The Story So Far

In 2020, the first Humans-to-Mars (H2M) mission is launched. Making use of the relationships and protocols for international co-operation developed during construction and operation of the International Space Station, the H2M project is implemented by a consortium of space agencies, led by NASA, and also including the Russian, European, Canadian, Japanese and Chinese Space Agencies

Preceding the launch, a number of crewed missions to the Moon have been successfully executed for the purpose of testing life-support technologies and mission protocols. The ship which will carry the astronauts to Mars, named Gaia to signify the spirit of Earth, required the launch of a number of modules from Earth and then assembly in orbit. During construction it is docked to the ISS, and from there it is launched.

An ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) plant has already been flown out to the landing site on Mars six months prior and is working perfectly, mining the atmosphere and steadily stockpiling oxygen, water and methane for use by the astronauts. Six months after launch, Gaia successfully delivers the 10 astronauts to the surface of Mars where they spend a year-and-a-half, performing a wide variety of experiments and collecting a wealth of data. Upon their safe return to Earth in 2022, they are heroes.

The new scientific data about Mars stimulates the development of a wide variety of technologies necessary for a permanent human presence on Mars - the next goal for the consortium of space agencies. Between 2024 and 2026, Gaia is upgraded, and then refuelled in preparation for another mission. 12 astronauts arrive on Mars in early 2027. This mission delivers new habitat modules and life-support systems, new rovers, a bigger greenhouse, another ISRU plant, a fusion reactor, and a bulldozer. Of the 12, only 8 return. Four decide to stay, and thus begins permanent human presence on Mars.

In 2030, a third manned mission to Mars is launched, carrying 20 astronauts, scientists and engineers. In 2032, the 4 crew members who have now spent 5 years on Mars, fly back to Earth along with 10 others. 10 astronauts choose to remain on Mars for the next long stay.

In the meantime, the Lunar Embassy has successfully proved its ownership of land on Mars in the international courts, and therefore validated the ownership of Martian land by the many people who have purchased it from the Lunar Embassy since 1980. Now that Mars is receiving so much attention in the media (the Marsbase provides a popular reality-TV show), and there's a permanent human presence, the idea of emigrating to Mars steadily gains popularity. Sales of Martian land increases. Some companies become alert to the potential and begin to develop commercial strategies. Property development begins on Mars.

Visionaries who purchased land on Mars now look for means to develop it. NASA and other space agencies see an opportunity to recoup some of their costs by selling habitat modules, greenhouses, and other Marsbase components as off-the-shelf items to property developers. Over the next 10 years, many of the flights out to Mars are operated by commercial organisations, and by 2045, several companies are selling apartments on Mars. Food, water, air and energy production has become stable and reliable and there are a wide variety of jobs for scientists, engineers, pilots, tradespeople, and all manner of support personnel. There are a number of mines on Mars, materials such as metals and plastics are being created from Martian dirt, and a variety of high-tech factories are making use of these materials to produce anything from fibreglass panels to robot parts.

It is into this environment that our players are immersed. Mars is the most exciting place to be in the Solar System. There are not many people there yet, but the few small bases are literally hives of activity. The new immigrants are actively exploring the planet, enjoying the excitement of the new frontier, while simultaneously trying to stake their claim. It is possible to purchase land from either the Martian Land Management Office (operated by the Lunar Embassy) or from existing land-owners. It is also possible to purchase marssuits, rovers, habitat modules, greenhouses, ISRU plants, fusion reactors, robots and so on, from space agencies or private companies, however the cost of these is naturally high. A common approach is to join forces with other colonists in order to develop property.

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