Of all the worlds that gracefully orbit Sol, none has the potential for chaos or success like the red planet. Known mostly for its rusty appearance, Mars is a world often both romanticized and criticized as humanities second home.
But unlike many of the other worlds that dance around the Sun, colonizing Mars may end up being a financial nightmare for the (future) solar economy, providing little promise of bearing any fruit, at least in the near future.
If Mars is ultimately determined to be utterly worthless, then it may make more sense to skip this crimson planet for Jupiter's Ganymede, or even Callisto. After all, why spend the resources creating a future welfare planet when Earth could use those resources elsewhere?
The Martian planet's greatest strength is the fact that water seems to be abundant underneath the surface. But even though water is common on Earth, Mars may become valuable real estate because of its location near the asteroid belt.
Lying between the orbits of the red desert planet and the Jovian king Jupiter, the asteroid belt comprises of many different types of asteroids. Some of these floating space rocks have value, while others may only find appeal from future space fugitives.
The asteroids that seem to posses the most value are M-type (or Metallic) asteroids which orbit within the middle region of the asteroid belt. Fortunately for Mars, the crimson world lies "slightly closer" to these metallic wonders than Jupiter, where a large number of these seem to cluster around 2.7 AU (or 403,914,600 km).
The red planet's prime location gives it an advantage at mining many of these asteroids first (or at least at a cheaper cost). By exchanging the processed metals for fuel, food, etc., the barren world would be able to support a thriving economy, or at the very minimum survive financially.
If settlers from other worlds happen to establish outposts within the rocky belt, Mars could easily trade buried ice water with future asteroid colonies for metals, or convince a few brave souls to mine the belt for Martian glory.
In the distant future, other icy worlds such as Ceres, Ganymede and Callisto may rival the Martian economy by competing for Earth's favor. But if Martian citizens play their cards right, they could not only secure their position as a major trading power, but perhaps as an industrial paradise as well.
Want more space geek news? Then subscribe below via email, RSS or twitter for free updates! Prefer another service? How about via RSS or follow Colony Worlds on Twitter!