Conference PaperPDF Available
The Republic City State of Tharsis: A Habitat of One Million
People on Mars
Albert Sun, Lucy Shi, Jessica Yuan
June 30, 2020
1 Prologue 3
1.1 The History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2 Foundational Concept . . . . . . . . . 4
2 A Subsurface Settlement 4
2.1 Site Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2.2 Urban Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.3 Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.4 Key Infrastructure . . . . . . . . . . . 6
3 An Industrialized Mars 7
3.1 Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.2 Resource Acquisition . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.3 Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
3.4 Energy.................. 9
3.5 Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3.6 Extraterrestrial Outpost . . . . . . . . 11
4 An Exo-politan Commercial Center 11
4.1 Economy of the City State . . . . . . . 11
4.2 Bilateral Currency System . . . . . . 12
4.3 Dynamics Between Two Currencies . . 13
4.4 Industry Profitability . . . . . . . . . . 13
4.5 Trade and Regulations . . . . . . . . . 15
4.6 Tax System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
5 A Vibrant Community 16
5.1 Government Structure . . . . . . . . . 16
5.2 Land Ownership . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5.3 Individuals on Mars . . . . . . . . . . 17
5.4 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
5.5 Martian Sport: Kulamu . . . . . . . . 18
5.6 Emergency Management . . . . . . . . 19
6 Future Outlook 19
7 ...And More 19
Acknowledgement 19
0Unless otherwise specified, all images are produced by the
authors, and may be subject to copyright.
0The cover images on page 1 and 2 are created by the
authors by courtesy of image layers owned by NASA/JPL.
0For more information and updates, please visit our web-
site Tharsians:
0All authors contributed equally to this work.
1 Prologue
1.1 The History
On the day May 30th, 2020, for the first time a private
company successfully accomplished a human space-
flight mission with a recoverable launch vehicle. Hu-
manity saw new hopes to its grand vision of becoming
a multiplanetary species. In 2035, a global treaty was
signed by hundreds of countries, and humanity aimed
high: to build a city state of one million on Mars.
The region of Tharsis Montes was selected to be
the destination of the pioneers and the cradle of the
first human settlement on Mars. The endeavor took
centurial efforts to come to fruition. The colony, later
deemed “The Republic City State of Tharsis,” has
gone through four fundamental development stages so
far: Corporatization, Sectionalization, Centralization
and Decentralization.
Corporatization was the establishment of a soci-
ety structured as a corporation in the beginning stage
of the development. Funded by both private and
public investments, the Tharsian Corporation was
established in 2038, directed by the Mars Commit-
tee. Within the next 7 years, the committee selected,
trained and transported 2,105 scientists, engineers,
technicians and city planners, and 42 autonomous
robotic devices to planet Mars. By 2070, these per-
sonnel completed the environmental modification of
lava tubes under Arsia Mons, built underground set-
tlements and the prototype of the Energy System,
and paved the way for businesses to enter Mars.
Sectionalization started when the basic struc-
ture of the City State had been established. The
City State was divided into autonomous districts with
local governments and a central government to bet-
ter cope with the individual needs of every region.
Prestigious universities around the world lined up to
open research centers on Mars. Real estate market
on Mars bloomed. Business opportunities were at
the height that was never expected. The Commit-
tee sold licenses for the entrances to Mars for per-
sonnel in private enterprises, offered loans and ac-
celerator programs for startup companies, and guar-
anteed free entrance licenses for talented individuals
and teams with great potential. The State govern-
ment and district governments became well-funded
through the sale of these licenses and tax collection.
Many companies and individuals maintained steady
growing profits renting their real estate properties to
small and medium businesses. With rapid commer-
cialization, by 2085, most of the infrastructures on
Mars had been developed and there were approxi-
mately 500,000 people living in the City State.
The Centralization process, which gave the
State Government the right to collect federal taxes,
was initiated to resolve the remaining difficulties in
constructing a self-sustainable Mars society. One
such difficulty was that crucial services like produc-
tions of food, water and oxygen are difficult to pri-
vatize at low market prices. Also, the high inter-
planetary toll fee from Mars to Earth made it ex-
tremely difficult for preliminary businesses that ex-
ported goods to Earth to survive, and forced many
companies to leave Mars. Policies deployed to ad-
dress those issues had been successful. By 2085, the
City State had become a fully functioning colony of
roughly 800,000 people. In the same year, city state
“The Republic City State of Tharsis” was officially
established, and all districts ratified the common con-
stitution of the City State. The central government
and district governments certified the state anthem
“Life on Mars”, inspired by the song under the same
title by David Bowie written in August, 1971.
The Decentralization is the most recent stage,
initiated in 2100 and remains to present. The main
objective of decentralization is to provide a free mar-
ket, while ensuring the survivability of new businesses
on Mars. This process is aided by industrial devel-
opments on Mars – especially the research on more
efficient ways to manufacture essential products and
the engineering of new propulsion methods to lower
the interplanetary transportation costs. Meanwhile,
Building infrastructures,
terraforming underground caves
Setting up State Government and
District Government
Preparation Corporatization Sectionalization Centralization Decentralization
Increase tax rates, regulate economy,
build public infrastructure
Reduce regulation, reduce tax
rates, increase district autonomy
2035 2045 2070 2080 2100 2120
Figure 1: Development Timeline.
Figure 2: The City State Flag.
the central government gradually lifted tariffs and
cut taxes. Eventually, by 2120, humans have finally
reached the milestone of 1,000,000 people on Mars –
the goal set by far-sighted pioneers a century ago.
Up to here, humanity has learned the potential
of joining hands. Now the ambitious Martians have
passed the initial stages of scarcity, and capital is
flowing towards research and technology that enable
Martian settlers to further terraform Mars. It has
been a vital stepping stone for humanity to set out
further into the unknown void of the universe.
1.2 Foundational Concept
Signed by most countries on Earth in 2035, Mars
Advancement and Residential Settlement Treaty
(M.A.R.S Treaty) declared that the Mars City State
would serve a peaceful purpose, aiming to expand the
horizon for humanity. It should not spread national-
ism, and it is forbidden for any country to claim land
on the Red Planet[1]. Land tenure on Mars would
follow the MSA standard (specified in 5.2). The rest
of the land on Mars was recognized as the “Common
Heritage of Mankind.1
People who choose to permanently reside on
Mars are required to relinquish their previous citizen-
ship, and thus they would only represent themselves.
They become Mars citizens and are subject to Mar-
tian laws. To ensure a sustainable development on
Mars, governments on Earth cannot interfere with
political, cultural, and social decisions made by the
Mars civilization. After signing the treaty, companies
from respective nations were granted the clearance to
gain profits from Mars: including but not limited to
the trades on Mars’ resources, usage of intellectual
property developed on Mars, and participation in re-
search projects. An era of progression thus began.
1Concept by Immanuel Kant in Toward Perpetual Peace.
Figure 3: Cave entrance candidates detected by
USGS. Image owned by USGS. City State (divided
into five autonomous districts) is located to the South
of Arsia Mons, the Southernmost mountain among
the four.
2 A Subsurface Settlement
2.1 Site Selection
Martian near-surface caves are ideal locations for
human settlement. These underground caves 1)
have sufficient lateral extent to shelter humans from
surface hazards, e.g.micrometeorite impacts, dust
storms, high fluxes of UV, alpha particles, and cos-
mic rays, 2) can maintain near-pristine surfaces and
3) can minimize temperature variations and create
relatively stable micro-climates[2].
Hence, the first million people city state is built
in the region of Arsia Mons (8.35°S 120.09°W), which
bears unique climate features that makes this place
the best choice. First of all, located in the warmest
temperature zone on Mars[3], it is the most energy-
efficient place to maintain an optimum temperature
inside the settlement. Secondly, the region consists
of seven separate cave systems around the extinct
volcano, along with hundreds of cave entrance can-
didates (Figure 2). Thirdly, glaciers are identified on
Arsia Mons at both high and low elevations, which
can be valuable resources. Fourthly, the three moun-
tain system on the Tharsis plain provides an acces-
sible expansion pathway for more city states in the
Figure 4: Layout of the 5 districts: Aurum, Lignum,
Aqua, Flamma, and Solum. (Image of Arsia Mons
from Views of the Solar System owned by Calvin J.
Hamilton) and the structural layout of district Aqua.
2.2 Urban Concept
The Republic City State of Tharsis is located to the
south of Arsia Mons, where there are denser caves
and are later developed into habitable areas. Shal-
low and flat caves are ideal for human settlement;
deeper and larger ones are usually enriched of geolog-
ical evidence, making them ideal locations for scien-
tific research[2]. Therefore residential areas are built
in underground caves while transportation systems
run above on the surface.
By 2120, the city state had developed five inter-
and intra- connected districts:Flamma (the Capital
district), Aurum,Lignum,Aqua, and Solum. These
regions are selected after careful assessment and con-
sideration, including the abundance of resources and
their proximity to interplanetary spaceports, to en-
sure the diversity of the economy.
Each district consists of two layers: Thar-Up,
which is the surface layer, and Thar-Down, the sub-
surface layer (See Figure 6). With a fan-like layout,
Thar-Up runs the state’s fastest transportation sys-
tems; a grand coliseum is located at the center, serv-
ing as a multipurpose entertainment center that hosts
sports events and concerts. Multiple unmanned fac-
tory zones are constructed above ground, housing a
number of 3D-printing, energy production, and re-
source extraction factories. Thar-Down hosts the ma-
jority of human activities, including administration,
agriculture, business, residential, and research.
2.3 Architecture
Thar-Down provides Martians with ample residential
spaces (See Figure 6). Buildings in Thar-Down are
generally dome-shaped to better handle the pressure
difference between the Martian ambient pressure and
room pressure. Domes vary in sizes, and many of
them are as large as a Stadium. They are constructed
by giant 3-D printers in-situ using regolith [4]. Mi-
croorganisms are used to detoxify regolith, aiming to
reduce highly toxic perchlorate[5]. In addition to re-
golith, layers of heat insulation and air tightening ma-
terials are cast in the dome wall to enhance strength,
air tightness, insulation, radiation protection, and of-
fer pleasing aesthetics.
Serving residential, recreational, and tourism
purposes, Domes are designed with compact hexago-
nal modules to facilitate an efficient management of
feed systems for oxygen, water, and energy. Lawns
with a circular running track surrounds the periph-
ery of each floor, providing residents with ample in-
teraction space, which effectively soothes the surface
chauvinism they may have. Each hexagon module
consists of a small central garden and surrounding
apartments. Corridors connect each module to the el-
evator lobby at the center of each floor. Residents can
use elevators to go to different floors, the metro sta-
tion in some of the sizable Domes, or go to Thar-Up.
Domes are connected to each other via underground
tunnels through which residents can easily travel be-
tween Domes (See Figure 6).
Feature: Skylight
Figure 5: Skylight System. Image by The Lowline.
Though the lighting system could be easily im-
plemented using LED lights (which are widely used
at the beginning of the 21st century), natural sun-
light is conducive to people’s psychological health as
well as architectural aesthetics.
A sunlight piping system conceived by James
Ramsey and Dan Barasch[6] uses a system of mir-
rors, installed on the Martian surface and pivoting
and rotating to follow the sun’s path across the sky, to
collect sunlight. Large parabolic dishes underground
concentrate sunlight which is then funneled between
a series of mirrors. Employing distributors – opti-
cal diffusers mounted to the ceiling made of anodized
aluminum panels – the light is then spreaded over
Martians’ homes.
This unique system is able to produce a full-
spectrum light efficiency of about 70 percent (losing
only small amounts of light that are absorbed instead
of reflected at each mirror touchpoint). For compar-
ison, the alternative – collecting energy from solar
panels and using that electricity to power LED lights
– would create efficiency closer to 7 percent.
2.4 Key Infrastructure
Transportation Tubes
In order to protect public transportation systems
from constant dust storms, all hyperloops and rail-
ways run in closed tubes, which are mostly 3D printed
with regolith. Different sections of the tubes are con-
tracted with different transportation companies, who
compete to provide the best commercial services for
residents and industries. Cargo tubes are shielded
with aluminum to prevent charged particles from
interfering with sensitive electronic devices. There
are also transparent tourism tubes specially designed
with radiation protection that offer tourists a won-
derful panorama of the landscape.
Tharsis Station
Stations are built at the intersections of radial and pe-
ripheral transportation lines. Each station is a local
center of transportation. A station has three layers.
The top two layers are for commercial and tourism
transportation, and the bottom layer is for private
car transportation, which allows people to travel to
less populous places or even the faraway Olympus
Mons while enjoying driving by oneself. The skylight
system is implemented around the station, collecting
sunlight and directing it underground.
The Tharsian Cooperation implemented a revo-
lutionary airlock system, consisting of automated re-
volving doors instead of two paralleled gates, is widely
implemented in the City State for its two major ad-
1) The revolving door perfectly accommodates a
two-way traffic. Unlike the traditional airlock design
of two paralleled gates, people can go in and out the
same time, making this design is significantly more
2) The revolving door follows a “pressurized -
depressurizing - depressurized - pressurizing” cycle.
Take one section of the revolving door for example.
When walking out of the station, people in spacesuits
enter one section of the door and it starts revolving.
The controller for this section begins depressurizing
the air inside, so that when this section completely
faces the outside world, the pressure difference is min-
imal, and people can exit safely and conveniently.
Figure 6: Side view of Thar-Up and Thar-Down. Sizes of Station and Dome vary in accordance with usable
underground area. This image depicts a medium-sized one.
3 An Industrialized Mars
3.1 Automation
In 2035, a cargo ship was sent to Mars, carrying a
fleet of 42 robots equipped with the most advanced
AI system (at that time). They deployed themselves
on the surface of the Red Planet, and first set up so-
lar panels near the factory zone and greenhouses in
the agriculture section. Then, for six months, they
embarked on a journey of excavating proper mate-
rials determined by previous Mars missions. They,
afterwards, divided into different groups to work on
building 3D printing factories and setting up subsur-
face living spaces with airlocks, nuclear plants, the
oxygen and transportation systems.
Meanwhile, note that in the same way that
no human is perfect, there is no error-free machine.
Therefore, the aforementioned robots were capable
of self-repairing. Also, due to the delay in commu-
nication between Earth and Mars, each robot con-
stantly ran a feedback loop to conduct diagnoses on
itself. They bore the extreme environmental condi-
tions on Mars, such as temperature, pressure, radia-
tion, and dust. Importantly, the peace was carefully
maintained between the first robots from Earth and
their “brothers and sisters” additively manufactured
on Mars.
However, with great intelligence and physical
power, robots might bring security concerns. Hence,
humans took extra precaution on their creations and
employed the high-level concept of the Three Laws of
Robotics suggested by Issac Asimov[7] to ensure that
A.I. is designed to assist humanity and contribute to
the social good.
Now in 2120, robots take an ubiquitous pres-
ence in various industries on Mars for different rea-
sons. In the field of resource acquisition, the toxicity
of substances on the Martian surface makes human
excavation, inspection, and transportation in mining
extremely dangerous. Therefore, robotic dogs were
designed to replace humans in these tasks. Growth-
monitoring robots work in the rotating hydroponics
greenhouses, and use computer vision to determine
the growing state of each crop in every six hours –
something that human eyes cannot differentiate – and
adjust the lighting and rotational speed according to
results of numerous calculations. In energy plants,
human inspection is no longer necessary thanks to
the deployment of robots. Meanwhile, the extensive
application of A.I. in education helps to guard against
systematic bias and prejudices.
Excavating Arm
X-Ray Vision
Explosive Devices
Ultrasonic System
Figure 7: Ultra-CyberTruck and Robotic Dog2.
3.2 Resource Acquisition
Metallic Material Extraction
87 miles away from the center of Arsia Mons, Olym-
pus Mons is located at the northwest of the colony’s
urban area. As the tallest Mountain in the entire so-
lar system, Olympus Mons is full of ore resources.
A set of trans-mountain highways constructed at
the Corporatization stage travel from Arsia Mons
to where profuse resources are estimated to be at
Olympus Mons. Tesla Ultra-Cybertrucks, the most
popular vehicle for resource extraction, is an autopi-
lot electric truck that feeds off its energy from the
KRUSTY nuclear stations located along the road. It
has four robotic arms for excavation and three auto-
matic intelligent “robot dogs” which carry drills and
explosive devices are on dock, totalling a carrying ca-
pacity of 20,000 pounds per Ultra-Cybertruck.
The mining process of one site is usually car-
ried out by an assembly of 12 Trucks. When the
Trucks are driven to a site where abundant targeted
resources might be found, every truck releases its
“robot dogs” to the nearby locations. Incorporated
with computer vision, X Ray sensing, and metal de-
tectors, the robots drive themselves to designated
sites, drill holes through the wall, deploy explosive
devices in the holes and determine the capacity of
ores in that site after the explosion. If the capacity
exceeds the designated standard, they will place bea-
cons, which will be received by their parent Trucks
and the Trucks will soon arrive and excavate the ores
with robotic arms.
Raw materials are directly transported to pro-
cessing facilities such as blast furnaces where raw ma-
terials go through the reduction and purification pro-
cess. Refined materials are delivered to heavy manu-
facturing production lines through hyperloops.
Resource extraction and processing produce
huge amount of tailings. The tailings on Earth have
been damaging the environment outrageously, and
tailings on Mars could have done so even more due
23D models from 3D Warehouse, Contributors: Jack
L.,Birkholz A.,Norbert S.,Bart Gillespie,///Eurasia —
to substances on Mars that humans are not familiar
with. To prevent tailings from hindering the future
goal of terraforming Martian surface, the Environ-
mental Agency on Mars has issued policies requiring
tailings to be treated properly. A common practice is
to let robotic devices decompose the tailings follow-
ing the standard set by the Agency and convert to
useful materials.
Water is lifeblood of humans on Mars. The acquisi-
tion of water (and subsequently oxygen) is conducted
in multiple ways. The most prominent method is to
collect ice caps and produce water with the Reverse
Water Gas Shift Reaction.
Ice caps are abundant in the Martian subsur-
face area, as well as the surface area of Arsia Mons
and polar regions[8]. Cargo-hyperloops on a larger
scale connect the City State to potential mining sites
on the glacier of Arsia Mons, transporting Ultra-
CyberTruck and CyberDogs. The CyberDogs for
ice mining are equipped with hot water drills, and
pumps the melted ice onto the CyberTruck storage.
To purify the melted water from excessive amounts
of perchlorate and other salts, the CyberTrucks are
equipped with desalination devices which release IX
resin to capture chloride ions from perchlorate[9].
Then the water goes through a standardized purifi-
cation process and be transported back to the City
The other way to obtain water is the Reverse
Water Gas Shift (RWGS). The process, conducted in
facilities inside the City State, is to capture the pro-
fuse amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,
and reduce it with hydrogen to obtain water. [10]
CO2+ H2CO + H2O
The reaction is endothermic, and the equilibrium
constant given by [11]
log Keq =2180.6
T0.0003855T+ 2.4198
for such a reaction is very low at low temperatures,
and therefore it is ideal to combine the facility with a
molten salt nuclear reactor. Instead of pushing tur-
bines, a portion of the heat from the hot molten salt,
which can get as high as 1400 degrees Celsius[12], is
used to heat up the reaction chamber for RWGS, and
a portion of the heat converts to electric energy to
run RWGS facilities. Carbon monoxide produced is
captured and become supplies for other industries,
such as metal processing.
Aeroponics stage
Hydroponics stage
Central light
Seedling spots
Nutrients solution
A Rotating
Hydroponics Module
Central control
tower & Lab area
Figure 8: Rotating hydroponics System.
Upper part: a side view of the cylinder module.
Plants are rotated vertically. Lower part: a fully as-
sembled greenhouse rendered by Omega Garden.
3.3 Agriculture
A Rotating Hydroponics Greenhouse System
The unstable climate, toxic soil and frequent dust
storms on Mars make it difficult to grow crops in
the same way as on Earth before the complete ter-
raforming. Instead of conventional space hydropon-
ics, the Rotating Hydroponic Greenhouse System [13]
is widely implemented to feed a million people. The
system consists of hundreds or thousands of modules
depending on greenhouse size. Each module is shaped
as a cylindrical ring, with seedling spots on the in-
ner surface. The module rotates vertically 360 de-
grees per hour around a central light source, which
is also powered by skylight. Constant rotation acti-
vates auxins[13], the growth hormones, thus stimu-
late larger yields. Such rotation switches plants be-
tween hydroponics mode and aeroponics mode, sav-
ing a considerable amount of water and fertilizer and
reducing the possibility of root diseases. Moreover,
a cylindrical design means the plants capture almost
all of the lumens emitted by the system’s light source.
Agriculture experts have introduced “popular-
ity” as an important metric of plant selection as pop-
ulation expands. The dishes served in Martian homes
and restaurants are vastly diversified with the in-
troduction of tomatoes, onions, cabbages, eggplants,
carrots, garlic, spinach, pumpkin, broccoli, etc.
Food Printing and Meat Lab
3D printing and meat culturing is extensively used in
the settlement. Foods coming out of the harvest sta-
tion of the greenhouse go straight into the processing
center. A portion of the output is made into food
cartridges for the 3D printing complex that produces
snacks such as chocolate and biscuits, which serve as
emotion-boosting refreshments.
Raising livestock on Mars is both technically
and economically difficult. Instead, meat is cultured
in meat labs that produce clean and healthy protein
sources. Cultured meat labs take cell specimens of
common livestock from Earth to generate edible meat
in labs[14]. The meat produced from the meat lab
tastes almost nothing different than real meat, and is
widely popular for its decent prices.
3D printed pseudo-meat is another option for
meat-lovers. 3D food printers can transform the tex-
ture of a plant-based food into the texture of almost
any meat. It is healthier, cheaper, more environmen-
tally friendly and tastes almost no different from real
meat. 3D printed meat, along with lab-grown meat
have become prevalent on the Mars.
3.4 Energy
Integrated Energy System on Mars(IES-M)
IES-M is the integrated energy system that supports
the life and production of one million people on Mars.
The main sources of energy on Mars are solar energy,
nuclear energy and wind energy.
Larg e Scale Nuclear
Power Plant
Solar Farm
Wind Far m
Mini -Reactor
Solar Balloon
Nucl ear
Elect ric Car
Chargi ng
Stati on
Solar Balloon
Based Electric
Car Charg ing
Stati on
Distri ct
Skyl ight Sys tem
Figure 9: Energy System IES-M.
Every district of the colony is powered by its
independent IES-M. Large nuclear power plants and
solar farms make up the energy supply of most in-
dustrial productions; wind farms, mini-reactors, as
well as solar balloons that are integrated into the
residential grid power most of the residential area;
Wind farms yield significant amount of energy during
strong winds and dust storm when solar system does
not function as well; transportation is powered by in-
dividual power stations supplied by mini-reactors and
solar balloons, powering vehicles along the road. The
electricity consumption in 2119 reached 49.2 TWh,
and 48.7 KWh per capita.
Solar Balloons
Roughly 40% of the total energy supply of the entire
colony comes from solar energy. The expansive area
of undeveloped land on Mars offered a tremendous
spatial advantage for constructing large solar power
plants. However, the periodic dust storm, which can
last for days and even months, would lead to short-
ages of sunlight and contamination of the solar cells,
dysfunctionalizing thousands of solar panels[15].
Therefore, the colony creatively adopted a
Balloon-Based Solar Power System. The analysis and
calculations demonstrated that the density for helium
balloons is well below the density of atmosphere at
the desired height.The system uses Solar Balloons–
helium balloons covered with solar panels–raised at
the height dust storms cannot reach, enabling unin-
terrupted sunlight reception during daytime.
A Solar Balloon consists of a section of solar
panel on the balloon, a control box that automati-
cally adjusts the air composition inside the balloon,
and cables that transmits electricity to the inverter
on the ground. The sphere is fixed with a rotational
Figure 10: Solar Balloons3.
3Modified with CAD models from 3D Warehouse, Balloon
owned by lauwtJ, Inverters owned by Mati.
axis through the center. The control box feeds infor-
mation about the direction of the Sun to its processor,
which turns the balloon to the direction of the Sun.
It also makes decisions whether to heat up or cool
down the balloon to adjust the density and the pres-
sure difference between interior and the atmosphere.
The solar panels convert solar energy to electricity,
and transmit DC to the DC to AC inverter on the
ground to power individual households or electric car
charging stations.
Nuclear Energy
40% of energy in IES-M is supplied by nuclear en-
ergy. Nuclear energy is provided by both large scale
reactors built on the outskirts of urban districts and a
web of mini-reactors incorporated into the residential
The mini-reactors are a more sophisticated ver-
sion of KRUSTY (Kilopower reactor using sterling
technology)[16], which is a molten salt reactor with
a stirling convertor to connect to the core, convert-
ing the heat to kinetic energy and then to storable
electricity. The radiation shielding prevents any po-
tential damage to individuals. These reactors are ca-
pable of generating power ranging from 1 to 1000W,
large enough to power an entire household. Every
compartment in a structure (residential domes, fac-
tories, 3D printing stations etc.) is equipped with one
such reactor, and all the reactors are located in the
radiation shielding room, which is connected to every
individual compartment. These reactors are popular
among real estate contractors to meet the MSA stan-
dard for energy provision (See 5.2).
3.5 Communication
Local Network on Mars
Constructing a local network system on Mars is more
challenging than on Earth. The severe climate condi-
tion on Mars and the frequent appearance of moun-
tains and valleys make it harder for telecommunica-
tion stations to perform optimally, plus the low cur-
vature radius of Mars reduces the field of view of
these stations[17]. While these communication meth-
ods function well in certain areas, it is difficult for
them to provide a global network.
Since the City State is located in the south of
Arsia Mons in the low latitude zone on Mars, a group
of satellites in Aerosynchronous Orbits with orbital
inclination 0 to 30 degrees is the most economical
way to construct a local network on Mars.
Satellites in Aerosynchronous Orbits are
roughly 17,000 kilometers from the ground[18],
Figure 11: Tharsis region covered by satellites.
forming a field of view of 23.6 degrees. The satellites,
looking in the ground tracks in the “Mars Centered,
Mars Fixed” coordinate, cover the whole Tharsis
region enclosed in round groundtracks.
Future Outlook: Starlink-Mars
Starlink, a project proposed by SpaceX, is essentially
a satellite constellation in low earth orbit, using laser
instead of traditional radio waves to achieve higher
internet speed and reduce delay of signals. Such sys-
tem is perfectly suitable for Mars in the future when
the majority of land on the Red Planet is colonized.
Currently, a number of engineers and technicians are
dedicated in designing the satellites suitable for Mar-
tian conditions to create a Starlink on Mars.
Internet on Mars
Building the Internet on Mars was a great challenge
for the first group of engineers. The physical dis-
tance between Earth and Mars makes it impossible
to synchronously access terrestrial internet servers on
Mars. Every click comes with a waiting time of 10-20
minutes depending on the relative positions of these
two planets. It is the most ideal to duplicate major
internet servers onto Mars.
Beginning in the early preparation stage of the
City State, for every internet server on Earth, a coun-
terpart would be present on Mars. Every update on
the internet on one planet reciprocally transmit to
the servers on the other.
Traditional radio waves would not satisfy such
a high volume of constant workloads due to their low
data transmitting rate. Laser is a better option. Op-
tical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS)[19]
has been able to achieve a multitude times of tra-
ditional speed of data transmission. When trans-
mitting from Mars to Earth, servers on Mars uplink
data to satellites on the Low Mars Orbit, which then
transmits the data to the International Space Sta-
tion, which downlinks the data to ground stations on
Earth, and vice versa.
Solar Conjunction and Relay Stations
Oftentimes signals have to travel farther to get to
the other planet, especially during the Solar Con-
junction when every two years Earth and Mars are
on radially opposite sides of the Sun and there is a
two-week long “blackout” time when most satellites
become incommunicado[20]. At the early stage of the
City State, it pauses most of the communication with
Earth, and uses this period to repair and upgrade ex-
isting communication devices. Later on, four groups
of communication satellites are launched onto the La-
grange Points L4 and L5 of Earth and Mars respec-
tively. They carry signal repeaters, amplifiers and are
equipped with information assurance system. These
satellites serve as relay stations for signal travelling
between Earth and Mars, maintaining the interplan-
etary communication continuously.
3.6 Extraterrestrial Outpost
Phobos, one of the two Martian moons, is a destina-
tion no tourist wants to miss. It has only 0.1% of the
surface gravitational pull of the Earth: a 150-pound
(68 kilogram) person would weigh only two ounces
(68 grams) on Phobos. In this natural microgravity
environment, the customized roller-coaster is usually
kids’ favorite in amusement parks. Better yet, there
are two gigantic space elevators currently under con-
struction, which will transport people from and back
to Mars while enjoying their dinner in the floating
The Phobos Lab (nicknamed “the Crazy Lab”)
experiments on mind-blowing technologies, and one
such undertaking is to build a small-scale model to
simulate a dyson sphere which wraps up a star. Ice
reservoir4on Phobos provides water to be made into
rocket propellants [4]. Spaceships dock on Phobos
Stations and refill their tanks – before starting off
journeys to the moons of Jupiter or nearby solar sys-
4Phobos is similar to the C-type asteroids composed of car-
bonaceous surface materials. It has significant porosity, which
led many scientists to think that it had a substantial reservoir
of ice at the beginning of the 21st century.
4 An Exo-politan Commercial
4.1 Economy of the City State
Capital District
Interplanetary Financial
Services, Logistics&Tourism
Center, Tourism
Center, Tourism
Interplanetary Financial
Services, Logistics&Tourism
Capital District
Figure 12: Districts with respective specification in
economic sectors.
The Primary Sectors
The Primary Sectors of the City State include Ore
Mining, Water and Oxygen Production, Agriculture,
and Manufacture. Ore Mining and other raw mate-
rial extractions, processing and heavy manufacturing
are mostly concentrated in Aurum, the district sur-
rounded by abundant ore resources and connected
by inter-mountain highways. Companies construct
raw material processing facilities like blast furnaces.
Much of the refined raw materials go into autonomous
factory assembly lines. Inter-district hyperloops con-
nect these facilities directly for distribution to every
district. Many households have adopted 3D printing
based customized light manufacturing in their own
living space. Processed materials such as PLA, steel,
and glass are directly distributed to individual 3D
printers for individual households.
The Secondary Sectors
The Secondary Sectors of the City State include ad-
vanced R&D, and cutting edge technology industries.
These mostly take place in Lignum and Aqua, which
are called “twin cities” for their interconnectivity and
tightly related economic activities. Lignum, utilizing
its proximity to the Aurum, has been a hub of cutting
edge technology industries like Advanced Aerospace
and Astronautical Industry, Advanced Agriculture
and Advanced Computer and Robotic Productions.
Right Beside Lignum, the “twin” Aqua is an inter-
planetary cosmopolitan city for higher education and
research. Frequent Academic exchange programs be-
tween Mars and Earth usually take place in Aqua.
The Tiertary Sectors
The Tertiary Sectors of the City State include inter-
planetary financial services, interplanetary trade lo-
gistics, tourism as well as entertainment. Every year,
thousands of people and millions of tons of prod-
ucts depart to and arrive from Earth at the Musk
Space Center near Solum. As a result, logistics com-
panies, financial institutions and tourist agencies lo-
cated in Solum have been big beneficiaries of inter-
planetary activities. The service industry has become
a major economic sector in Solum and made up a
towering percentage of Solum’s GDP. Tourism is an
huge economic contributor to every district. Most
visitors from Earth like visiting the Capitol Build-
ing, Research Centers and Universities on Mars. The
most frequently visited districts are the “Twin Cities”
Lignum and Aqua: Due to the presence of advanced
technology and cutting edge research, the “Twin-
Cities” has drawn enormous public attention. Ev-
ery Mars year, Therefore the entertainment industry,
such as Mollywood Martian Movie Industry (MMM),
and Microtonal Martian Music (MMMc) Industry
have been booming in the Twin-Cities.
Consumer Manufacture with Additive Tech-
The rise of additive manufacturing changes the way
people think about production on Mars. As 3D print-
ers are being produced by 3D printers at lower prices,
and convenient modular computer programs and plu-
gins become widely available, it is very popular for
individuals to print and produce their own every-
day commodities rather than purchasing from retail-
ers. Moreover, for relatively complex and volumi-
nous items, their productions are carried out in local
3D printing centers. Traditional household product
businesses have not become obsolete, rather they are
now reduced to design businesses that retail 3D CAD
designs to customers. Such change also creates en-
trepreneurial opportunities for individual developers
who may upload and sell their designs at online De-
signStore. On Mars where the geological conditions
make it even more expensive to construct light man-
ufacturing factories, additive technology plays a huge
role in the lives of residents.
4.2 Bilateral Currency System
The rise of decentralized cryptocurrency using the
blockchain system in the 21st Century has resulted
in unprecedented popularity of bitcoin on Earth. By
2050, in the United States, for every one dollar a
person earns, 40 cents on average had been invested
in cryptocurrency. However, due to the lack of cen-
trality of such a currency, it is very difficult for an
outside force such as the government to regulate the
market on the brink of financial crisis. The Republic
City State of Tharsis adopted a Bilateral Currency
System, consisting of both decentralized Blockchain
Based Cryptocurrency System(BBCS) and a central-
ized currency system under the regulation of The
Martian Reserve.
Galileo: A Blockchain-Based Cryptocurrency
Blockchain Based Cryptocurrency System(BBCS) is
a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network. The
system is created by the Tharsian Corporation, and
is later ratified as one of the official currencies in the
City State. Similar to Bitcoin, it does not have a
centralized bank, and is under no control of a central
government[21]. Users can process transactions in or-
der to be rewarded by the system (Galileo Mining).
The currency of BBCS is called Galileo (MSG). Par
the M.A.R.S. Treaty, the exchange rate of Galileo to
USD was 1:1 when the system was first established,
effective at the beginning of Sectionalization, and is
subject to fluctuations later. Galileo consists of a
pair of public key and private key, which allows the
coexistence of both transparency and privacy. Unlike
Bitcoin, Galileo does not half, which puts no limita-
tion on the number of Galileos in the market. Citi-
zen Economic Key (CEK) is required for registering
for Galileo wallets. Citizen Economic Key (CEK)
is assigned to everyone at birth/landing to conduct
economic transactions and prevent fraudulence. It
ensures that Galileo is safe and portable, and enables
purchases through fingerprints and/or face recogni-
Kepler: A Regulated Cryptocurrency
Kepler is similar to traditional currency. Par the
M.A.R.S. Treaty, the exchange rate of Kepler to USD
is 1:1 when the system is first established, effective
at the beginning of Sectionalization, and is subject
to fluctuation later. The exchange rate to other cur-
rencies is subject to free floating rate system. Kepler
is issued by and is under the regulation of the Mar-
tian Reserve, which is under the administration of the
State government.
The mission of the Martian Reserve is to main-
tain monetary market order and regulate economy.
The Reserve has several primary strategic goals with
interrelated and mutually reinforcing elements:
Utilize its ability of adjusting interest rates to
regulate the market.
Promoting a transparent, sustainable, and effec-
tive interplanetary trading system.
Foster the integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness
of Board programs and operations.
4.3 Dynamics Between Two Curren-
While many other cryptocurrencies are also available
on Mars, Galileo and Kepler maintain their status as
the dominant two currencies. The coexistence of a
centralized currency system and a blockchain based
decentralized currency system allows citizens to enjoy
the benefits of both. Galileo and Kepler are at con-
stant competitions as well as a dynamic equilibrium
with each other. When the Galileo market seems
too volatile, or Galileo banks seem unreliable, people
would switch to Kepler. When government regula-
tions seem to hurt the market, or the economic op-
portunities in the Galileo market arise, people would
switch to Galileo. The competition of two currencies
allow each system to perfect themselves, and there-
fore fostering a more stable monetary system.
Special Features of Galileo
Product Certificate and Smart Contracts
Due to the long distance between Earth and Mars,
Blockchain becomes especially vital in product trans-
portation and logistics systems. Every product,
whether shipped from Earth or Mars, bears a series
of digital time stamps that indicates the information
of the transactions, e.g. departure and arrival sta-
tus and locations. The automatic tracking system,
enhanced by the smart contract systems, which are
the mutual payment agreements made by purchaser
and retailer, makes Earth-Mars or intra-Mars trading
reliable and efficient.
Legal documentation and Digital Voting
The tamperproofing of BBSC protects the effective-
ness of intellectual properties and legal documenta-
tion. Public office elections also adopt BBSC. While
not everyone is required to have Galileos in their ac-
count, each resident may cast their votes via BBSC
through which their CEKs must be verified.
4.4 Industry Profitability
The Committee determined that the Mars’ economy
was autonomous in 2091, ensuring full independent
sustainability of Mars even in absence of the Earth.
In achieving such autonomy, Mars’ domestic economy
shares a similar variety of industries to Earth, with
a heavier emphasis on agriculture, manufacture, and
R&D. The interplanetary economy was built upon
the transportation of intellectual properties and re-
sources, research, and tourism.
Trade on manufactured goods
Over the 21st century, the additive manufacturing
technology has matured rapidly. While both Mars
and Earth are able to produce all essential goods if
needed, the cost for manufacturing certain products
overwhelms the cost for producing it on the other
party plus the transportation fee. Thus, interplane-
tary importation and exportation usually take place
for light-weight products that one party has relative
advantages to produce.
Trade on natural resources
The discovery of abundant natural resources on Mars
triggered a “gold rush” in the 2050s. Over half a cen-
tury, Mars experienced a population boom, various
environmental issues, protests, and legislation of the
Martian Natural Resources Law. By 2091, there are
85 interplanetary companies left that are involved in
the trade of natural resources, such as deuterium, on
Licensing of Intellectual Property
As Dr. Robert Zubrin predicted[22], Mars’ econ-
omy thrived thanks to the transportation of ideas:
the harshness in the new physical environment as
well as a prevalent technological culture prompt Mar-
tians to continually ask themselves: How to make it
better? Especially at the Corporatization and Sec-
tionalization stages, science and technology were ro-
manticized; on average every three Martians had a
patent. Breakthroughs in automation, energy pro-
duction, biotechnology, manufacture, quantum com-
puting etc. happened too often to make them news.
These inventions brought a huge amount of profits
to Mars even as they revolutionized the society and
advanced living standards on both Mars and Earth.
Export and Import of Artworks
An entirely new lifestyle on Mars is conducive to
generating a new understanding of ourselves, our
Figure 13: GDP by sector and Interplanetary Commerce.
world(s), and ultimately, the human condition. Mar-
tian artists have produced numerous mind-blowing
literature, music, and paintings, which sometimes go
so far as to redefine the perception of “beauty.”
These artworks have been exported to Earth in
the digital form, inspiring generations of young peo-
ple to be the next settlers. Likewise, the work of
artists on Earth is exported to Mars, generating an
artistic dialogue between planets.
Due to different physical properties in the ambient en-
vironment, Mars has attracted a large number of bi-
ologists, physicists, chemists, material scientists, and
geologists from Earth. Hence, the research institute
to which they belong pays a fee for them to be a vis-
iting scholar on Mars. The results of their research,
such as medicines, nano-structure products, and even
spices have generated a tremendous amount of rev-
enue on Earth. Main areas the research on Mars
has been especially successful in looking for solutions
to hunger issues (agriculture), better water process-
ing methods, sustainability and higher recycle effi-
ciency, increased energy efficiency, better build mate-
rial, more effective communication methods, etc.
The expression of “travel around the world” was
switched to “travel around the world[s]” when the
number of tourism programs exploded in the 2060s.
At that time, thanks to better rocket technologies,
the price for tourist tickets was reduced to 42,000
USD per person, a 90% decrease from the 2030s.
The Mars Committee also launched a scholarship pro-
gram on Earth, which offers free tourist tickets for
the scholarship’s recipients, to inspire the next gen-
eration. With the increasing number of native Mar-
tians, visiting Earth became popular at the end of the
2070s. Its price usually varies from 10,000 Galileo to
30,000 Galileo (equivalent to 24,000 USD and 72,000
USD in 2020) depending on different tourism compa-
nies. In total, there are 87,746 tourists visiting Mars
and 12,782 tourists visiting Earth in 2091.
Music, movies and sports have been unprecedentedly
popular after thousands of artists and athletes immi-
grated to Mars. Mollyhood Martian movies have be-
come as popular as Hollywood movies during 2000s.
Movies are usually released on Mars 8 months prior to
the releases on Earth. Thousands of Martian movie
fans from Earth would travel to planet Mars to see
the movies upon their release. Sports are huge tourist
attractions and revenue generators.
Unique Martian sports draw enormous profit
from interplanetary tourists. The State government
constructed The Tharsis Memorial Coliseum, a sports
center that has the full capability of hosting Martian
Olympics. The Center of the Coliseum is the court
for Kulamu, a new sport born out of low gravity en-
vironment (see 5.5) . While VR tickets are widely
available, the front row ticket price for a Kulamu
match reached as high as 20,000 Galileo (equivalent
to 48,000 USD in 2020).
4.5 Trade and Regulations
Interplanetary Trade
From the early stages of the colony – Corporatization
and Sectionalization – there was a huge trade deficit
when Mars had not established its essential indus-
tries. Meanwhile, the transportation fee of $500/kg
from Earth to Mars gave startup businesses on Mars
considerable hardship obtaining necessary raw ma-
terials from Earth. To compensate for that, in the
early stages, businesses can file for subsidies for the
transportation fee from the local government. The
amount of compensation gradually decreased as the
economy on Mars grew matured.
The transportation fee of $200/kg from Mars to
Earth still poses setbacks for the businesses export-
ing goods from Mars to Earth. To help enterprises
on Mars thrive, the central government continues to
provide subsidies to enterprises whose profits mostly
rely on exports to compensate for the high cost of
The central government is expected to repeal its
subsidies regarding importation when Mars has de-
veloped its capacity for the research and development
of interplanetary transportation industries. The high
transportation fee will stimulate the market to op-
timize the technology and find ways to reduce the
cost. As various interplanetary transportation meth-
ods improve, industries across Earth and Mars will
eventually be in a nearly perfect competition.
Price Ceilings and public owned productions
Necessities like water, oxygen, and protective gar-
ments are life-concerning for any individual. There-
fore, although there is no barrier of entry for private
industries to invest in these markets except that they
must qualify the regulation standards, there are price
ceilings for these necessities as the price surge of these
products can be life-threatening on Mars. Such price
ceilings would divert private businesses from partic-
ipating the productions of the goods, e.g. the ex-
cavation of ice caps and the processing of perchlo-
rate water. There the public funded state owned and
district owned production companies would step in.
As a result, 90% of the production of water, oxygen
and Martian suits remain publicly owned. There is
a small percentage of private companies in the mar-
kets, endeavoring to achieve productions of these ne-
cessities at lower costs and outcompete these public
owned companies. While the public owned entities
ensure the provision of these necessities to the ma-
jority of people, private companies seek to provide
residents’ with luxurious experience.
Figure 14: Expenditure of MDF in 2020. A signifi-
cant amount of the MDF goes to infrastructure con-
struction and necessity provision.
4.6 Tax System
The existence of tax revenue is dependent upon the
emergence of a central governmental entity and pri-
vate property. Since both of the conditions were met
after the Corporatization stage, a tax system was de-
veloped on Mars to ensure that its government was
operated based on the interest of Mars citizens, who
pay for the tax.
The major components of the Martian tax sys-
tem are similar to those on Earth – Enterprise In-
come Tax, Personal Income Tax, Land Value Tax,
Consumption Tax, etc. – though the tax rate is gen-
erally more lenient compared to that on Earth. To
encourage innovation and the application of innova-
tive solutions, profits directly made by research and
development centers are tax-free, and that any profits
individuals/companies gain from using an intellectual
property licensed in the recent ten years enjoy a tax
rate cut to half.
The federal tax collected on Mars flows into the
Mars Development Fund (MDF), which was set up
at the beginning of the Preparation stage, receiv-
ing individual and corporate investments, crowdfund,
and cash from ticket sales and bond and stock to fi-
nancially support the City State’s long term develop-
MDF provides residents with well-maintained
city infrastructure, sources of water and oxygen and
management of civil affairs, as well as loans and
starter programs to startup enterprises on Mars. In
the later years, MDF continues to treat tax collected
as investment received, enabling the Mars Commit-
tee to write proposals on how to spend MDF every
two years, and Martians vote.
The Supreme
Court of
in Chief
District Court
Local Executive:
District Commissions
Delegations of
the Supreme
The State
Figure 15: Government Branches.
5 A Vibrant Community
5.1 Government Structure
The Republic City State of Tharsis is a federalist re-
public city state, under which the primary political
entity on Mars is District. Each district is highly au-
tonomous under the constitution upheld by the State
Government. The State Government consists of the
The State Committee,the Supreme Court of Justice
and the Commander in Chief, as well as the Federal
Delegates in districts. The District Government con-
sists of District Committee, Commission, Court and
Citizen Legislature.
5.2 Land Ownership
The general principle: To encourage more set-
tlers onto Mars, individual entities or collectives can
obtain the ownership of the land they make habit-
able. The habitability is governed by the Mars Set-
tlement Administration Standard (MSA Standard).
The tenure to land is granted to an entity or col-
lective by assessing the portion of the land with the
MSA Standard.
Legal Protections of Properties
The protection of the land tenure is primary to
No existing sovereignty on Earth can claim land
for the uses of national interest.
No land shall be claimed by any entity without
being made habitable.
An entity or collective has the right to trade the
land with other entities or collectives. An entity
or collective can be delegated by another entity
or collective to make the portion of the land hab-
itable, and the tenure of the land belongs to the
entity or collective which pays for making the
portion of the land habitable.
The tenure of the land continues as long as the
portion of the land is habitable. When the holder
of the tenure is deceased, the tenure is granted
to the delegate the holder appoints to. If there
is no legal form of will that claims the succession
of the tenure, the portion of the land will be held
by the district government.
The central government is prohibited to impose
property tax. The District government collects
no tax when no economic activity is being con-
ducted on the portion of the land.
MSA Standard Overview
The structure(s) must pass the basic
stability tests.
The material must be in good condition,
and able to last for at least 50 years.
All compartments of the structure must
maintain oxygen concentration of 21%.
Redundant oxygen generators must be
provided and accessible all the time in
every compartment of the structure in
addition to the functioning one.
All compartments must be connected
to at least one reliable power station
for the proper functioning. The mini-
mum purchase of energy is the minimum
energy consumption of all properly
functioning devices in the structure.
and Emer-
All compartments of the structure must
be connected to the emergency rooms
where medicines, first-aid kits, emer-
gency oxygen supply must be sufficient.
Table 1: MSA Standard Overview.
The State Committee
Consists of members representing every district, elected every four year; Is in
charge of federal legislation; Creates federal agencies, but executions rely on
the District Delegates.
The Supreme Court of
Justice Arbiter of the law; The judges are selected by the State Committee.
Commander in Chief
Is in charge of the federal military with the consent of the State Committee;
Deals with diplomatic relations with political entities on Earth, as well as on
terrorism and civil unrest.
District Committee In charge of district legislature in accordance with federal legislature; Each
member is elected every two year
District Court The judges are selected by the District Committee.
District Commission Consists of one Commissioner, cabinet members and District Agencies; Exe-
cutes Federal and District Laws; The Commissioner is elected every four year.
Federal Delegates Agencies enacted by the State Committee on district level that executes orders
from the State Committee on a district level.
Delegations of
Supreme Court
Examines the consistency between district law and federal law; Arbitrates
conflicts between District Commission and Federal Delegates.
Citizen Legislature
An institution on district level of which any private citizen of that district can
become a member through qualification and selection; Drafts bills as a second
party beside the District Committee.
Bills must be approved by the District Committee to become the law, if
approved by the District Committee can also be referred to the State Com-
mittee, and become federal law once approved by the State Committee and
ratified by over half of all districts.
Table 2: Definitions of Government Offices.
5.3 Individuals on Mars
One can become a citizen of the City State through
birth, technical immigration or investment immigra-
tion. Technical and investment immigrants renounce
their nationalities on Earth and become full Martian
citizens once they arrive. Each individual is assigned
with a Citizen Economic Key, with which they can
be identified in economic and political activities.
Job Opportunities on Mars are diverse and
abundant. Nearly 50 percent of the citizens have ex-
pertise on STEM fields. At the same time, many
of them work as managers of their neighborhoods,
districts, or the entire City State. With the advance-
ment of automation and additive manufacturing, less
than 5 percent of the workforce produce all manu-
factured goods on Mars. Freed of heavy labor input
in the manufacturing industry, a significant number
of people choose to work on design and marketing.
Artists, musicians and movie producers are also come
to Mars in quest for new inspirations.
5.4 Education
Civilization is in a race between education and catas-
trophe. —H.G.Wells
There were two global problems in the education sys-
tem at the beginning of the 21st century. First, “the
rich become richer, and the poor become poorer.”
When education was becoming a business, the chance
that a kid from a poor family receiving superior edu-
cational resources was not promising enough to con-
front social stratification. Second, however, while re-
inforcing education’s role as a society’s level ground,
and thus placing all students on the same standard,
students lose their opportunity for personalized edu-
cational development.
To solve these issues, Artificial Intelligence (AI)
was introduced in the Education system on Mars. Ev-
eryone has a personal — and sometimes lifelong —
AI, who possesses the entire library of educational
resource that was heretofore produced. Every stu-
dent is assigned an access to the AI education system,
which designs education plan for every learner, and
adjusts according to the learner’s intellectual and per-
sonal development. The education and AI bots are
free for everyone to provide equal opportunities. This
way, from birth, every Martian receives the resource
they desire.
The initial Martian Education system was also estab-
lished by absorbing research findings in neuroscience
and psychology. The clear border among grade levels
and disciplines was determined to be unscientific, out-
dated, and thus abolished[23]. Instead, students learn
by exploring their curiosities and asking questions
what? why? how? — and diving into them. Their
personal AI acts as a mentor who guides him/her to
explore questions.
The physical school was replaced by the con-
cept of “community”: students who live in the same
community carry out collaborative projects. Each
student spends half a day doing projects and collab-
orating with others. In a project, they may want to
make something, improve something, shoot a film, or
study a social issue, etc. The number of people in a
group ranges from 2 to 100, and is determined by the
learner’s own will as well as AI’s observance. Each
project is usually conducted over a week, but it can
also be longer through group members’ discussion.
Sometimes like-minded people gather up and form a
group, and sometimes they come from distinct back-
grounds. They are also always encouraged to visit
experts and scholars if they like.
Education Plan
The curriculum for students younger than 12 is com-
posed of question-learning, general education (liter-
acy, numeracy, and history), projects, touring around
Mars, and sports. For students older than 12, they
have question-learning, projects, apprenticeship —
choose a favorite industry and “intern” for at least six
months (if they change their minds, they can choose
again afterwards) — and general education. In addi-
tion, there are also educators on Mars who actively
research and improve on the current system. In terms
of innovation, it is also crucial to seek out faults in de-
faults. Therefore, the Martian kids are constantly re-
minded that everybody could be wrong to encourage
them to actively challenge the existing framework.
Team A Team B
Hoop A
Battlefield A
Hoop B
Battlefield B
Figure 16: Kulamu Court.
5.5 Martian Sport: Kulamu
Kulamu, or Bodyball, is a new sport born out of tra-
ditional basketball in the low gravity environment. It
is played between two opposing teams, each of 8-11
people, in a circular court. Three people in one team
are designated as “balls.” The main objective is for
the “balls” of each team to jump into the opponent
hoop and defend the opponent “balls” from jumping
into their own hoop. Such a sport would be nowhere
near possible in Earth’s gravitational field, but the
natural low gravity of Mars offers the ability for av-
erage people to jump 1.5 meters high and thereby
making such a game viable.
A Kulamu court usually has the radius of 100
feet, surrounded by walls of 20 feet. The hoops are
20 inches in radius, and are 8.5 feet above the floor.
They are 4 inches thick, made of stainless steel to
bear the weight of a person. The floor and wall of
the circular court are made of elastic materials, mak-
ing them perfect trampolines. Players are required
to wear bubble suits, which contain their bodies into
airborne, elastic protective suits that look like bub-
ble balls. In such a highly elastic and low gravity en-
vironment, an average player can jump as high as 8
feet[24][25]. Players who act as a “ball” usually break
through the defense of opponents, make a jump under
the assistance of their teammates, grab the hoop and
then extend their bodies into the hoop to score one
point for the team. Other players assist the “balls”
to break through opponent defenses and defend op-
ponents from scoring.
Maintain proper
redundancy for all systems
Modularize all systems to
optimize monitor
Organize certified first
responder groups
Train special agents
Maintain preparedness of
Emergency Shelters
Organize District Mutual
Aid System
Figure 17: Responsibility of the Emergency Manage-
ment Board. The Board is responsible for Technical
Development and Field Operations, which branch out
to many individual subsystems.
5.6 Emergency Management
The Mars Emergency Management Board is respon-
sible for the overarching emergency programming,
which encompasses technical development and field
For technical development, the optimization of
infrastructure is extremely important. To guaran-
tee robust and seamless daily operations in the harsh
Martian environment, redundancy [26] and modular-
ity are two key features.
For redundancy, all critical systems such as oxy-
gen, water, food have independent power feeds from
both solar balloons and nuclear reactors so that no in-
terruption of electricity occurs if one power feed fails.
Each district also has an Emergency Shelter which is
able to supply oxygen, water, food, and power for all
district citizens for one month.
Examples of modularity includes the trans-
portation tube system, hydroponics system, and
hexagonal residential systems. When emergencies oc-
cur, locations can be pinpoint down to specific mod-
ules, reducing the time for diagnosis and enabling a
faster replacement of the malfunctioning module.
Field operations programming includes 1) certi-
fied first responder groups, such as emergency medi-
cal technicians (EMTs), who conduct small-scale op-
erations as soon as an emergency takes place, 2) spe-
cial agents who deal with problems that require ad-
vanced technical knowledge, and 3) mutual aid of sup-
plies between districts when problems escalate.
The Management Board is responsible for the
recruitment, training and organization of all three
6 Future Outlook
While the life in this meticulously engineered sub-
surface settlement on the Red Planet is truly ethe-
real, Martians are destined to break through the soil,
sprout to the surface and eventually transform this
planet to the one we originated from.
The difficulties in achieving these aspirations,
nevertheless, are still enormous. Martians need to
carry out a multi-centurial project to thicken the at-
mosphere on Mars by releasing greenhouse gases from
ice caps and underground. During this process, Mar-
tians will gradually move up to the surface in set-
tlements protected from extreme temperatures, dust
storms and solar charged particles, and transform the
toxic Martian soil so plants can grow.
Aside from these known difficulties, Martians
must be both technologically and mentally ready for
the unpredictability of the future. Should there be
unknown exoplanetary virus on Mars that humans
are vulnerable to, they must be ready to take con-
tingent measures against it. At the same time, upon
the journey of searching for life, humans must ensure
that Mars is protected from human contamination.
No one would want to see that one day we discover
life on the Red Planet only to realize they have been
casualties of our carelessness.
However, challenges have only been driving hu-
manity forward since the dawn of civilizations. We
have every reason to believe that the dream of be-
coming a multiplanetary species will come true with
our wisdom and indefatigable spirit of exploration,
equipped with new technologies in years to come.
7 ...And More
Designing a city state on Mars of one million is a chal-
lenging yet exciting endeavor. A 20-page proposal
can only address the tip of the iceberg. Therefore we
decide to further our work and post updates on our
website Tharsians:
Special thanks to Prof. David Barnhart at University
of Southern California Space Engineering Research
Center (SERC) and Prof. Michael Orosz at Univer-
sity of Southern California Information Science Insti-
tute (ISI) for providing professional insights.
Many thanks to our reviewers (in alphabetical
order): Chenyi Zhao, Eileen Chen, Mike Ma, Tracy
Yu, Victoria Yang, X Sun, Xuefei Gao, Yixuan Chen,
Zijian Hu for wonderful discussions and inspirations.
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