 20 down vote accepted

You can simply lie to them.

You can lie in different ways:

Tell them that there's only enough resources for them and their family.

You can embellish if they press. You can come up with very elaborate scientific reasons involving weight, rocket fuel, time constraints, etc. This won't fool the more educated engineers who are well versed in space faring science and determined to do the mathematics themselves, but it will fool most of the people who are coming on the trip.

There's a few other less scientific ones that might involve food rations or something like that, but very determined people will insist that they can survive on less to bring one more person. You'd have to combine these lies and make them hard/difficult to disprove.

Tell them that more ships will be made for other people.

No one has to know that only ten are made, and it would be hard to disprove this lie. Google Earth updates its satellite imagery every one to three years, so over the course of waiting the average person won't be able to do their own satellite sleuthing.

If they believe that the people will be saved anyway, they're not going to want to insist that they come, especially if this lie is combined with the previous one.

In part of the onboarding process, keep them in a secure location.

In whatever process is made to process the right people and confirm that they are valid candidates for traveling to Mars, don't allow them to leave after the process is done. They'll think they'll go home but they won't be able to. Your government agencies can retrieve their stuff for them, and their distant family/neighbours don't have to really know what's going on.

Once in a secure location, they're stuck there until you're ready to go to Mars.

Lie about their destination or purpose of leaving. - Thanks to David Grinberg.

You can tell them that they're under arrest. You have some powerful people at play so forging enough documentation to convince the person that the evidence is sufficient for a peaceful arrest without the usage of force is very realistic.

You could also tell them that it's a very exotic dream trip or some desired reason based on the research and information you have on them, but some things you say might be suspicious to them, since many appealing trips are often used in scams.

You can also offer payment in tandem with this. You could give an initial payment with a promise of a higher payment later in order to gain the person's trust.

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This was covered in the film "Deep Impact". You collect them from their homes a few days before in armoured buses and drive them to a secure location. You then shoot anyone who tried to push their way in. – Richard Jan 4 at 21:13
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You can also lie about the purpose of taking them. Instead of "Come with me if you want to live" just say "We have some questions for a criminal investigation and its critical you come with us" – David Grinberg Jan 4 at 21:57
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In the US, you could literally say "something something national security, come with me or the terrorists win" - having Keifer Sutherland yelling "We're running out of time!" will also help. – corsiKa Jan 5 at 1:33
    
As disappointing as it sometimes is, I think lying is indeed the most efficient option here (and the most predictable). This question reminds me of this one where I gave this answer, again based on lying. – ivy_lynx Jan 5 at 17:23
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I believe lying is indeed the solution though I would approach is differently, often the best lies are the ones closest to the truth. You could in advance inform those people that they have been added to the list of people that the government will provide shelter (think nuclear fallout shelter) in the event of an attack or natural disaster. Then 24h beforehand you tell the world that a disaster will happen but give a list of advises like hide in your basement, board windows, ... This will make sure people have hope and won't go to extreme measures. Then take the chosen to the "better" shelter. – Selenog Jan 6 at 16:49

Disclaimer: much like @Zibbobz, I will completely reframe the problem (and solution).

Not everybody may want to come, some people may even prefer to die rather than abandon their loved ones, and even if you kidnap them, they might just become depressed... and depression will impact their contribution where you have so little resource already.

Since you know a year in advance, sell it off differently: the World governments are launching an international Mars Colonization program!

  • Make it clear that you are looking for specific skills to have a viable colony
  • Make it clear that you are looking for an heterogeneous society (multiple nationalities, healthy mix of male/female, maybe some children...)
  • Make it clear that the technology for going back is not available and unlikely to be available in their lifetime and that Earth-Mars communications are never real-time and bandwidth is very valuable so the people coming are basically abandoning any tie to Earth

For now, for security reasons, the exact date is unspecified but roughly in XX months; volunteers need apply.

Submit the volunteers to physical/psychological evaluations; they want to come, they'll agree to pass the tests! You can even get DNA by arguing for the need for "sane" individuals to bootstrap the colony, they'll agree!

Make your list of chosen ones; prepare substitutes in each profession in case of defection/accident.

Welcome the chosen ones in Earth-based facilities ahead of time, it gives them time to sell/give their Earth-bound wares; after all, you want to avoid stress. It also gives them time to bound together, since you are going to submit them to stressful events going forward, having tight bounds between themselves (and tight knit friend) will be valuable.

Finally, since your chosen ones are already there, at the time of departure... embark them and go.


At no point before departure do you ever warn them of the impending apocalypse.

None of the non-chosen ones should ever be warned. It should not be possible for any Earth-bound one to sabotage the departed vessel (which you can explain as proofing the vessel against hacking by terrorists, make room for the guys building the proofing on the vessel).

The announce will generate anger, probably, however I doubt that you may be able to delay it indefinitely. A good reaction is something to search for during psychological evaluation.

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I dare say this is the only possible of the options suggested so far, because it skirts around a number of other nearly insurmountable problems, such as: if you kidnap/coerce/lie to 10000 people, some of them will be angry enough about it to sabotage your Mars operation, even possibly at the cost of their own lives. And, how does the world government evaluate suitability--perhaps a brilliant rocket scientist is secretly massively claustrophobic, making him completely unsuitable for a space mission. et cetera. – GrandOpener Jan 4 at 23:14
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I would also personally harden "at no point before departure.." to "at no point..." The leader of the space convoy has a scripted speech to the effect of, "Oh my god, that's terrible. Our only consolation is that we lucked into leaving just in time to save the human race." Possibly he may be the only human left alive that knows the truth. There will be suspicion, but no proof. – GrandOpener Jan 4 at 23:19
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but the Mars colonization program already took place in real life. WAIT, OH SH~ – Sarge Borsch Jan 5 at 10:29
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I see a problem with finding all the right chosen ones. While there will probably be plenty of engineers, pilots, adventurers and astronomers signing up for the mission, you might be hard pressed to convince other scientists, cultural, political or philosophical leaders to join you. Their position/research/fame is dependent on their respective networks, and leaving everything behind will leave them with nothing. E.g. a mathematician would have no incentive to go, as Mars provides a far less fruitful environment for mathematical research compared with Earth. – fgysin Jan 5 at 10:37
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@fgysin No political leaders want to go to the Mars colony? I fail to see the problem... The hard truth is that the success of any colony usually requires primarily survival work for several years, if not decades, on the part of pretty much every colonist. It would be more important to make sure the complete works of Shakespeare make it to the colony rather than any playwrites (and likewise for all the other arts). Farmers, engineers, and scientists pursue the arts when they can, and art, culture, and politics will arise naturally if the colony survives. – Todd Wilcox Jan 5 at 16:50

There's an old, old, old saying about doing something like this:

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".

No matter what you do, no matter how you coax them, no matter if you even go so far as to kidnap them in the dead of night with gas grenades and sweep them away beneath the chaos, you cannot force someone to go along with you plan just because it's in the best interest of humanity. They have free will, and unless you can control their minds (which would mitigate having to convince them to go anyway) they can always choose not to co-operate.

So start at the opposite end - don't look for people to elect, look for people to volunteer.

Make the idea as appealing as possible - lie if you must - in order to get them to come. Convince them it is their own idea, and get them to stick to it in the worst of times, because that is what you'll have to deal with, and what they'll have to get through to go with you on your plan.

You may not get the best of society by doing this, but you will get one important thing: Co-operation. Even if they are disillusioned by what they're given once they're there, they've been made to make that choice themselves.

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The Archer episode "Space race" got the no cooperation part covered... "Then you can join the um... we're calling them involuntary laborers." :D – mg30rg Jan 7 at 13:16

Interesting question but I see one flaw.

Your chosen people are not a monolithic whole. How you treat one of them will not work with another. Essentially you are making the common mistake of trying to treat humans as anything other than individuals, or a least effectively narrow groups.

You end up with plenty of options for convincing people (in no particular order)

  • Explain the situation. If people are logical they may be able to see the necessity.
  • Lie to get the person somewhere secure
  • Abduct. For the absolutely needed but unwilling you may have to fight dirty.

In any of these cases you will have to restrict communications with the outside world including freedom of movement. Once you get to the site you are locked down until M-Day.

And as mentioned in @Draco18s comment you will have to have space for the construction folks who are building the ships in the first place. This should be fine as skilled engineers, electricians etc will come in might handy when building a new home for humanity.

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Don't forget a couple of regular joes who do jobs like plumbing or janitorial, or you're going to find no one willing to unclog the toilets. ;) – Draco18s Jan 4 at 19:08
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@Draco18s: telephone sanitizers! – leftaroundabout Jan 4 at 23:37
    
@leftaroundabout Yes, them too. And I thought about making a straight H2G2 reference, but figured I'd be a bit more explanatory. – Draco18s Jan 5 at 3:02
    
Of course I'll look at them as a whole, the end of the world is coming. "Explain the situation" - people aren't logical. "Lie" - absolutely! please elaborate. "Abduct" - Nah, that'll make the story boring :-). As for @Draco18s comment, the constructors know they're building ships to Mars, nothing about the end of the world. sigh Yeah, I suppose we can have an extra ship C for toilet cleaners, hairdressers and telephone sanitizers hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Golgafrincham – Nahshon paz Jan 5 at 7:45
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@Nahshonpaz My point is you can't treat them all the same. People don't work like that, even if the end of the world is coming. – James Jan 5 at 14:35

Arrest them.

I mean, seriously - this project is already so far into black-ops land (as others have noted, you've just built ten secret interplanetary spacecraft!), so why are we suddenly worried about approval?

You show up, you take them into custody (pick a crime; since you have lead time you can probably dig up a Facebook post that can justify it), and you take them to the launch site.

What do they bring? Nothing. Tools? Bah - you can have those workbenches fully stocked months in advance. Research notes? Just pull all the hard drives on your way out, let 'em organize themselves mid-flight. If you're softie enough to be bringing kids at all, then let your MIBs be softies and let them grab a toy or two on their way out the door. But everything else? Pre-stocked on the ship. (You secretly built ten rocketships - it's almost insulting to suggest you don't know their measurements).

After that, it's simple - you drive everyone in, you put them on the rocket, and you launch the moment the last person is onboard. By the time someone is in a position to complain, you're in orbit watching the apocolypse happen, and then your mission commander can be as apologetic as they like. (And when you just saved their lives, it's a bit harder to be cranky about due process.)

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This has the added benefit of not risking upsetting any weight calculations with random items brought by people who may or may not know what is going on or know enough of the specific science to realize what's involved. Even when the US was going to the Moon with Apollo, weight was critical enough that you apparently couldn't afford a few extra kilograms on board going out, and center of gravity was critical (compare the Apollo 13 crew transferring items between parts of the spacecraft to adjust CoG), and going to Mars would be even more critical. – Michael Kjörling Jan 5 at 8:55
    
And then you deal with the grief and survivor guilt channeled into anger at the people that put them in the situation of feeling so much grief and survivor guilt... that's gonna be the hard part. ("And when you just saved their lives, it's a bit harder to be cranky about due process." -- not true when the majority of people they ever cared about have just died horribly, and you COULD have included their loved ones among the chosen.) – LindaJeanne Jan 5 at 19:12

You don't ever need to force or make them agree when you can simply trick them to voluntary board the ship.

When you start to build the ships, you prepare the list of the chosen ones and hire them to build the ship. Since you probably need more manpower to build the ship than the 1000 people every ship can embark, you already have all the people you need, both craftsman and scientist (bonus point: they already are on the site) As crew you select some military personnel from the airforce, which before the launch act as security personnel and you need only a dozen politicians, you and your close collaborators.

Here is the action plan:

  1. when the building start, you announce that the X best workers will win a place on the ship on the maiden voyage (where X are the number of the craftsmens/scientists you can embark) with the their family, and that the winners will be announced 24 hours before the voyage and before the announce, you will offer a free ride (via military transports) to all the family members of the worker to the site
  2. two night before the maiden voyage, the military load all the tools and all the necessary to the cargo bay of the ship
  3. for the scientists, you download a copy of their work (and more) from the cloud where you had encouraged to save their work (with some justification)
  4. 24 hours before the launch, you announce the winners, randomly choosen, and offer a guided tour of the ship to the others
  5. on the lauch date, you simply embark all the winners and leave, for a supposed two days cruise, to never return

I agree that you don't really give them a choice, but once the news of the end of the world spreads, they will feel lucky to be alive with they loved ones

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If the government knows a year ahead of time, they have time to shape society so that telling other people is either unfeasible (other people are too far away, you don't have adequate communications technology, etc.), or you just don't care enough about other people to tell them.

You state that the chosen ones are notified one day prior, but the government should have been planning for months ahead of time. If the world is going to end, and you have no qualms about making things start to go downhill early, start your own little dystopia just to get the chosen ones in the right mindset. Tank the economy. Quadruple the rate of pollution. Cut off funding for all but the most basic life-sustaining services. Sabotage any high-tech infrastructure people can use to get the word out. Pretty soon, your chosen ones will be so disillusioned with the world they're living in that they won't want to tell others about their ticket out.

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If you want to strictly implement the 24-hours-in-advance policy, I would propose the following plan:

1) for each profession, prepare longer lists of candidates (possibly about three to five times longer as the actual amount of specialists needed), sorted by priority of candidates;

2) at the 24-hour-mark go through the list, approach the candidates and ask whether they want to go on your conditions: 2 hours to prepare and gather the people they are offered to take with them and then literally come with the person who approached them. You give each candidate 5 minutes to decide. If the candidate doesn't agree, you approach the next one (and possibly kill the one who disagreed to prevent the spread of information).

3) now you can relatively quickly gather the necessary amount of professionals (honestly, I wouldn't expect the majority of the chosen to refuse ever quite severe restrictions in face of inevitable death).

The biggest problem I expect with this operation isn't actually coming from the people on the 24h-list, but from other people involved in the operation for the whole year or a bigger part of it; there is a practically guaranteed possibility of some leak of information, conspiracy, sabotage or riot among people who get to know about the project while it's being prepared. Of course, one would try to keep the amount of informed people minimal and surely one can try to apply the same procedure as above to them but what is possible 24 hours in advance clearly won't be possible months in advance (for instance, killing those who refused to take part might raise suspicion and people who first agreed to take part might suddenly get moral second thoughts). I don't quite see a viable plan of successfully carrying out the preparations up to something like 72-hours-mark.

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You don't kill the ones who disagreed. You simply take him into custody and don't release him until the ships have taken off. In fact, you probably tell them their lives are in danger and you're taking them into protective custody before you give any details, pull out some storage bins and say "you have 15 minutes to put whatever you want to take with you in these bins before we leave" and find out on the way whether you're taking them to the ship or the holding camp for those who aren't going. – Monty Harder Jan 4 at 19:42
    
@Monty_Harder: in the scenario when I take them with me I cannot guarantee that they'll take all necessary equipment/information with them not knowing where it's going. Also, it's going to be tricky if I want to allow for family members. – Vadim Alekseev Jan 4 at 19:55
    
@Monty_Harder: I don't think taking into custody will guarantee that information won't spread. These people wouldn't have anything to lose; I probably won't have enough people knowing what's going on to guard them, and I can't let others guard them. – Vadim Alekseev Jan 4 at 20:13
    
You can build the holding camps such that there's no need for guards inside the facility itself, and tell everyone when you put them inside the fence is electrified, and there's a minefield outside that. By the time anyone can figure out a way to get out, it's too late to stop the flights. – Monty Harder Jan 4 at 20:57
    
Your problem is probably convincing them that you are serious. "Decide in 5 minutes if I need to pack for going to Mars"? Are you pulling my leg? That looks a lot like the excuse for a bachelor party we organized a few years ago, but I'm not marrying... – Ángel Jan 6 at 18:36

Tell each of them that their unique skills and knowledge are desperately and immediately required to deal with a top-secret threat to humanity from aliens. Offer them crazy money/perks/rewards and say that their closest family must accompany them for security reasons (prevent kidnap etc).

If they agree, tell them to gather their critical work tools (or tell us where to get our agents to pick them up) and prepare for immediate transport.

Tell them they are going to a nearby secret base to work with an elite global team, say nothing about the spaceships.

Each pitch to each person could be fine-tuned by the worlds best psychologists/negotiators etc months beforehand.

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Select a small subset of people chosen for space colonisation.

There are far, far more than the 10000 people you are intending to fit on your spaceships. For example, 15000 scientists have signed the Elsevier boycott against poor publishing practices, and UNESCO estimates that there are ~7 million researchers worldwide. You still need to account for their families, which realistically means you can only bring ~3000-4000 or so actual Chosen Ones.

Under such circumstances, you have lots of space for choice. You can simply disguise your program as a government-spearheaded Mars colonisation attempt (which it would be), and call for volunteers. If your attempt is realistic enough (unlike the Mars One attempt) and clearly has enough funding to succeed, it should attract sufficient volunteers for your mission. In fact, this would likely greatly decrease the pool of married people, which would significantly enhance the amount of manpower on your mission.

As many other answers have already pointed out, this is also important because the people volunteered. They would therefore be far less likely to sabotage the mission or do other undesirable things that would be likely in people who had been forced into it.

Essentially, you don't need to force people, enough people already are able and willing to contribute to the cause, and you just need to find them.

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You have some problems.

The very first and serious problem: Why evacuate to Mars at the first place ?

Our earth, even devastated and contaminated, is still much more habitable than Mars. It is still unknown if humans are able to continously live under reduced gravitation with all the ill effects on bone structure and cardiovascular system. All necessary elements are already in place, so we can trust that plants and animals can survive (or, desperately we can chemically create nourishment). Terraforming a planet is something which sounds marvellous, but it is much more difficult than restoring an already habitable planet.
The other thing is that life on earth is incredibly resistant. It survived complete glaciation (snowball earth) 2.3 billion years and 600 million years ago and a tropical hell (3000 ppm CO2 in comparison to 400 ppm today) with 25 °C warm water at the poles (!) 100 million years ago. You need some serious whopper, something like a body the size of Mars impacting Earth.

So are deep bunkers, provided with nuclear energy, an acceptable alternative ? Another alternative is that you go forward in time where space travel is already highly developed (space elevator has been built) and we have a research station on Mars. Unfortunately earth/other stations are grilled by a 48-hour gamma ray burst and only Mars survives because it is exactly on the opposite of the sun and the source and therefore shielded from the deadly impact.

You still want your apocalypse ? Sigh...
Ok, those cocky asshole scientists at CERN really did it. They created an absolutely impossible artificial black hole which moved to the core of the earth and grows initially very slow, but exponentially. So people would not realize for a long time what is going on, but the destruction, once feelable, goes very fast.

Second problem: We need some volunteers.
Private coorperations are currently powerful enough that they have billions of dollars available. Bill Gates has enough money to rebuild the Saturn IV and travel to the moon. So you set up a spiffy front company which gives on the outside a slightly campy, idealistic image. You know, a firm with an idealistic dreamer as CEO and a name of "Path to Mars".

This firm has its residence at a country which has less worker protection. Now the countries are working together to find the people they need for the project. Those people have now a bad strain of luck: They are fired from their company or their company is going bankrupt. And they are not paid. The processes are taking too long and if the processes are accepted they are losing. They do not get recompensation. Their wives and children are getting desperate. Hit them repeatedly with the big stick in the back until they are desparate, too. And then the juicy carrot: "Path to Mars" offers them a big deal.
The missing worker protection allows now the company to run on them psychological tests to find out as much as possible about them. And you want some margin of error: Employ much more people than necessary to find the best and the most willing. Get them interested with very demanding projects (which, incidentally, are about moving and living on Mars).

The spaceships are build at the end of a space elevator. At 36.000 km height even very good amateur equipment is not able to detect such ships. Moving up the elevator could be problematic with 24h, so you need transportation rockets. An Ariane 5ECA could launch 10 000 kg to an geostationary orbit, so you have 100 persons to transport with 200 Mill. $ costs.

How do we get the persons on board ? After having the best chosen ones, no discussion: Spice their tea/coffee/whatever with knockout drops. Store them aboard the rocket and bring them on board. Keep them sedated until you started and wake them up before the destruction begins. Show them the end of the earth and explain what you have done and why it was necessary. You can offer them the lock to the space if they want end their life (Smart as you are you have some manpower reserves), the rest will continue the journey.

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How about, Venus? Have anybody heard of HAVOC? – Hendrik Lie Jan 6 at 10:22

Evil Option

An assumption is made that the couples have been pre-selected at the same time the ships started being built. Another assumption is money is not an issue.

How To Handle the Workers

Insert devices into everyone involved that can kill chemically and but make it look like a natural death. Build an elaborate keyword monitoring system (think Bourne). Lie about the purpose of the ships (think Virgin sky tours). Eliminate anyone who starts to suspect the true purpose.

How to Handle the Families

Insert similar devices into all members of the selected families.

Begin the final selection process.

Slowly, one by one, tell each of the selected families the truth. Monitor and evaluate the response. At the first sign of disclosure to an excluded member, discount them and eliminate if needs be.

This is the future of the human race we are talking about. Only enthusiastic and loyal participants are required for the final program. No-one is irreplaceable. Anyone who does not want to be part of the future or risks the security of the mission does not deserve a place.

I see this as being controlled by a fanatic who probably doesn't even believe they deserve a place on the ship themselves. He/she would be motivated solely by the need to preserve the human race.

Such a fanatic would also ensure there is no "buying" your way in. The usual political elite need not apply.

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You could tell them that they are part of an extremely important top secret project, to colonize Mars! Or some similar lie. If they do not know that everyone else will die, then they will have no qualms about leaving them. They will probably accept, especially if you offer to take up to nine family members under the age of 40. If they decline your offer, then kidnap them and their immediate family a short time before the launch. But, it is vital that no-one knows of the impending apocalypse. If they knew, then that would cause much unrest and make all of your endeavors more difficult.

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Seems fishy. Waiving the 24h before boarding, since people would like MORE time to arrange things for their absence/departure (such as selling the house/furniture/car, terminating their employment contract, ...) and invariably some will say "sorry, not interested". – Matthieu M. Jan 4 at 19:49

Use tranquilizing darts or neutralizing darts to knock them out, then remove all their papers computers etc and take them to the despatch center.

This is probably the safest solution, but may result in problems later.

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That would take a lot of time and people to carry it out and leave behind a large mess of people wondering what is going on for each person abducted this way. – bowlturner Jan 5 at 18:16
    
@bowlturner Organizing. An apparatus which can build ten interplanetary spaceships capable to carry 1000 people each and all necessary colonization equipment will surely have a its own spec.ops. and if not can hire mercenaries. If they don't have enough money, just grab some loans for extreme interest (they won't have to pay anyway). – mg30rg Jan 7 at 13:28

Lie, lie, lie!

Convince the whole world we are preparing an epic scientific mission; we are going to start the colonization of Mars. For this, 10 launch sites are being contructed around the earth with their own spaceships. During the year, "The Government" will feed the press with superfluous information, conferences and technical details.

About the last month or so, there will be an announcement for a big drill where several critical aspects are going to be tested: security around the launch sites, transportation of personal and supplies, communications between bases, tv coverage and broadcast, and also how could random people with critical skill be selected to join the mission.

When one day remains, the selected group of people is contacted. They were choosen for a specific part of the drill where they will help develop and implement contingency plans, solve critical errors, etc. You offer them a substantial paycheck for a few days of work, and of course their close family is invited to assist with them to witness this historical event. They need to decide for yes or no at the moment their are conectaed, if they refuse you could have some backup candidates or if you think they are essential then a more agressive course of action might be taken (e.g. kidnapping). Vans, choppers, private jets are already deployed and waiting for all this people.

Finally, just a few hours before the deadline, all the groups in each of the 10 bases are briefed. You inform the press the last part of the trial will begin soon, as people board the spaceships. There will be a huge surprise when the ships start their rockets and a minutes later all the 10 are taking off. At that point, there will be a press release explaining what happened and giving the bad news of the inminent apocalypse.

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completely different idea ...

Secretly assume complete control of their lives using unlimited gov influence and cash.

They are all given strong reasons to visit a certain hotel near a sprawling spaceship building yard. These reasons could be mundane things like family holiday, kids wins science fair, "Job requires it & family won free luxury holiday from the booking", fake medical treatment etc etc etc.

In every case you would need a reason to get the person of interest and their family there either separately or together.This should be easy to do with unlimited control of employers, banks, schools, media, traffic, telecomms etc etc.

You would need to have teams to find and collect all their critical stuff separately.

Once they are all in the heavily-secured hotel tell them the truth.

The beauty of using an apparently normal hotel is that you can have 1000 separate teams running the scams that don't need to know about each other. They just have to get their targets to room xyz by hh:00

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The first thing to note is that everyone (except a few iconoclastic geniuses like myself) LOVE to believe lies that comfort them, and will do almost anything to avoid cognitive dissonance, including ignoring very obvious facts and information. If given a choice between learning a new fact that will disturb and challenge their world view, versus a comforting lie that will leave them in their illusions, 99.99% of the human race will eagerly choose the comforting lie.

So to "fool" the average person, all you have to do is

a) make the truth seem uncomfortable b) give them a plausible but comfortable lie to explain the same facts

So to make family members come along (why you want to do this is beyond me, obviously the kind of people who would abandon earth to save their own skins would have little concern for ties to family or friends) don't tell them what is going on. Tell them a comforting lie - we are all going to Bermuda for a free vacation. A different lie for each person. Tell them its secret hush/hush government stuff, they don't want any trouble, no one wants any trouble. Get them to pack. They get on the plane. Oops, to pick up our free vacation voucher we have to get in this space shuttle for a minute. Oops, we launched.

Do what all the elite do to you night and day - lie. How do you think they are stealing $3 trillion a year from the taxpayers without even a peep of protest? How do you think the elite live like kings, like princes, nay like gods, all at your expense, and you have never raised a peep of protest? That's what they are doing to you RIGHT NOW. And you are cooperating. You are eagerly cooperating. You are 100% invested in the illusion. make the truth seem uncomfortable. No one will ever believe it, even if presented with solid proof.

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Wow, seeing the answers you get... So many people believing in lies but I am sure lot's of them despise lies...

Don't you all think a "new start" would be better of without tricking people that would be chosen? They are presumably smart/smarter then you so their reason levels are hopefully / probably higher then yours. Yes we do have loved ones but either bring some along if they also have skills or they will themselves decide if they want to go while their loved ones make the sacrifice to stay. At least that will motivate them to succeed and work more, and with lies and tricks you gamble on making them angry, non cooperating, apathetic, depressed. I agree about lies or maybe hiding plans to general self-centered public but actually I don't think you would need any more/less security then now. Don't do like politicians do...they don't see further then lies.

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Except for the people who will think: "oh, you have a ship? I'll just attack the site and take it from you, thank you very much!". You actually think that so many people would just either let their loved ones die, or agree to die with all of their loved ones out of honor or something? No. The second people found out a ship existed they would flood the launch site. – AndreiROM Jan 8 at 17:31
    
Of course, that is true, that is why it is a more discussable question would we then say let's just end it here :D But yes, I would prefer to be honest with people who are to continue the race and if they would act in the way you described...well just document what we did and leave it on a plate for others to find maybe. – Dusko Jan 9 at 15:04

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