In my story, people have been on Mars for around 15 years in the mid to late 2040s. The base lies in Arcadia Planitia, where the atmosphere is slightly thicker, offering greater radiation protection. The base is a good number of people at this point (I have not pinned down the realistic number at this point), with astronauts from the US, JAXA, and the ESA.
Considering that this has mostly been spearheaded by NASA and SpaceX, in partnership with many smaller companies doing things like 3D printing, what would the habitats look like?
In my research I've found a wide variety of concepts, from 3D printed habitats:
To pre built habitats landed on the surface:
To even early concepts for using Starship itself as the habitat for Lunar and Martian bases:
One of the big things that I've found confusing is whether or not Martian bases need a covering of soil to protect against radiation. Obviously there are other alternatives to stop the radiation, like making the whole outer layer of your base the water tanks - but I simply want to know which of all these designs is the most likely.
I feel somewhat sure that the answer will be - no one knows because we haven't tried to live on Mars yet - ie, I have reached the limit of research, where really its up to me to decide. I thought I would ask for feedback anyway.
Remember - this is the late 2040s, and people have been on Mars for a while now.