The path to a human colony will be prepared by robotic systems that could help locate resources, such as ground water or ice, and would help a colony grow and thrive.  These robotic  systems might lay the groundwork for a colony base, by producing various consumables including fuel, oxidizers, water, and construction materials. Establishing power, communications, shelter, heating, and manufacturing basics can begin with robotic systems, if only as a prelude to crewed operations.  Dutch firm Mars One says it will produce a reality show that will feature a group of people who colonize Mars. The show will put four humans on Earth’s neighboring planet every two years beginning in April 2023.  There will be 20 colonists on the red planet by 2033.  Colonists would stay on the planet for the rest of their lives.  This solves the problem of how to get the colonists back to Earth. 

The colonization of Mars by humans is the focus of serious study because surface conditions, such as the availability of frozen ground water, make it the most hospitable planet in the solar system other than Earth.  Early Mars colonies would specialize in developing local resources for Martian consumption, such as water and/or ice. Local resources would also be used in infrastructure construction.  Mars' reduced gravity together with its rotation rate makes it possible for the construction of a space elevator. If constructed, the elevator could transport minerals and other natural resources to and from the planet.  The main inter-Martian trade good during early colonization would be manure.  The Martian soil is going to be very poor for growing plants, so manure and other fertilizers will be valued highly in any Martian civilization until the planet changes enough chemically to support growing vegetation on its own.

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