Today's preview of The Black Desert Primer features an organization that was first mentioned with our Conestoga PDF. The Destiny Foundation, as you'll see below, offers a legitimate way to get normal people into space. Take a look:
Despite having gone bankrupt in the years before the Great War, The Destiny Foundation is still one of the more influential organizations in the Inner System. The brainchild of one of humanity's most daring and eccentric philanthropists Walter Hopkins, the Destiny Foundation defined the early twenty-second century with its ambitious business plan and even more ambitious building projects.
Like many commercial space companies of that era, The Destiny Foundation was created by a billionaire who earned his fortune specifically to get into the space industry. The goal of Hopkins was not only to make settling on other planets possible, but profitable and in the financial reach of average middle-class Americans. In order to accomplish this, the Destiny Foundation developed their unique business plan that take advantage of the Mass/Commodity Principle of Economics.
The Mass/Commodity Principle, simply put, is a way for space colonists and investors in the space industry to take advantage of the then enormous costs of transporting people and matériel into Low Earth Orbit. By the 2070s, the cost at launch had dropped to around $2000/kg. While far lower than at any time before, all but the most expensive of items cost less to make than they did to launch. Under these conditions, a kilogram of state-of-the-art electronics is no more expensive in space than a kilogram of air. For this reason, it was more economically feasible to send robots, which were expensive but lightweight, into space than people, which consumed many times their mass in air, water and food.
The reverse of the Mass/Commodity Principle is that a kilogram of platinum, worth millions on Earth, is practically worthless compared to a kilogram of life support essentials in space. By exploiting this disparity between the cost of rare earth elements in space and their value on Earth, space development could theoretically be made practical.
Like most speculative mining operations of the era, the Destiny Foundation, allowed investors to purchase, for a quarter of a million dollars, a mining robot. The robot was sent into space and put to work mining Rare Earth Elements and Helium-3. A share of the profits of these materials on Earth, in proportion to the number of robots owned by an individual and minus a small commission, was paid to the investor. What made Hopkins' proposal different was that the Foundation allowed families of regular investors, who would most likely have to liquidate all of their assets in order to invest, to live at the Foundation Headquarters and receive training in The Foundation's space program. During the two-year training period that followed, The families' robots could earn enough from their efforts to pay for the training, housing, and a trip into space for the families as settlers. By this method, ordinary Americans could afford to send themselves and their children to the frontiers of Mars or the newly created asteroid cyclers.
In the end, the Mass/Commodity Principle was flawed and the Mining bubble burst, impoverishing millions of investors and settlers alike. Dispite this legacy of Hopkins' vision is very much a part of life in space today. Most if not all settlements in The Black Desert include at least one or two modules developed by the Foundation, and many of those who live off Terra can trace their ancestry to the pioneers who took a chance on the Destiny Foundation and reached for the stars.
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Of course, this business plan may make space colonization possible, but it doesn't make it likely. That leap would require enough reasonably successful people to want to leave behind everything, including their entire planet, and risk their lives in the most hostile environment humans have ever tried to live in.
...I dunno. I'd do it. Maybe.