Project Anaximander is an ongoing exploration/scientific effort, led by the Confederacy of Humanity, to chart the entire Milky Way. It is the largest of such efforts ever known to humanity in terms of the number of participants and resource allocation.
The project was launched on June 7th, 9964 by then-leader of the Confederacy John-Thust Praful.
Several other names were also proposed, including Susong Initiative and the Brahe Exploration.
Since the first FTL drives were invented, humans had initiated multiple plans to chart the entire galaxy. These all failed due to a multitude of reasons, mainly due to a lack of funding. Even the most successful missions have only managed to chart about 25,000 systems until it was shut down.
The exploration body ExploreCorp had been established relatively early in the history of the confederacy. Fund shortages and a lack of interest, however, had slowed its progress and limited it to charting populated systems. Aside from this, the Confederacy of Humanity have not paid much focus on galactic cartography, allowing private companies instead.
By the 99th century, humanity had settled in or colonized tens of millions of systems and colonies (9841 estimate: 115,460,000 systems, excluding planetless stars and interstellar colonies) spread across the Milky Way. About one-fourth of those have their major bodies fully charted, with various levels of charting for the rest (over a million 'colonized' systems was simply passed by starships going somewhere else). Other space-faring civilizations also controls some areas of space, with an estimated total of nearly 450,000,000 systems charted in various degrees of detail. This pales in comparison, however, with over 400 billion solar systems in Milky Way alone.
During the First and Second Galactic Wars, the invaders had managed to build bases within 1 kiloparsecs from Earth without detection from the Confederate forces. In fact, the Giokans was first encountered within 1000 light-years (<300 parsecs). This have raised major issues in the Confederacy Senate.
After the discovery of the wormhole and the Battle of Hathia, some members of the senate, particularly those with scientific/exploration/colonization corporation background went together and proposed a bill for a project to create a detailed chart of Earth's near-space (a sphere stretching 1,000 light-years away from Earth) which was then only partially completed. Due to post-war situations and destroyed colonies, this project failed to pass in the senate initially.
Some of the proponents didn't give up, however, and turned to the public. In August 9958, senate member Miro Vranchev from Alcaya and astronomer Roeland Latuheru from Titan made a public declaration regarding the project.
The declaration received an overwhelmingly positive response due to the then-high morale of humanity in general, at least for worlds that were relatively unscathed from the war. Dozens of major scientific organizations and megacorporations announced support for the mission within the first three months of the declaration. Sponsorships were opened and crowdfunding efforts were done, gathering hundreds of ships' worth of resources within the first year. With funding now beyond their concerns, the proponents of the project once petitioned the senate to support the endeavor, particularly with the now-unused military vessels.
Due to other concerns the discussion was postponed for another two years until finally in April 9961 the senate gave the project its agreement. Plans and routes were created as outside funding continues to flow in. By the end of the year, some impatient civilians and corporations have begun smaller missions on their own, charting partly-colonized star systems such as Lecithine and Vaatara.
The planning phase was finally completed in January 9963. It took several more months to recondition the damaged military spaceships to its prime condition. Scientific equipment took three more months to load inside the weapon-chucked ships.
During this period, confederate diplomats approached other starfaring species in the galaxy, persuading a significant number to join in the effort.
After multiple years of bureaucratic difficulties, the first official vessel CEV Aletherys was sent off by the senate from Earth in the general direction of the M71 Star Cluster on June 7, 9964.
" With each system explored, each planet mapped, each orbit determined and each atmosphere entered, scientific knowledge takes a step forward.
This is neither a corporate survey nor a simple cartography run. This embodies one of the greatest traits of sentience: the thirst for knowledge."- Miro Vranchev, during the August 9958 address.
The aim of the whole project is to create a complete, detailed chart of Milky Way. This includes astronomical, political, geographical, atmospheric, climate, and biological charts/maps of all large celestial bodies from gas giants to comets.
In reality, smaller bodies (e.g. dwarf moons, distant-orbit comets, etc.) are often skipped by explorers.
It is estimated that over a 1,300,000 FTL-capable large vessels and nearly 7 million smaller FTL starships are actively involved in the project. This does not account for planetships and probes released from these crafts in systems to chart the bodies. Countless scientists, corporate employees, troops, and volunteers also participate on the grounds, making local geological and biological maps.
As of the year 10,000 the amount of systems charted as part of the project is close to 640 million systems. Assuming a linear rate, the galaxy would be fully charted within about 400 years. The amount of systems fully charted as the mission statement, however, is much lower at 46,534,329 at the Terran 10,000 CE celebration.
The sheer scale of the project causes a large number of injuries and, in some cases, death. Common causes include piracy, hazardous terrain (e.g. volcanic desert planets), mechanical failure, and (extremely uncommon) asteroid impacts.
The Uunbassht'Fin Incident costing several thousand lives was triggered by a discovery of the project.