Air & Space Smithsonian invited Sims creator Will Wright to imagine the first communities on Mars. Here's an excerpt from his vision of Marstown, population 8,000, in 2047:
Like most colonists, Sasha had made the decision to move to Mars for the sake of her descendants. Seeing only limited opportunities on Earth and having a strong sense of adventure and duty, she had been captivated by the ratification of the Mars Development Treaty of 2032. Dwindling natural resources and massive environmental disruption had encouraged politicians on Earth to look to Mars as a long-term lifeboat, another foothold for humanity in the face of an uncertain future.
The Mars Treaty essentially privatized about half of the Martian surface, rewarding those willing to relocate there with huge plots of land. While that land was nearly worthless today, the hope they all carried was that one day it would be a valuable legacy to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
Sasha was in the third wave of colonists; the first group of 500 had been transported to Mars eight years earlier. The colony now numbered about 8,000, the primary limits to the population being the cost of transportation from Earth—which was covered by the Mars Development Corporation (MDC)—and the extent of the hydroponic gardens within the tube complex. The MDC represented a consortium of investors from national governments and international funds (vying for long-term territorial and mineral rights) and individual billionaires (with more idealistic motives).
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.