Da Vinci began as a refuge for the terraforming team of Sax Russell in the years following his capture and leading up to the Second Martian Revolution, afterwards becoming an elite scientific co-op laboratory on the shore of Chryse Gulf.
Prelude to the Second Revolution
After Sax was rescued from Kasei Vallis and his subsequent rehabilitation, he reformed his terraforming group from Echus Overlook at Da Vinci crater, located southeast of Underhill on the outskirts of Valles Marineris. Sax and his team worked in secret, preparing for the trigger event on Earth that would mark that beginning of the Second Revolution. Much of this work was kept secret even from the remaining First Hundred.
Notable achievements by the Da Vinci team included the removal of surveillance and weapon satellites by missile strike at the start of the revolution, the disruption of an orbital insertion maneuver carrying Transnat security forces by launching space debris directly into its path, and supplying face-masks to the refugees from Burroughs that removed CO2 from the air.
After the Revolution
Later, the Da Vinci team removed the soletta and annular mirror from Mars orbit in exchange for Ann Clayborne brokering a cease fire with the Kakaze, despite the fact that it would slow the progress of warming Mars.
Once independence appeared guaranteed, Da Vinci stopped operating in stealth mode and began administering Martian space in conjunction with the Swiss. The scientists located there began to turn their efforts back to terraforming in an effort to offset the loss of the soletta. Also, on instructions from Sax, they began to synthesize Ann Clayborne's DNA so Sax could secretly administer the longevity treatment to her.
Da Vinci had a delegation that participated in the Pavonis Mons Congress, and elected its representatives to the global legislature on a random basis. The mathematician Bao Shuyo eventually moved to Da Vinci from Dorsa Brevia, where she became one of the rising stars in string theory and plasma physics.
Eventually, with the thawing of the great Northern Ocean, Da Vinci was situated on a peninsula surrounded by fjords and jutting into the Chryse Gulf. Sax Russell spent a great deal of time hiking there, and likened the scenery to that of the west coast of Ireland.