Home of humanity’s oldest self-sustaining colony, Mars was first visited in 2033, though this would not be repeated until 2055, in a privately funded mission by the United Air and Space Corporation which would later become the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC).
The first colony dome on mars was built in 2059, long before the Great Crash. This dome was a huge living experiment where plants, animals and humans were introduced in several stages, trying to create a sustainable ecology. Of course there were some hiccups in this process, but overall it was a huge success and several crops, plants and animals could be made to live in a relatively stable ecological balance within the dome. This single bio-dome gradually grew into the dome-complex called ‘Barsoom City’. Barsoom City would rapidly develop to become the largest extraterrestrial settlement in the solar system, and the only civilian city at the time.
The high cost of immigration to Mars meant that only the wealthy could afford to move off-planet, but they were largely unprepared, and unwilling, to meet the rigors of a frontier lifestyle. In the ealry 2100’s things looked bleak for Barsoom City and other unfinished outposts, the Carmack & Romero settlements. They were far under the required population threshold for successful farming and were unable to sustain themselves.
During the Big Crash, everything changed for Mars. The old Earth Governments finally realized Earth was overpopulated and provided monetary incentives for people to move off-planet. Combined with improvements and the construction of the first space elevator, colonists from earth left in their hundreds, then thousands. Travel from Tsiolkovsky station around Earth to Mars was a 120 day trip, but many undertook it gladly. After the Exodus from Luna, Mars reached 100 million inhabitants and kept on growing.
The capital city, Barsoom, now boasts a population of 75 million. Carmack “village” -as it is still called- is the main supplier of food on mars, employing over 45 million people in hydroponics and bio-dome farming. In total, Mars has a population of 455 million spread over several domes and underground geocity complexes.
Mars is an interesting location for the extraction of several minerals, the industry which boosted the UAC into a billion credits corporation, the first off-world corporation to reach this mark. 78% of all inhabitants of Mars are employed in one form or another by the Union Aerospace Corporation.
Government on Mars is done by large supercomputer clusters. Each settlement elects a ‘Specialist Interpreter’ for several different subject areas, which is basically a technocrat who specializes in interpreting the data provided by the supercomputer. This interpreter is charged with making a human choice between the alternatives suggested by each settlement’s control system. The choice this interpreter makes is then implemented and evaluated by the computers that run life support, oversee production and manage the economic intricacies of each city. This elegant system of intertwined technology and humanity is obscured by a big bureaucratic shell around the whole Martian government.
Martians are very diverse; there are multiple styles of fashion, some conventional and some underground. Mainstream fashion changes with the season and several domes and geo-cities have their own style, with a distinct look. Business people and functionaries usually wear suits, reflecting their status. Additionally, there are different subcultures on Mars, with a rich choice of underground fashion. Underground fashion styles can look pretty extreme, with bold colors, weird shapes and unusual materials, and many body-modifications. There are also slums on Mars, people there often look dirty and wear old clothes. You will not see those on a space ship, since space travel costs a lot of money.