- exploring, developing, & settling the red planet -


Isn't it far too premature to be thinking about off-Earth countries? Not really.

SpaceX is rapidly developing its Starship which, if successful, would be large enough to transport 100 passengers to Mars per ship.

Countries drawing tax dollars from millions of citizens have far deeper pockets than even the richest individuals (e.g. Jeff Bezos). AS such, one could imagine a rather large International Mars Exploration Phase (IMEP) with perhaps hundreds of international astronauts exploring the surface of Mars. The countries would likely wish for many of their astronauts to remain on Mars in order to represent their citizens in a growing, international settlement. The high flight rate during the IMEP and the infrastructure set up to support the growing base would provide the ideal precursor to initial private settlement of wealthy, highly-motivated individuals helping to establish humanity's first permanent settlement off Earth.

If America was to establish the first permanent base, and countries were to use the commercial transportation to go to and grow such as base then it could become international in nature but with English as a common language. As older private settlers come, they may not be able to speak English and so one could imagine a Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Portuguese, etc sections developing. With time, some groups might like to try their hand at starting their own settlements which could be based upon language but could also be based upon religion (e.g. Islam) or politics (e.g. Libertarianism).

The Outer Space Treaty (OST) is binding upon countries who have signed it and not binding upon those countries who haven't signed it. If there was a settlement on the Mars that politically separated themselves from the country from which they started and declared themselves to be a politically country then they wouldn't be bound by the restrictions of the OST. One would expect that they would claim their own borders which might conflict with the interests of other nations. Border disputes have very frequently been the cause of war between nations. How could this be prevented?

After America defeated the British in their War of Independence, the US received from the British territories around the Great Lakes region. Congress was then faced with the question of how these territories could eventually become states and be admitted into the Union. Their approach was to draw borders for future states and then allow the residents of those areas to vote their own state constitution and leaders upon reaching a certain population. They could then apply for statehood as a free-standing state. Perhaps a similar approach could work on Mars.

One could fairly arbitrarily draw borders on the Mars and promote their recognition if even unofficially. As settlers of a certain language, religion, or political persuasion were to start settling Mars, they would be inclined to settle together so as to strengthen their claim to eventually becoming a politically independent nation in the future. To increase the probability of their being recognized by other nations, they may wish to settle within the pre-defined boundaries and declare their independence when their population reached the pre-defined level. In this way, settlement would be encouraged as would the emergence of new independent nations which could experiment with new forms of government.

One might even imagine where Martian roads might be built to connect the major points of interests and capitol cities.

By pre-defining the borders of future off-Earth countries, conflict can be prevented and settlement can be encouraged.

Next: Paraterraforming Mars