Mars trilogy timeline

The Mars trilogy timeline lists the events of the future history of the Mars trilogy. It is mostly focused on Martian history, but does include references to important events taking place elsewhere.

The timeline is not partial to the main characters of the trilogy but instead attempts to describe events relevant to the history of the human and the Martian civilization. For history as seen it was felt from the main characters, see the characters' individual pages and the books' summaries.

Each volume takes up the following share of the timeline:

  • Red Mars: 2026-2061
  • Green Mars: 2081-2127
  • Blue Mars: 2127-ca.2225

2020: People on Mars

First human expedition on Mars. In the summer 2020, a four-member NASA crew lands on Chryse Planitia. John Boone, American, is the First Man on Mars. Martian atmospheric pressure counts 10 mbar.

2020-2026: Preparations

Mars: Beginning in 2020, three unmanned expeditions send equipment to Mars to prepare the arrival of the first colony. Automated air miners gather air.

Terra: On Earth orbit, the Ares is assembled using discarded space shuttle tanks. The First Hundred, seventy of them representing the two superpowers of the time (USA and USSR) are selected and trained in Antarctica.

2026-2027: The Ares expedition

On Dec-21-2026, departure of the First Hundred for a nine-month journey to Mars. The Hundred break in small groups. The love triangle between Maya Toitovna (leader of the Russian contingent of the First Hundred), Frank Chalmers (leader of the American contingent of the First Hundred) and John Boone is created. Arkady Bogdanov, Russian engineer, suggests not to follow Terran orders and make a clean slate for a new martian society. Sax Russell, American physicist, argues with Ann Clayborne, American geologist, over the rightfulness of the terraforming of Mars.

2027-2030: The Underhill years

Mars: Most of First Hundred land on Mars on local calendar M-1, Ls=7. Another group, led by Arkady, build a space station on the moon Phobos and secretly install a rocketry system able to bring Phobos down. The first Martians rely heavily on the equipment sent previously and build the first farms, a nuclear factory (which also releases heat, thus beginning terraforming), permanent underground habitats, a clinic, chemists' quarters, water pumps, ice drill. Nadia Cherneshevsky, Russian engineer, is the leading force behind the construction effort of the first Martian settlement, named Underhill.

For a period, the need for mutual help forces the first colonists to be a tightly knit group. After a time, tensions surface again and the initial democratic way to run things is put to the test. As differences between the First Hundred are broadened, so is Underhill: a spaceport is built and new satellites give constant communications.

The first explorations across the virgin Martian surface in Hebes Chasma, Ganges Chasma and the North Pole are led by Ann. The farm group, gathered around Hiroko Ai, Japanese bioengineer, is separate from the rest. Desmond Hawkins, a Trinidadian stowaway on the Ares protected by Hiroko, secretly and stealthily explores Mars on his own; he will become known as The Coyote. The Stickney crater on Phobos is domed.

The First Hundred argue over terraforming; many of them see the beauty and uniqueness of the Martian environment as something to be conserved for its own sake, and many assume terraforming will take place inevitably. The biotechnology team, led by Vlad Taneev, Russian bioengineer, creates microorganisms suitable for free release on Mars. With the help of Sax they create many small windmills which can release heat but also algae on Mars, which would transgress rules against the release of biological agents. Shortly thereafter, the United Nations Office for Martian Affairs (UNOMA) approves terraforming efforts, including the spreading of the windmills and the release of genetically modified organisms on Mars.

Terra: The First Hundred have an important impact on Terrans, notably through the video footage sent back by Phyllis Boyle, American geologist. The Reds, who want Mars to be kept intact, are the ideological followers of Ann; they are opposed by the Greens, who believe in terraforming, the ideological children followers of Sax; the Bogdanovists follow Arkady's ideas on social rupture.

2030s: Colonization

Mars: UNOMA greenlights three other colonies of 500 each, composed of nationals not represented among the First Hundred. Throughout the decade more colonies arrive, sent by collective efforts from Terran governments. The new settlements consist of a pressurized city under an airtight plastic dome.

Hiroko and her group believe in a new Martian way of things, a new order celebrating Mars and life; they call themselves the Areophany. In secret, they work on late fertility and in vitro birth and grow a series of children made from the genes of all the First Hundred. Michel Duval, the French psychologist for the First Hundred, turns homesick and joins them. They secretly prepare their escape from Underhill. They disappear from public eyes and hide in an underground secret settlement. The group then moves in a very big underground dome under the South Pole's dry ice, where they build the city Zygote. They start working on thermal disposal engineering which is necessary for not being detected by surveillance measures. They rarely contact people outside the group, feeding local myths for a secret colony and the legendary Coyote. Kasei, genetic son of John and Hiroko, is born within the Areophany team.

Sax is named head of the terraforming effort by UNOMA and builds Echus Overlook, engineering headquarters for terraforming. The one-way ships to Mars are progressively used as sun mirrors that are placed in orbit and heat up the soil. The new factories begin releasing warmth and oxygen in the atmosphere. The exploration of Mars continues.

Every newcomer has his own idea of how Mars should be and what it should become. John, who works for Sax, dreams of an all-new Martian culture in which the mistakes of Terran history won't be repeated. Arkady actively works to that end and begins influencing the new colonists to prepare a revolution that will bring about the necessary break with Terra’s sphere of influence.

2040s: Industrialization

Mars: New colonies keep arriving, representing nations or transnational companies and principally bringing raw workforce for the industrial exploitation of Mars. The cities of Senzeni Na, Burroughs, Sheffield and Sabishii are created. Mining creates vertical holes, called moholes, which are a source of heat. UNOMA approves the building of a space elevator, financed by transnationals and designed by Phyllis, for exporting Martian ore.

The biotechnology and medical group led by Vlad moves from Underhill to the newly built Acheron. Sax studies biology there. The Acheron group studies body regeneration and longevity and creates the gerontological treatment: human lifespan is dramatically increased. The treatment is given to many of the visitors to Acheron; Sax secretly gives it to the Areophany group.

The Areophany children and the Coyote, without Hiroko's awareness, conduct several sabotages disguised as accidents (a space mirror knocked out of orbit, a truck fall in a mohole, a well explosion). Their goal is to reduce immigration as they believe the new colonists do not care deeply enough for Mars; they contact and influence the small anti-establishment groups that start being created in every town. The accidents are said to be caused by Reds, a mysterious Coyote or terrorists; John investigates.

Frank befriends with Arab settlers. Peter, son of Ann and Simon Frazier, American geologist, is born. The atmosphere counts 50 mbar. A Global Storm caused by the upheaval of the atmosphere by terraforming lasts for three Martian years.

Terra: Multinational companies begin coalescing into colossal transnationals, which essentially overpower national rule. The Antarctica treaty expires; mining and drilling begins in Antarctica.

2050-2056: Sabotages

Mars: As new colonies arrive, domed craters become common. Nadia supervises much of the construction, which makes use of large fully-automated robots. Arabs and Swiss cooperate in building cities and roads. The water from Martian aquifers is planned to be released on the surface, potentially turning Hellas Basin into a lake. An organism is found which may have native Martian origin, but the samples are considered as contaminated from the well head. The longevity treatment is given to everyone on Mars.

The saboteurs contact John and ask him to stop emigration. A UN investigation team arrives and starts interrogating many of the First Hundred; a murder is committed but the UN team fails to make John take the blame. With Arkady's authorization, John discovers that in every town there is a small group that secretly prepares for the revolution and stashes equipment.

John, now a major political force on Mars, organizes a festivity on Olympus Mons, where the Areophany group resurfaces for the first time, to watch the fall of Amor asteroid 2051B into the Martian atmosphere, enriching it up to 100 mbar. John believes that a new Martian society can be created as a crucible of the best elements from all Terran cultures. He is said to dislike the Arabs, who are opposed to his ideas.

Terra: The longevity treatment is leaked and is of controversial use. It is then widely administered chiefly in the rich countries.

2056-2061: Rising tensions

Mars: Immigration consists mainly of workers and task forces from transnationals and UNOMA police. Snow and water start falling on Mars. The atmosphere counts 130 mbar.

In the inauguration festival of Nicosia, John Boone is murdered by Arabs with Frank's consent. Arkady gives a transmitter that controls the Phobos rockets to Nadia. In 2057 the UN Martian Treaty is revised but despite Frank’s efforts has little effective power; the transnationals ignore the treaty without reprisals by UNOMA.

The Space Elevator at Pavonis Mons is completed: a 37,000 km long cable from Sheffield to asteroid Clarke. Martian ore is massively exported and a wave of transnational immigrants arrives with UNOMA’s authorization.

A housing boom follows and the infrastructure is pushed to its limits. Discontent and crime appears. With Arkady's support, many workers, even entire cities, abandon their work and disappear in the land. Frank negotiates a halting of transnational immigration but riots ensue and immigration begins anew. Strikes and riots become common across all Mars and Korolyov becomes a prison to gather those arrested by UNOMA.

Terra: Economic inequalities exacerbate the tensions between subdued states and the transnationals. In 2060, small wars erupt independently.

2061: The First Martian Revolution

Mars: Some cities under Arkady's rebellion openly declare independence. The Revolution begins. Mass infrastructure destruction and life loss. UN police with land troops along with transnational forces based mainly in space destroy several domed towns to stop the rebellion, while rebels destroy towns to keep the rebellion going. UN police takes over many towns and aims at exterminating the First Hundred, perceived to be the revolution's instigators; many are killed, Arkady among them. The rebel groups turn out to be many more than expected, but no coordinated and united front exists. Rebels and neutral citizens try to survive in wrecked cities and tents. Several aquifers are broken, releasing a great quantity of water on the land and in the atmosphere. An equatorial storm begins; snowing is more common. Bogdanovists destroy the Space Elevator; the cable violently wraps around the planet's equator.

Frank declares Cairo a neutral city where negotiations between the First Hundred and UNOMA could begin; it is invaded by UN police. Nadia uses Arkady's transmitter to bring Phobos down, as it could have been used as a weapons platform. Frank is killed by a flood caused by an aquifer break. The Areophany group attempts to save the First Hundred: Nadia, Ann, Sax, Maya, Simon and much of the Acheron group are taken safe to Zygote.

Terra: The wars coalesce into one; cease-fires fail and World War Three begins and lasts for six months. One hundred million people die. The transnationals table their differences and agree a cease fire; the status quo remains. The transnationals give Terrans the impression that the Martian Revolution is an insignificant group of terrorists wrecking towns and breaking aquifers.