Sometime in September 2316 C.E. the Inner Terrestrial Planets Federation and its allies, the Big Four Gas Giants Federation just launched a massive joint venture space exploration program which would require the construction of a dozen warp-capable attack class spaceship. The alliance only promised to subsidize a fraction of the cost which is already astronomical figure while the rest will be bear by a collection of angel investors, etc. The mission directive is to explore strange new world ... ... ... where no man has gone before. From the design to construction phase and then conducting ground test and eventually reporting finding the entire duration would last approximately over a century meaning any willing investors (average human life expectancy is around 153 years) won't expect any reward soon until they die from aging. Until the entire region of space within all the galactic quadrants in Milky Way Galaxy is charted and never leave any planet unturn, no spaceship are allowed to return home! Having that said what can the alliance do to pool sufficient funding from our philanthropists without resorting to violence? By the way these spaceship relies on next generation ablative laser propulsion by annihilating matter and antimatter Sparticles(spelling is correct, these are actually hypothetical particles predicted by string theory) to achieve lorentz factor of maximum 3.141.
closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, Thucydides, Separatrix, bilbo_pingouin, John Dallman Sep 30 '16 at 11:53
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Well, there's a simple reason why nobody wants to invest in this project, and the people claiming to represent the governments are obviously fraudulent. The stated means of doing the project are ludicrously inadequate for its aims.
There are at least 100,000,000,000 planets in the Milky Way, and the claim is that every one of them will be visited. Between 12 ships that's 8.33 billion planets each. If they have 100 years to do it, that's 3.15 billion seconds. So the ships have 2.64 seconds to inspect each of their planets, allowing no time to travel between the planets. One feels that this may not be adequate time for a complete survey?
However, it will take significant time to travel between the planets, because a Lorenz factor of 3.141 is only about 95% of the speed of light. So each interstellar journey will take several years. This fleet of ships is quite adequate for exploring the immediately nearby stars, but claiming they can explore the entire galaxy is ludicrous.
So, are you coming quietly, sir, or do we need to use the neural paralyser?
You are really going to need to have an economic incentive for investors if the economic climate is anything like today, but I don't see why you can't pursue exploration for both economic and scientific opportunities. Think about the age of exploration on Earth. These voyages weren't funded simply out of curiosity or scientific pursuits. Perhaps that was the motivation of the explorers themselves but the funds actually came from monarchs, families, and companies that excepted some kind of return.
I think you are going to have a hard time getting investments from "some rich dude" for the lifespan argument you stated. But companies especially have the advantage of thinking in the long term. Think about Weyland-Yutani in the Alien franchise. 57 years after Ripley blew up the Nostromo their executives were like "Y you blow up ship? Ship cost money!".
Depending how communication works in your universe the exploration vessels could send back mining rights to asteroids/planets, navigation charts, or other valuable info to those interested parties back on Earth.
If you still want to go after the "rich dudes" you're really going to have to sell them on the whole 'leaving a legacy' ideal.
It's a Financial Legacy
Let's leave aside the utter impossibility of the proposed mission for a moment (thank you John Dallman!) and focus on the generic idea of an economically viable project that will take over 150 years (the longest possible lifespan of any living person in your world) to complete.
As a general idea, I think it would still see funding. Companies would be unlikely to invest because their shareholders would never see a return, but it could receive endowments from the ultra-rich who want to ensure their grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) are taken care of. Your children (or grandchildren) may do something to squander the wealth that you are leaving them, but this project leaves you a vehicle to ensure that their descendants are still taken care of.
This is not that functionally different from people who lived in the early days of large-scale trade shipping that funded long-distance trade ships. If a journey took a couple of years to complete and you were already in your 40's there was a nonzero chance that you would die of natural causes (eg. influenza) before a return was realized. Investing in the company to build the ships was even worse, as it could take decades to see a profitable return and you were unlikely to live that long. But the very wealthy did it anyway, in part because they could live to see the return, but also in part because it was a way to (hopefully) create a business legacy for your family.
Based on historical precedents I'd say that in spite of logic the chances are actually above zero. The most promissing way for me is to use dreamt revenues from each of separate voyage to create asset based securities, give them high ranking, then repackage them through special purpose vehicles in to tranches of space conquest bonds, that are claimed to be almost guaranteed success.
EDIT: Actually, being less cynical, it is possible to invest in to shares of company that would pay in some unspecified and far future, assuming, that one can realistically hope to sell those shares within your investment horizont to next investor. That's one of real advantages of capital market.