I'm thinking of writing a story and thought of an objective that one of the characters I'm writing for would be working towards.

He comes from an ethnic minority that has been thoroughly damaged by poverty, disease, high suicide rates, and assimilation policies, with disease being fairly dramatic 250 years ago (think smallpox) and assimilation policies stopping around 125 years ago.

Because of the way that the protagonist's ethnicity was treated, he decided that he wants to go into space and set up a colony, especially considering the remaining/resurging discrimination in the world he's living in.

This story takes 100 years in the future, and our civilization was able to create a colony on Venus, using meteors to increase planetary mass.

The protagonist wants to make a new colony, with at least 4000 people, to create a colony that would preserve a lot of the cultures that are being destroyed by pollution, and/or make a large academy dedicated to scientific research.

So, this person has an objective with the following conditions:

  1. The colony would be an artificial recreation of earth, without the massive amount of pollution that currently is damaging the planet.
  2. The protagonist of this question wants to "recuperate" some of the massive population losses among his demographic thanks to carelessness. Therefore, they would want to mainly focus on using that demographic in 80% of the population.
  3. The protagonist is obviously in favor of running people with advanced education, so they would have around 10% of the population be reserved for outside-demographic scientists and technicians.
  4. The protagonist would need to bring genetic information so that Terra Nova can function properly. They would probably want one specific continent to be terraformed into a specific manner so that they can start earning money as a tourist destination.

Obviously, I can figure out that the money returned from this endeavor would likely be from the following:

  1. Scientific research. Being able to experiment on clean specimens would be a major advancement past what we could do on earth, and can bring in new medical or agricultural technologies.
  2. Tourism. The regulations for tourism should be incredibly strict to prevent pollution. Also, the world created out of this can be good for inspiring new intellectual property.

But obviously this comes with a few problems. Namely, it would have to be relatively secret so that mainstream media doesn't catch on to what the protagonist is doing until it appears that "oh, there's this neat little sign-up sheet for people who want to go to a future 400-person colony" so that they're duped into thinking that the colony would be a tenth of the size it is.

But, considering the problems this minority is going through, the colony could be an incredibly difficult endeavor. The demographic is going through the following problems:

  1. higher rates of unemployment
  2. rates of incarceration
  3. substance abuse
  4. health problems
  5. homelessness
  6. lower levels of education
  7. higher levels of poverty

Considering the demographic's population of at least 1,400,000 people, how difficult would it be to make a space colony that contains at least 3,200 ready, willing, and able volunteers from this set?

How much would getting a colony of 4,000 people onto a target planet cost? Finally, what would it take to ensure that not only that colony would last long enough to avoid the ire of businessmen that want the planet for its mineral resources and stockpiles of energy?

Of course, one option is secrecy, but then people are going to ask "where did the money go?"

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    $\begingroup$ (1) Terra Nova is another name for Newfoundland. In Romance languages this is actually the name in use. (2) Why would any "outside-demographic scientists and technicians" accept to join this chauvinistic colony? (3) I don't see why an American Indian would name their new land in Latin, the language of the ultimate assimilators of nations. Please rename the colony. (4) Emigrating to an entirely artificial ecosystem in order to escape polution requires some extreme form of mental acrobatics. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 28 '17 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP the name "Terra Nova" might have originated there, but using it in fiction to refer to other places (or prehistoric Earth for that matter) is not new. I wouldn't fixate on the name anyway; it's clearly not central to the question. Cyan_Cap, building such a colony at all, let alone with the special circumstances here, in only 100 years feels ambitious to me; are we starting from present-day Earth, or later or on an alternate timeline? $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio May 28 '17 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ They want to terraform the land within their lifetime? The cost of this endavour will likely be several times the yearly revenue of all Earth nations combined. So minority except the one called 'the top 1%' will ever be able to finance this. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil May 28 '17 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ Are you realy realy sure you want and need gard science tag on this? $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 28 '17 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ You really need to research conditions on Venus before selecting it as the site for your colony. You wouldn't need to increase the mass - it's almost the same as Earth's - but to make it Earthlike you'd need to increase the rotation rate from its current 243 days. There's also no atmospheric methane. It's mostly CO2 with a bit of nitrogen, and a few other things (mostly toxic to humans) measured in parts per million. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf May 29 '17 at 6:25

So effectively those guys are trying to build a Liberia or Haiti on Venus and hope that this time it would somehow work?

What assets this tribe has? Financial? Nope. Human capital? Nope. (alcoholism... crime... low education... damn, the only advantage here is high nationalism). Are they at least able to use numerical superiority to compensate that? Nope. A bit more than a milion out of planet with many bilion, right?

So assuming that space exploration is hard and expensive like in RL, then they are doomed. They would have a few meetings, draw great plans of space base, start saving money... And repeat the procedure for generations.

Let's say that space exploration is easy. So they can build such base... But other can also build such. Their power would not only be inferior to a small country, but they would be weaker than a small corporation. In such case indeed elites of this tribe may manage to leave the rest behind and build a tiny colony. The problem is that if they can send below 0.3% of their population, then presumably other countries or corporations would be able to do the same. In best case scenario they indeed become recognized as one of thousand sovereign state, maybe not as important as ex. Pizza Hut Retirement Fund.

AlexP made points 1-4, so I'd start from:


How much would getting a colony of 4,000 people onto a target planet cost?

More than just solving all economic problems of this minority on its home planet?

6) Actually I see a possible source of finance for starting such colony. It seems that their compatriots may actually perceive them as source of problems and financial burden (prisons don't come cheap...). What about asking their gov for financing them one way ticket? I bet that their neighbors may be willing to pay for that.

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I am not sure precisely what the question is; but if you have 1.4M people, then you also have about 140 people that, if you could magically sort all of them by intelligence and creativity, would each be the "best" out of 10,000 of their cohorts. We call people in the top 2% of IQ 'genius', but 1 in 10,000 is the top 1% of the top 1%. Of course, this "sorting" idea works regardless of the skill required; Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball through astonishing athleticism and a high tolerance for insult. The first black millionaire businessmen in the USA were frankly brilliant.

Anthropomorphizing a bit, Society is so greedy for talent it will break most of its other rules, and it is common for exceptionally talented members of an underclass to be tolerated to gain the benefits of their talent.

In all forms of entertainment from writing to performing, in art, often in science and business.

That is where I think your "out" is to be found: A natural genius that can do something nobody else can, solve problems nobody else can, and every time he does it, demands more pay.

Short of actual slavery being an option for them; there are those in society greedy for money that will provide that pay, and cover for it. For example, your genius (Sally) could agree that once she gets her pay and controls it, her employer (Bill) can pretend he solved the problem. Sally keeps inventing, Bill benefits and keeps secretly paying her; he is making billions, and so is she.

The money is in an account Sally can control remotely and anonymously. She uses her intellect to invest it anonymously and is winning that game too. She recruits non-minorities to front for her: Once again, there are always many people in the world happy to do something like that for enough salary, and Sally is smart enough to make sure she has a firm grip on their leash.

One way to openly recruit the minorities is to use the discrimination as a cover: Sally can have her non-minority fronters seeking to recruit minorities, saying the job is too dangerous for anybody else. She can screen for the quality she wants, screen for discretion and intelligence, and then (posing as an employee of her front men) interview and subject them to testing.

The trick is ego control; Sally's ability to be in charge without needing anybody, ever, to know it is her in charge. She can be the inventor of amazing new tech, and let Bill take all the credit and fame for that. Sally needs to be a genius on a mission to save her people, and be satisfied with the accomplishment, and knowing she did it, even if getting it done means that history will always believe the lie that someone else did it, and she fades into obscurity.

I don't think the exact costs matter; just look at the people IRL that have become the richest in the world by dint of luck and intellect, born at the right time, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Steve Jobs, or many other billionaires. Plus, your genius may even have a plan to make the colony much cheaper than people think it should cost.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, I do see the "out" here, and this option seems like a nice idea if not for how much time it would take. Nonetheless, it's a lot less time than what it would take without such secrecy, but people solely motivated by money can easily defect. ... On top of that, the secrecy with the money invested into this program gives an off-scent that would attract tax collectors. They would likely be hostile to the idea, or try and force the incarcerated/political prisoners into her hands while they keep the top 2% intellectuals in the demographic. $\endgroup$ – Cyan_Cap May 29 '17 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyan_Cap Let them defect, protagonist uses her genius to ensure she can fire them. The money lands in Swiss accounts (or Cayman, BitCoin, whatever), anonymous and depending only on numbers she keeps in her head. And corporations behind shells. There is always some way to control hidden money, and always some of the privileged that eschew bigotry. That was true even in America's slave south; it will be true in your world too: some microscopic % truly willing to help, it just takes a genius to find them, and also know if they are lying or sincere (IRL another very rare but real skill). $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica May 29 '17 at 10:40

The biggest problem members of your ethnic minority would have to overcome is how to get a jump on the ethnic majority colonizing planet Venus first especially if all the technologies already exist, in your future, to make Venus habitable.

This answer suggests there is one possible strategy to make this work. The members of the ethnic minority volunteer and train to be the workers who carry out the initial settlement of Venus and once this accomplished they liberate the colony for their own kind.

This will achieve what @Shadow1024 suggested in creating a Liberia or Haiti in space. The slaves will have revolted against their masters and taken over the territory for themselves. Hopefully they will have learned the lessons of history and make sure their enterprise ends well instead of going off the rails like in Haiti.

Basically the rich and the powerful will not let any minority or lower class get their hands a new source of wealth and resources especially when the means to exploit it exist. They will see the planet Venus as theirs to exploit and appropriate. Therefore, any minority that wants to use a planet like Venus as their way to freedom and an escape from oppression, will need to find a way of bypassing their oppressors. Viva la Revolution!

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... This doesn't answer my question, but nonetheless gives an equally interesting scenario. ... The reason why this doesn't answer my question is because that my talk about Venus was an example as to how advanced the technology was. This kind of event though is risky, and can be extremely costly towards an organization seeking to make a better place to live because now space travel would barely get any investment. $\endgroup$ – Cyan_Cap May 29 '17 at 3:13

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