How should we do government on Mars?

As soon as you start thinking about the Mars colony we might actually have sometime soon, you realize how many big unanswered questions there are about how it’s all going to work.

One of the most perplexing questions is how the colony will be governed.

When most of today’s governments were created, people communicated by having someone take a letter somewhere on a horse—and much of the way we govern ourselves now is based on restrictions from the past that are no longer relevant. Starting off with a clean slate, Mars government(s) can take advantage of everything we’ve learned from history, as well as modern technology that could theoretically allow for a more direct democracy. Should we build a new kind of system on Mars, or stick with what we know?

Or will Mars colonists simply belong to their respective Earth nation—e.g. would an American colony on Mars just be treated as the US’s 51st state? And how do we divide land? If multiple nations each develop a program that can send people to Mars, will each nation get to claim a piece of the planet as their own? How do we decide what’s fair and prevent the first few nations from snatching up the entire planet for themselves?

This is just the beginning of the can of worms.

So—if you were in charge, how would you set things up and what would the rules be?

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