“Earth is not dying, at least not yet; but space and raw materials grow scarce, and it is only a matter of time before we are stretched so thin that we break.”

15 years ago, as Earth shook in the grip of a bitterly cold war for what precious few resources remained to us, the interstellar probe Fortune – forgotten by all but a few dedicated enthusiasts – changed everything.

Fortune sent back details of an astonishing find – an Earth-like planet, tantalisingly close. The planet, dubbed Niwa (Garden) by the Japanese scientist leading the Fortune research team, sparked new hope in humanity – and a new variation on an old form of competition.

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The second space race came close to crashing the global markets as nations and multinationals alike sunk all their resources into interstellar transport. The cold war turned hot in places, and for a moment the world teetered on the brink.

Something brought us back from the edge… some last remaining shred of reason, demanding we set aside our differences and work as one. Because one thing was clear: no single government or company would be able to fund the kind of mission needed to access Niwa’s desperately-needed resources.

So an international association was formed, uniting all those parties with the wealth, resources or know-how to help bring Project Mandjet to fruition. Named for the barge of the Egyptian sun-god Ra, which carried him across the Underworld to rise in a new dawn, the Mandjet took 13 years to build.

And just 18 months to sail to the new world.

Tomorrow, at last, we set foot on alien soil. We, the first men of this new world, this garden Niwa, hold the key to humanity’s future.