New Mars

New Mars is the second planet (of seven) in the Xi Scorpii D system, 92.4 light years from Earth. Xi Scorpii is actually an unusual quintuple star cluster, with three bright stars (A, B and C) orbiting each other at an average 5-30AU distance, and with no planets between them, and with the yellow dwarf star Xi Scorpii D (about 0.8 solar masses) about 6,000AU away (0.1 light years) from this sub-cluster, with its own far away dim red dwarf companion (Xi Scorpii E) another 330 AU away. While these stars are too distant to have any significant light, fast particle or gravitaional effect on the Xi Scorpii D system, this combination does make for potential navigational hazards in hyperspace, and approaches to New Mars are well signposted by hyperspace beacons for oncoming traffic. However, this also explains why the system was originally settled - in secret - by the Old Mars and Sirian Helixes from 2909 as a base for a shipyard away from the prying eyes of the Solar Republic Navy. The Xi Scorpii ABC cluster is clearly visible from New Mars and are the brightest objects in the night sky, as the 'Triangle' constellation. Xi Scorpii D is a K0 star, slightly smaller and cooler than Sol, but New Mars orbits at 0.83 AU distance, giving it a very similar climate and developmental history to Earth, albeit with a shorter solar year (281 days).

As the major arms and shipbuilding facility of the Helix, New Mars became the main base for the Martian rebellion in 2940. After the Great War of Liberation, with Old Mars ceded to Earth by the Treaty of Io and Sirius lost to the new Sirian Socialist Republic, New Mars became the seat of the new Martian Association of Free Colonies. In the 270 years since then, migration from Old Mars and Sirius and natural population growth has brought the population to 978 million, around 10% of the population of the MAFC as a whole, and the most populous world in Martian space. The major settlement sits in a large impact crater in the Southern hemisphere, Crater City, and was the site of the original colony. Today Crater City has a population of 8.4 million and its suburbs spill over the Rim of the crater into the high plains beyond.

Above, Crater City, New Mars, seen from the Rim on a misty day. Lookout Peak (4,569m) stands in the distance to the right.

Below, Plaza of the Heroes, Crater City. In the foreground is the Tomb of the Unknown Marine, with the MSN Admiralty Building behind it to the right. The Senate House and the black obelisk of the Heroes' Monument can be seen in the distance on the left, at the other end of the Plaza, with the Marsec Tower behind them.