The planet Mars is a relatively small terrestrial world in the Terran System, orbited by two natural satellites, the moons Phobos and Deimos. It is the fourth planet of the system, orbiting Sol, and was the first planet in the system to be terraformed in order to support carbon-based terrestrial life. Mars is home to over 1 billion Terran people, all of whom ultimately originate from the neighbouring planet Earth, either as descendents of the first Martian colonists or later immigrants to Mars. Mars is a cultural hub of the Terran System, distinct from Earth in many ways, while familiar in others. Like Earth, it is also a haven of science, education, and commerce; but there is comparably little in the way of heavy industry on Mars today, with the exception of the mining, automotive, and avionic industries, as most of Mars's heavy industries have gradually migrated to the moons of Jupiter.
Like Earth, Mars has a varied climate. The planetís axial tilt causes seasonal changes, which lead to noticeable variations in temperature and weather in the more temperate regions. However, the average global temperature on Mars is colder than on Earth and Mars does not truly have a tropical zone. Most land on Mars is located in the southern hemisphere, as part of the Martian Supercontinent, while the northern hemisphere is dominated by the Martian Ocean. The climate of the supercontinent is fairly dry and arid far inland, dominated by deserts and steppes, while coastal regions around the edges of the continent are much damper, allowing for fertile land, characterised by rainforests and plantations. It is in these less harsh coastal regions that most of Mars's population resides, with the most densely populated regions on the Olympian Peninsula, one of the few regions of the continental mainland to extend north of the equator.
There are no indigenous life forms still living on Mars, although evidence has confirmed that indigenous life once existed on the planet several million years ago, before Mars became uninhabitable. All life on Mars was, therefore, introduced during the terraforming process. While four centuries of genetic drift has led to some speciation of introduced plants and insect species, 99.9 percent of all species on Mars are still the same as their ancestors on Earth. Mars also has a substantially more limited biosphere than Earth, with less than 20 million species having been introduced.
Mars was originally a barren, cold, inhospitable planet, unable to support life. However, after the first manned missions to Mars by the most advanced national space agencies in the early 21st century, serious interest was taken in making the planet habitable, not only to more easily exploit its resources, but to expand the range of habitable territory for Terran civilization. In what was arguably the greatest joint effort between nations during peacetime (prior to the unification of Earth), the European Space Commission, the Meridian Space Agency, the Federated States Space Force, and the Eastern Coalition Space Command banded together to make the terraforming of Mars a reality, beginning in the late 21st century.
The process was complex and gradual, taking a full century to reach fruition, by which time international relations on Earth had soured and the original partners in the project were on one side or the other in the Great War, which began in 2168. Nevertheless, in spite of the war, the final stages of the terraforming process proceeded, largely through the efforts of Martian colonists, who went on to declare independence from their colonial overlords on Earth, uniting to form the Confederate States of Mars in the year 2197. Mars remained independent after the war was over.
Mars is one of the five planets known to astronomers since antiquity, being easily visible to the naked eye, and it is named in honour of the Roman god of war. The planet is also known as "Terra IV" or "Sol IV", but it is most commonly referred to simply as Mars, and its inhabitants are known as Martians. Martians are understood to be a subset of the Terran people, since all life on Mars at this time ultimately traces its origins to Earth, but there are some Martians who object to being labelled as "Terrans".
Originally colonised by the major powers on Earth during the first half of the 22nd century, Mars was divided into colonial zones under the jurisdiction of those nations. However, when war broke out on Earth in 2168, war ultimately broke out between the colonies on Mars as well. Nevertheless, there was wide discontent among the Martian colonists, many of whom had never so much as set foot on Earth by this point, being second or even third generation Martians; they had more in common with their fellow colonists, whom they were expected to fight, than they had with the colonial superpowers on Earth that demanded their fealty. Subsequently, the Martian colonies began to demand independence from Earth. By brokering a truce with the Democratic Alliance and the Eastern Coalition in order to drive the AdŻnic Federation off Mars, the Martian colonists were able to secure their independence.
While war continued on Earth for another 18 years, the newly independent Martian colonies united, forming the Confederate States of Mars in 2197. The Confederacy endured for 314 standard years, quickly securing dominance of the space front, while Earth rebuilt in the wake of the war. Confederate territory expanded to encompass Jupiter and all of its moons, and a number of asteroids, while Mars also laid claim to the entire asteroid belt. It was not until the 25th century, when the United Nations of Earth began to take an interest in the resources available in space, that Martian dominance over the system was challenged. Interplanetary relations became strained, but treaties were made to keep the peace. However, when Earth developed warp drive and threatened to overtake Martian progress, the fragile peace finally broke and war between the two planets erupted, ultimately resulting in the defeat of the Confederate States of Mars.
Following the Terran System Peace Treaty of 2510, which lays the foundation for the new Terran Union, the Confederate States of Mars, the United Nations of Earth, and the Jupiter Alliance have been merged and their respective member states have been placed together under the authority of the new system-wide government.
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