The AI Council believed that the best way to keep us from dying on Earth was to push us out into the Solar System and beyond. So they covertly and overtly supported any venture that promised to take us there. Private, government, and mixed programs all received their aid in the decades that followed. And many of the private ventures somehow managed to arrive on Luna, Mars, and other planets and moons before any government venture. Most people assumed that whoever got there first with a major colony would claim the entire world as their own. The AI Council sought to reduce that risk by sending small mining corporations out and planting the flag of some Western Nation as part of their operation. And so companies like Mistress, Barsoom, and Starr Mining operated throughout the Inner System before the first Chinese colonization ships arrived. Servadac, ZZ, Astor, and Oyuki Mining worked the asteroids and moons of the outer system before any major national force arrived, and all the nations ignored the claims of ownership by any other. The AIs wished to breed competition between the major nations of Earth, and we soon saw ships of every major and minor ownership moving throughout the Solar System. It was the first golden age of our time in space.