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As you gather ideas for designing a remote village, many things must be considered. Engineers often call all of these things "systems". Your own individual interests may rest with only one or two of these, but someone on your team should be given the job of system designer to overlook the total team effort to ensure that it makes sense as the different parts are combined. Clearly, your team must understand the planet Mars as a place of a certain size, atmosphere, landscape, soil types, etc. But missions to Mars are returning new discoveries on a regular basis, and so you should try to stay abreast of these.

Setting up a brand new community on Mars certainly requires obvious things such as livable habitats, food and water, and medical facilities for just plain basic survival. These types of basic needs were addressed in the Biosphere-2 project. Be sure that you protect your community against the radiation levels reaching the Martian surface. What issues exist when living and working in low gravity? Does the community count on regular supplies from Earth, or do they produce what they need using raw materials available to the village? How do they get the energy they need to run equipment? What about psychological problems in a small community on another world? The community probably needs some type of governance to run smoothly and resolve problems which are bound to arise. You might wonder how remote outposts on Earth have fared over time. What has worked for them and what has not?

The habitats and other structures will be designed by architects working hand-in-hand with various engineers. But we don't want drab designs that the villagers must look at month after endless month. We want an inspirational look. So our architects must think up some really unique designs that will give the village such a great look that people from Earth will be envious. Perhaps the village should be located with great views. Transportation to and from the village, as well as within the village, must be considered. Most of the time, however, people will remain within the village and will need the absolute best of communications and access to the solar system Internet.

Lest you have become overwhelmed by now about the many different systems, you may rekindle your spirit by reading any of several wonderful science fiction stories, or by treating yourself to some fine space movies, some even about journeys to other worlds. Also, robots will be great helpers to humans in the year 2030, and there will be a lot of new technology within the sciences by then that will lead to remarkable innovations for this small community. Check out a few useful non-fiction books to learn more. But usage of all of these technical capabilities, even to their fullest, will not guarantee the most enjoyable and enduring village unless the arts are infused and worked in as the technical folks are doing their jobs.

Your challenge is to picture the future and give us your best ideas. In the process, you will learn much and perhaps even decide what careers you would like to pursue in your own lives. Creating a small community on another world is an incredible opportunity to avoid the problems of the past and do things right at the outset of a brand new start. Discover what you enjoy doing and then do it to the best of your abilities. Your own lives will be better if you follow this simple principle.

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