My scenario

It is 2150, and there are two major human settlements on Mars and a dozen smaller branching-colonies. The colonies, Genesis and Metropolis, founded by Space X and Mars One respectively, both have a population of two million people. Genesis is a direct democracy, while Metropolis is an indirect democracy.

Both have around six settlements that have branched out from the original two for various reasons, and ideologically and politically they are part of the original two. Several other, newer corporations, seeing the opportunity in Mars, have started planning preliminary missions to the Red Planet. One has decided to start a new colony outside of the legal territory of the others. The rest only intend to transport people from an overpopulated Earth to the new colonies for a low (10,000 USD in modern money) fee.

There have been no serious efforts to terraform Mars as of yet, though the executives of Genesis have discussed building "terraforming stations". The general climate between the two Martian colonies is "friendly" and they have yet to have a major dispute. Culturally they are melting pots, with settlers of Chinese, Russian, and American descent. They are both secular states, with a minority of people following any single faith. Most believe in a "god" of some sort, but don't associate with a specific religion.

They both have limited numbers of firearms on hand. Importation of weapons has always been minimal, due to the dangers of projectile weaponry. Only enough weaponry to maintain order had been brought to Mars. No high explosives, only about 100 or so automatic rifles, and about 500 handguns for each. Otherwise, they have about 1500 Tasers, and 2000 nightsticks. In addition, they have some 500 rovers each, and some 1500 automated security droids, which are on average twice as strong as an adult male, twice as fast, and possess built-in stun guns and pepper spray.

There is no unobtainium on Mars, just the regular natural resources that you would expect.

What I want

I want a war. Ideologically, they are similar. Culturally, they are similar. They are both secular states. There is only minimal weaponry on-world. They are on good terms with each other.

I seem to have written myself into a hole: I cannot think of a reason for them to fight each other. My first thought was resources, except there is literally an entire planet of resources for them to mine and extract. There is water ice, natural gas (frozen in the poles), and minerals aplenty; and they both have plenty of room to expand. I need a rapid degradation of relations between the two to the point that they are ready and willing to take up arms in the first Martian World War. (Technically, it would be a World War, right?)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ There is a difference between having resources available and having resources that can be exploited easily or at a profit. If one society has already staked mining claims to all of the easily accessible deposits of a specific resource, the other society might be able to get enough of that resource using extreme or costly measures, but they will probably resent that the other society is either sitting on resources they are not using or selling the resource back to them for a hefty markup. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ Note: generally democracies with good economies will not fight each other unless one or both of them believes that they are facing an existential threat. The Risks vs. Benefits for individuals just won't allow it. In fact, AFAIK, there is no case in history of this ever happening. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 18:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Remember that weapons are rather simple chemistry and machines. Anyone with a high school education and access to chemicals and machine tools can make their own guns and bombs. Even the really good stuff with the right textbooks. $\endgroup$
    – Zan Lynx
    Jan 1 '17 at 19:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'll caveat the weapons business by pointing out that they have access to all kinds of energy and engines of destruction when you consider satellites in Mars orbit can become "Ortillery" directed to de orbit and drop on the life support enclosures of the other group. Since they are able to go into space, building ballistic missiles and rocket artillery isn't a big stretch either, and with the technology to build that, building conventional weapons of war isn't far out of reach. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Jan 2 '17 at 17:50

15 Answers 15


I think the simplest way to do it is for the war to begin not on Mars itself, but on Earth.

Both SpaceX and Mars One, despite having established their colonies on Mars, are at the end of the day Earth entities, and are subject to Earth political machinations.

So say, there's an election on Earth (right?), and both companies are supporting/donating to/bankrolling different candidates. Now as people are fond to do these days, in order to undermine their opponents, one or more candidates start spreading rumors, fake news stories, hoaxes, and lies about their opponents and what the companies supporting them do, including what they get up to on Mars.

Soon, headlines saying stuff like, "SpaceX Martian Colony Traffics Underage Girls for Space Orgies", "Mars One Colony a Cult of Human Sacrifice" start making their way around the usual suspect sites and social media platforms. These headlines don't even have to make sense, let alone have any evidence associated with them. (Like Pizzagate. Come on). After a while, the situation is toxic enough for the parent corporations on Earth to issue orders to their respective colonies to 'increase their security posture.'

Despite statement after statement released by the corporations and their colonies refuting these vile rumors, as we know, some idiots on the internet are bound to believe the hoaxes. And as we see in any sizable population of humans anywhere, a significant chunk of them are composed of these idiots.

So the idiots in one or the other colony get together and demand that their government investigate and/or request clarification and send fact finding missions to find out what "Those bastards over there are doing."

The government can either agree (because there are enough people demanding it) or disagree (because they themselves are not idiots), but you see how a clash can start.

So let's say, the government disagrees and the idiots get together and send their own fact finding mission to the other colony (like what that guy did at the pizza parlor). Unlike the pizza parlor, however, the colony can and will defend itself against Martian idiots seeking to investigate what is clearly a vicious, and ridiculous, rumor. Say, someone got hurt, and relations turn sour between the two.

Then, idiots from the attacked colony decided they needed some payback for the attack, and went to the investigating colony to wreck stuff. Some of them got hurt too. Things escalate like this for a while until finally the security forces from both sides got involved and start actively attacking each other.

Voila, you have your war.

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ I up voted this just because you incorporated the general, collective stupidity of crowds while staying on topic ("a mob's a monster; many heads but no brains") :-). And while the colonies are technically self-governing, they will realize that A.) SpaceX is their #1 friend on Earth and B.) It is their reputation being ruined, so they will be offended. And now I'm starting to wonder how to idiot/teenage-proof a Martian colony... $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 9:00
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Lets say the headlines target only the Mars One colony. The immigration business for both colonies will be hurt, thus provoking the SpaceX colony to want to investigate. The Mars One colony initially refuses stressing relations but after a while buckles under (political/media) pressure and accepts a single investigator from SpaceX to assist it's own internal team. A hothead murders the SpaceX investigator forcing the things to escalate from there. $\endgroup$
    – qwazix
    Jan 1 '17 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ @jpmc26 It doesn't even have to be/appear completely unsubstantiated. Given sufficient people in the colonies, there's bound to be a case of someone convincing their girlfriend to come with them, only to turn abusive on her later. It doesn't take much to twist this into an "imported sex slave" story. $\endgroup$ Jan 2 '17 at 10:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jpmc26 The pizzagate pizza parlor guy I linked in my answer is one. Imagine if there are people there armed as well. Something like that could easily escalate. $\endgroup$
    – WarPorcus
    Jan 2 '17 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ @WarPorcus That's what I'm asking for, though: something that escalated beyond a small number of isolated individuals into a full conflict between recognized political bodies. Pizzagate does not fit that. I ask because that seems like a huge stretch to me. $\endgroup$
    – jpmc26
    Jan 2 '17 at 10:41

A piece of advice from a philosophy professor of mine: it is easier for a Hindu and a Christian to live side by side in peace than two members of the same religion who differ about a single tenet.

What that prof taught me was that repeatedly in history, we see strongly different cultures encounter each other and see the other as exotic, novel, quaint, and fascinating. There are exceptions, and the effect decreases with exposure over time. But take two very similar cultures, where each THINKS it knows the other, and that one point of difference really grates. "How can they be so stupid as to not see..." And "These people are working from the same axioms as us. They are experiencing the same world as us. They are educated. But they get this wrong. They must be idiots!" As soon as that intellectual superiority is solidified, your cultures have a problem. Why? Because now there will always be the temptation to make decisions on behalf of the other group, either "for their own good" or "to protect us from their idiocy."

Think about your local school board. How vitriolic can those meetings rapidly become? At larger scale, think Sunni/Shiite. Protestant/Catholic. Republican/Democrat. Each of these come from mostly the same ideological cloth. From outside observers, you often hear comments like, "Why are you even fighting?"

Direct vs indirect democracy? That could easily become a vector. "Their system of representation is so open to bribery. Can we really trust them to evaluate this climate data fairly?" "The populace doesn't spend the time to be educated on every topic, how can we expect them to do the right thing on this terraforming proposal?" And so it begins.

Unless we someday have a truly objective way of measuring "this person really will make better decisions for all of us than this other person" and ALL of us acknowledge that measurement (including the idiots among us), I think humans will always face the danger of an us/them divide over tiny ideological differences.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Right. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilliput_and_Blefuscu for a good example. Also youtube.com/watch?v=iS-0Az7dgRY , "hypersensitivity to details of differentiation" in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism_of_small_differences $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Jan 1 '17 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ One scenario could be taht Space X decides to build a nuclear reactor for power, or mine some unstable minerals, which the scientists of Mars One decide will put all colonies at risk. While Space X accepts the risk for the expected benefits, Mars One is against it, because although it is on their territory a major incident could prove catastrophic to all of them. - Even if just overpopulation of Mars One colonies with fugitives from Sprace X after an incident. $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 2 '17 at 13:32

There are a few reasons why they might go to war. Some likely candidates include:

1) Lack of some sort of valuable material necessary for survival: be it food, water, medicine, even air. Thus could come about suddenly and for no apparent reason, but it's serious enough for war to break out.

2) The discovery of something valuable but NOT vital for survival: gold (or some other rare, exotic material that others want, such as the ubiquitium as in the Avatar movie that the other wants or some highly addictive drug)

3) Political machinations outside the 2 parties: for instance a third party spreading false rumors about the other to BOTH groups for gain. For instance a person wanting to control all the weapons by having them fight and thereby both parties declare said weapons illegal.

4) Inequality of class: just because they're similar culturally, doesn't necessarily mean they're similar, doesn't necessarily mean they're materially similar. The rich could actively seek to oppress the poor and the poor are revolting.



Now, it may sound like a Fox News reel already, but hear me out: let's say that one colony offers civil rights to a group that the other doesn't ("Singularity-minded bots are just like people, they deserve to be treated like people!" "Hell no, we need them to mine!"). Soon, really pissy, slightly-off-their-rockers folks will get angry. Remember, you can make a weapon out of ANYTHING, and while Mars' atmosphere limits combustion, there are several ways to kill people without it (i.e. smashing a biodome with an excessively large rock that of course you can lift and throw relatively easily because you're on Mars). So, these angry people begin attacking colonials. A strange trend appears, however:

Only one colony is under attack, and only by citizens of the other colony.

Now, the colony under attack has three options:

  • Try desperately to focus on damage control after each attack (reactive measure),
  • Do nothing (passive measure),
  • Or begin limiting what the other faction's colonials can do, leading to a rift between the two, until one side or the other is pressured into declaring war. (proactive measures)

At this point, I recommend the colony that declares war is the one that's under attack. It makes both sides seem sympathetic, and ultimately makes more sense, especially depending on how the offending faction deals with these renegades.

And now, we've got a story.


There's an important consideration that you completely glossed over, which HAVE to be considered.

1) Both Space X and Mars One are for-profit corporations. You need to figure out how they profit from Mars colonies. Without profit, there will be NO colonies.

2) You said both colonies are democracies, but this is literally impossible. Both colonies are private corporate property, which means there can be no meaningful democracy. Colonies would be owned and governed by corporation (or corporations, depending on how shares of parent corporations are split and how much shareholders want to meddle). Colonies would be corporatocracies, and Mars would be anarcho-capitalist wet dream. Any democracy would be purely superficial facade, without deep meaning or real impact, intended to hide truth, throw off observers and fool those colonists who didn't know that from the start.

For historical examples of corporatocracy/anarcho-capitalism allowed free reign, see "Congo Free State" (~10 million dead) and East India Company's rule of India (7-10 million dead), there were more such atrocities in history, but those examples show pretty well what happens when for-profit organisations start running countries.

Incidentally, those two elements are also your cause for war. Apart from abusing colonists for profit, corporations will be fighting each other. On Earth corporations fight in courts, on markets and with industrial espionage. There is very little actual fighting because that would infringe on state's monopoly for violence - in first world, governments have monopoly on ability to solve both internal and external problems/disputes with force, and they don't like anyone usurping that ability. If corporations started hiring mercenaries to attack each other on territory of first-world countries, the state would react quickly, with more force than corporation can muster and after pacification, criminal investigations would follow - overall not very profitable scenario (in most countries corporations can get away with hiring mercenaries security to beat up or threaten citizens, as long as they keep very low profile and small scale).

On Mars however, there will be no state to keep both for-profit entities in line, and thus, war is only one cost/benefit analysis and CEO approval away from happening. Perhaps one side decides there's profit in eliminating opposition, perhaps one side is unhappy with resolution of Terrestrial legal conflict and decides to solve it more directly and more permanently. Whatever the case, war will be sparked by parent companies, and will be motivated by profit.

  • $\begingroup$ 1.) They don't govern the colonies - they allow the colonies self-governance in exchange for selling tickets there. The local colonial government, now that it has an established economy of its own, gives each colonist a "frontier" paycheck and assigns the new colonist a job based on their skills. 2.) Actually, no. Of course SpaceX would maintain a strong influence in its colony, and would likely claim explicit rights to handle immigration there, but there is little else to gain from ruling it directly. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ I would go with this answer. Extraterrestrial colonies are bound to be the place for research of top notch technologies and the corporations will want to keep their hands on this stuff. Then it is just a matter or escalating some sort of copyright/patent issue. Or you can have just the corporations fighting, dragging the colonies with them ("no space mercs" is a state that can be remedied in seconds: "I supply hardware, 3x your previous salary and legal protection while you seize the stolen corporate assets in the other colony." and a space merc is born). $\endgroup$
    – Eleshar
    Jan 1 '17 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ Furthermore the corporations probably built the colonies in the first place, so they probably just allow the democracy. But in case this ceases to be profitable, I suspect that some guy in an expensive suit will have override codes for literally everything from defense systems to life support. $\endgroup$
    – Eleshar
    Jan 1 '17 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ @DJMethaneMan Your replies mean that Martian colony doesn't exist. Mars is not habitable in it's current state and that won't change without ludicrous-scale engineering, any colony would have to consist of closed habitats. Cost of establishing of those is massive. There is no way to profit from such investment by selling tickets, unless price is in billions, but I doubt you could get that many billionaires to move, there are no luxurious yachts on Mars, so to speak. Construction of mars colony fails RoI unless you draw constant, sizeable profit while pushing maintenance cost on inhabitants. $\endgroup$
    – M i ech
    Jan 1 '17 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @DJMethaneMan Corporations exist for one purpose and one purpose only - to make profit. Tickets are scraps compared to cost of building the thing. You don't see construction companies giving away houses (buildings paid for by government for purpose of social policies or charity for tax evasion purposes doesn't count) which cost orders of magnitude less than martian habitats, why do you expect it to be different here? That's wishful thinking. They built the place, they want every bit of income they can squeeze, and unless they can do so, they won't build it in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – M i ech
    Jan 1 '17 at 18:26

Ideology, to terraform or not.

These colonies are approaching the point where they can turn Mars into Earth version 2.

Native life is discovered somewhere. Terraforming will kill this life.

Now two sides form, that roughly corresponds to the two companies:

  1. Of course we must preserve this life and leave Mars in a state where they can survive!
  2. We can't let a few alien algae stop Progress! Survival of the Fittest!

I am fairly certain people will be willing to kill over this.

Each company controls the news in their colonies, and will thereby form the majority opinion, but there will be a minority on each side that is holding the "wrong" opinion. Mother against daughter, sister against sister! Dramatic goodness...


Typically history shows there are three causes of war. Resources, power and ideology.

The answer is obvious. You built it into your scenario. Disputes between the two colonies over how martian resources will be used and controlled by the new corporations. The dark triad for war all in one sentence.

This will depend on how the colonies align themselves with their new corporations. Again this is about resources, power and ideology. What they share, who they share it, and what territory do they control in common?

Also, any societies are culturally and ideologically as close as these two are, will have micro-differences of opinion and interpretation based on shared values. Remember civil wars are bloodiest of wars. Those differences will be almost invisible to any outsider, but will be up there in lights for members of those societies.

Sadly, it only takes one or two in the colonies to find political advantage in stirring up trouble against the other colony. Particularly if there is resentment against any of the new corporations. This can historical. Corporation Z, back on Earth, was a ruthless exploiter of people and resources and a major backer of oppressive political regimes. While Corporation Y did all the right things and is everything a good corporation should be. The problem is Corporation Z is offering the colonies a better deal than Corporation Y. Now factions in the colonies will start taking sides. Soon it will be one colony against the other. Time to modify the security-droids for impending conflict.


In one of the colonies, let there be a small group of ambitious people that want to control the entire planet. Give them months to prepare. They need to prepare social media accounts to influence public opinion. They will need to gain influence on those who control the weapons.

Once ready, attack their own colony and kill a lot of people. Via social media, blame the other colony. It was a sneak attack. They are attacking to take control of the planet. Demand war. Accuse their colony's leaders as being weak for not going to war. Attack yourself again. Plant evidence that the other side is attacking. Demand war. More and more people will want war. Finally, you just need to get them the weapons.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. I thought there might be a (more)practical reason for war. But then again, I guess Mars is not exempt from power freaks either, and a Martian Hitler would be interesting to say the least. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Not good enough. Use violent to try to control a very poor and sparse land (unterraformed Mars), while the nature is dangerous, is a stupid move. Any colony leader that stupid is more likely to kill themselve together with thier colony before any war. $\endgroup$
    – DTN
    Jan 1 '17 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @dtn You're not using violence to "control" anything. You want to foment chaos. Tear down the existing order. Have your junta prepared to, from that chaos, arise and bring order. Execute any possible challengers to your authority in the name of bringing stability. Or, just accuse / execute them for war crimes. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ My image of a colony in unterraformed Mars is similar to a Antarctica base. After the chao, there is no future for anyone in that place. $\endgroup$
    – DTN
    Jan 1 '17 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @DTN Doubtful. A colony of > 10k people would be designed to minimize the risk of a short period of chaos killing everybody. A colony of 2 million people would definitely have implemented some sort of fail safe to prevent such a catastrophe. Any habitat would likely be heavily compartmentalized for just this reason. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 9:07

You need an evil manipulator entity in the background:

  • It can be a single person, or a group of persons.
  • It can be in one of the colonies or on the Earth.

Without them, a competition can still happen, even a quite hard one, but no war. Think on the Clinton-Trump fight, it was quite vehement, but nobody really wanted a civil war. If you want a war, you need a manipulator entity.

Furthermore, you need also a casus belli. Actually, multiple casus bellies.

First, a war histeria has to be started on both sides, by a massive negative campaign in the medias. If it is done, then the casus belli should happen, typically by a false flag action.

"Casus belli" is a latinic term, it essentially means the "reason of the war". Some very visible, traumatic event, for example like the VTC attack.

"False flag action" means: not the real "enemy" did it, but somebody from the background to produce the casus belli.

The real reason of the evil manipulators in the background should be to get to the top power on at least one of the colonies.

Actually, there is nothing in this story what you couldn't see in the last around 15 years of the U.S. domestic politics.

But similar events happened and happen quite common in the world history, only this is the most known.

It doesn't matter, how few weapons are currently on the Mars. There are always enough weapons in every society, or always enough possibility to enforce the power. A complex war can be fought even between police forces having only shields, rods and tasers. Of course, for a society capable to move millions of people between planets, it shouldn't be a big problem to produce a lot of assault rifles and tanks fast. It is already enough for a WW2-like war.

What is much more important: this evil manipulator entity should have a strong influence on the media of at least one of the colonies.

Another nice tips:

  • it is possible, that the Earth wants to strengthen its power on the Martian colonies and avoid their independence.
  • another possibility: some Martian nationalist politician does this from the background. His goal could be to unify the Martian colonies by the war, with an exactly opposite goal: the unified Mars with a military dictatorship can have much better chances to avoid the colonial intents from the Earth.

The main idea is no direct communication between two colonies. Without it, there is no way to know if the "other side" are culturally or ideologically similar with "this side". We don't even know if they are hostile or not.

A possible scenario:

  1. Something (natural disater) cut the direct communication channel between two colonies. The other channels are either too small and slow (direct contact in unterraformed Mars) or untrustworthy (colony A->Earth->colony B).
  2. The middle man in communication (Earth) is inflitrated by someone who benefit from the destruction of either colonies. Maybe the old colonies are built in the best land of Mars, and the new corporation want to take it without a serious PR hit.
  3. Misunderstaning creates more misunderstanding, until the explosion point: war.
  • $\begingroup$ I do have a small problem with the idea that communications could break down between 2 colonies with >= 2 million people. Wouldn't they have started their own "internet" (Marsnet?) With likely dozens if not hundreds of satellites in the 1 1/4 centuries since their initial founding? And Radio? I can see how "misunderstanding" could create a war, but that would need some more elaboration to be helpful. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ I do not know enough about communication technology to point out the type of disaster. Maybe solar storm take out the satelines, and dust storm destroy long range radio. The main idea is: only allow direct communication in very low bandwidth, high latency, and costly, while indirect channel is control by malicious party. $\endgroup$
    – DTN
    Jan 1 '17 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ There are other ways to have a breakdown of communication than just have the communication devices not function. The most plausible is that the two societies just don't listen to each other. If the two are similar, one similarity they might share is that they both have governments or talking heads claiming the others are liars. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '17 at 11:36

Let them be politically closely associated with fractions back on Earth (that btw would explain difference in governance models). Now, develop reasons why tensions between respective fractions on Earth are getting to boiling point (you should have NO problem with that) and add a little bit of populism and some part of colonists being staunch loyalists, and you get your reasons.


You have incoming population as new colonists. You have 3 colonies, not 2: the two old and the one new. 3 is a magic number and between population pressure and 3 parties there is your war.

Mars is not well endowed with many resources we take for granted. Water and oxygen being two that come to mind. Hardware with which to generate power. Pressurized living space is another. Perhaps there are caves that are pressurizable but those are not in limitless supply. Incoming colonists need resources immediately. There are financial incentives for those bringing new colonists to max out the available resources to max out colonists transported. That is population pressure.

The new colony will be situated closer to one of the old colonies than the other. The burden of setting up the new colony will weigh heavier on the close colony. The close colony protests that the far should do its share. This is an opportunity for backstory: perhaps far colony is older, smaller, has a history of surviving past disasters and so has accumulated reserves, etc.
When far colony refuses to contribute entirety of what is requested, close colony and new colony team up to seize what it sees as their share, in the name of fairness. Possibly this is a one time action but far colony now is scared.

Far colony comes to believe that the new colonists coming to new colony are not random but are comprised of more fighting-age individuals. They fear the intention is conquest. Far colony then begins to suspect that new colonists coming to its own site are part of unfolding scheme by near and new colonies. Fresh colonists coming to far colony are placed in a quarantine camp. When life support in quarantine camp fails catastrophically and fresh colonists die, alliance of new colony and close colony go to war against greedy far colony, in the interest of protecting humanity on mars.

This would initially be the seizure of more assets from far colony. Far colony workers at those sites would be taken prisoner. In this action, single casualty among far colony workers taken becomes a martyr and rallying cry.

Fighting begins when far colony moves to rescue the prisoners. I think they should convert the industrial apparatus they have on hand to military applications -- like Heinlien's Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

My read is that you like both colonies. This way there are no idiots, no good and bad.


Plague of some kind, preferably fatal.

Colony 1 Gets it. The health population seeks refuge in Colony 2, but they said "No way". Sealing all hallways/tunnels, and etc.

Soon the health people will become so afraid they will form angry mobs, and possible force their way in. Colony 1 will be forced to defend themselves, and killing of people from Colony 2 will begin. Colony 2 will take up arms, pipes,sticks,ropes, and knives still kill people!


You already have your cause for war: The settlers being dumped by the free-riding transport companies that don't bother to maintain colonies for the people they transport. Each of the Martian proto-states will try to skim the "good" colonists, and force the other proto-state(s) to accept the "bad" colonists.

This is a major theme of Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series, especially in the era of Falkenberg's Legion.

Furthermore, the 10,000 2015-USD price to send a colonist is cheaper than keeping a person in a first-world prison for a year. A lot of Earth countries would offer convicted felons a choice: Serve their sentence, or take a "free" one-way ticket to Mars. A lot of felons would choose Mars.

Or suppose you are the president of a third-world country. You somehow became president, despite not wanting to be responsible for shedding blood. Your eastern neighbors have been defeated in a war, and now you have two million unhappy people living in camps. Do you think you might be able to scrounge up a couple billion dollars to send the most dangerous refugees to Mars, where they can be someone else's problem?

  • $\begingroup$ Most of these colonists would stay on Earth if the price was raised to 100,000 2015-USD. $\endgroup$
    – Jasper
    Jan 6 '17 at 0:18

What about the individual rights? What if the individuals in the colonies want to possess guns for selfdefense? Are those colonies rule by laws that respect the rights of its citizens or society impose its will over the individual?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding. I hope you'll accept some feedback about your answer and maybe edit it to improve it. Answering a question with more questions does spur brainstorming, but it doesn't really provide an answer. If you change it to statements, then it becomes an answer, especially when you start explaining HOW these things would trigger the conflict. As it stands, this is a weak answer and might be deleted by subsequent reviewers. ... I hope this advice helps you participate more fully in WB community. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Jan 2 '17 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to point out, that unlike on Earth, there is no practical reason to give individual colonists weapons on Mars, especially with such relatively small populations. People cannot be permitted to go around toting guns hear airlocks and in pressurized domes. The local security should be able to handle most issues in a timely fashion. A single lunatic would be able to kill countless others and put the future of the colony at risk. That said, the punishment for most crimes is death... These colonies can't afford to support degenerates. $\endgroup$ Jan 2 '17 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ Also, individuals possess some rights, but by and large the rules are different in space. The individual MUST sacrifice some rights (such as the right to bear guns) or the colony just will not work. $\endgroup$ Jan 2 '17 at 19:14

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