Five Ark ships have been constructed for this venture, equipped with cryostasis chambers for its members to sleep in during the 600-year-long journey. Project founder Jien Garson travels in the Nexus, the main hub of the expedition. The other four Arks each contain a different species; most humans are aboard Ark Hyperion. Each Ark is assigned with its own Pathfinder, a mix of elite soldier, scientist, and guide who will be tasked with finding a new home. For the Hyperion the selected Pathfinder is Alec Ryder.
While the Andromeda Initiative's long-range scans have identified several potentially-habitable planets in the Heleus Cluster, the possibility of encountering harsh planetary conditions during the search for a suitable Golden World exists. The Pathfinder and their team will be responsible for assessing and exploring any environment deemed necessary as the mission unfolds.
Project Background Edit
“Charting the Andromeda Galaxy for habitable planets presents a unique challenge. Observation is limited by light, and given Andromeda's distance, any observations from the Milky Way are 2.5 million years out of date–enough time for a planet to have altered irrevocably.
Initial attempts to identify settlement sites were made by obtaining asari astronomical surveys and running them through predictive models. But Jien Garson was unwilling to risk thousands of colonists without solid information.
Eventually, the Initiative obtained promising data from quarian explorers who claimed to have found a geth array on the fringes of the Perseus Veil. This array was supposedly built from three mass relays, using sensors in the combined relay corridor as a form of FTL "telescope" to observe dark space beyond the galactic rim. Why the geth expended so much effort to study dark space is not known.
Amongst these observations were near-contemporary surveys of Andromeda. When our predictive models confirmed them within an acceptable margin, the Initiative was able to begin identifying "golden worlds."”
True Purpose Edit
Unbeknownst to the public there was more to the Andromeda Initiative than simply for the benefit of exploration and colonization of the Andromeda Galaxy. From Alec Ryder's personal logs it's revealed that the Initiative served another purpose. According to a secret message from Jien Garson, she had been running out of money to fund the Andromeda Initiative. However, before the project could be scrapped, a group of mysterious benefactors approached her to continue funding the Initiative. They made changes to the colonization plans, such as adding 100,000 new colonists to the arks.
In 2183 after Saren Arterius's failed geth attack and Sovereign's appearance on the Citadel, the existence of the Reapers was revealed. Though the Citadel Council were skeptical of Commander Shepard's claims, the benefactors took the news seriously, having suspected the existence of the ancient machines. Fearing that the arrival of the Reapers was imminent, and a fight for resources would ensue, they kept the true reason for the Initiative quiet and pushed the timetable for the completion of the arks. It was the benefactors intent to safeguard all that was left of civilization in the Milky Way and find a new home in the Andromeda Galaxy.