///From the author:these are some of the details for another story in the Spacer's Saga universe, called Outpost Providence. This story deals with yet another "crusty veteran who's moved on to bigger things but still carries the ghosts of his past," who in this case retired from the Space Force to go work as a scientist on Mars. But the ghosts of the past sometimes have a way of following you, especially when we're talking about the horrors of war...
Not long after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the new Space Race between NATO and the Shanghai Pact heated up in short order. By the 2030s, the moon had become the New Cold War’s next battlefield, culminating in the Lunar War of October 2049. This conflict ended in stalemate after only three weeks, but prompted the United Nations to form the Interplanetary Cooperative Administration (ICA), which now oversees all affairs beyond Earth’s atmosphere, including the Martian Settlement Program which has been active since 2029.
In the years since the first outposts were set up on Mars in 2038, the various spacefaring nations of Earth have spread their influence across the Red Planet in slow, incremental step. Most of this progress now takes place under the umbrella of the Scientific Advancement & Development Initiative (SADI), which founded in 2033 as a means to test new methods of living and working there, with in-situ research projects carried out by astronauts from the various nations party to the ICA’s founding document, the Tyndall Treaty.
Mars Outpost Delta-4, located in the Arabia Terra, is home to twenty-four such scientific staff members, who come from the five main spacefaring power blocs: the EU, India, Russia, China, and the United States. The intrepid scientists and engineers of Outpost Delta-4 run excursions into the highlands, or out into the plains of the Chryse Planitia, but recently their main point of interest has been the Mawrth Vallis, where the detritus of an ancient river keeps group biologists constantly on the edge of discovering something amazing.
One of those awaiting such a discovery is Daniel Zemanski, the head of the outpost’s NASA contingent, chief of ground ops, and third in command after Lunar War hero Bruce Treadwell and his X.O., Beth Dalton. But when Treadwell turns up dead under suspicious circumstances, it kicks off an investigation which could undo all progress made in the ten years since the Lunar War. As Zemanski and his associates will soon discover, the web of loyalties leading from Earth to Mars could threaten much more than the stability of the ICA…
The Scientific Advancement & Development Initiative:
(Flag flown at SADI outposts, below the ICA flag)
Conceived as far back as the mid-2020s, prior even to Charles Larsen's revelation of fusion propulsion technology, SADI was formally established in 2033 by provision of the United Nations and a partnership of international space organizations (i.e. NASA, JAXA, and the ESA, as well as several private space companies) with a focus on advancing the cause of human exploration of deep space. The first target of this Initiative was Mars, which SADI successfully set up a base on in October 2038 (almost a year ahead of Larsen's deadline).
Over the decade which followed, as NATO and the Shanghai Pact militarized the space industry, the long-running effort to advance exploration and discovery on Mars was largely sidelined in favor of the East-West conflict over control of Lunar resources gradually. This gradually ramped up towards open war in October 2049.
Following the adoption of the Tyndall Accords in 2051, SADI was handed over to the authority of the Interplanetary Cooperative Administration it founded. By 2059, there are a little over a thousand people living and working on Mars at least semi-permanently, with one of SADI's main goals being to increase this number exponentially by 2100 as part of the long-term Martian settlement program founded in 2029.
The Remote Observation & Variable Environment Research (ROVER) outposts SADI operates on Mars are home to most of the population, and it is there where the bulk of scientific research occurs on Mars. These scientific bases are subdivided into four categries: one Alpha-level outpost (Outpost Aldrin), which is the main base on Mars; two Beta-level outposts, which act as secondary command & control; four Gamma-level outposts, which are halfway between Beta-level and Delta-level in that they are both regional delegatory centers and scientific stations; and ten Delta-level outposts, where the bulk of local scientific investigation occurs.
As of 2059, these outposts are used as a home base for scientific reserach and development which is either difficult or morally questionable on Earth, or otherwise made easier through being located on Mars. Outpost Delta-4, for instance, which is the central base in Outpost Providence, is home to biological research, and the base for a series of investigations into potential points of interest throughou the western Arabia Terra.
(A labeled map of Mars, with the four types of outposts denoted by different types of polygons)
1989 - Asteroid 4581 Asclepius destroys Phoenix, Arizona, killing over a million people
1991 - USSR collapses as external pressures cause its constituent states to secede
1993 - Special Intelligence Directorate formed to lead investigation of Phoenix Event
1999- Space Force founded to deal with spaceborne threats to U.S. space power
2002 - Bureau of Special Investigations formed by Congress at the behest of the S.I.D.
2006 - Larsen Enterprises emerges as a major U.S. aerospace & defense contractor
2009 - U.S. initiates program to establish lunar bases on the anniversary of Apollo 11
2014 - Russia sends troops into border regions of Ukraine, igniting a rise in tensions
2018 - NASA/ESA effort establishes first permanent base at the Lunar south pole
2022 - Russia fully invades Ukraine, and Iran breaks out in country-wide civil unrest
2024 - The U.S. and NATO send in troops to stabilize Iran after two years of turmoil
2025 - Russo-Ukrainian War ends with little change in the status quo antebellum
2026 - S.I.D. begins Operation Petrichor to safeguard American dominance in space
2029 - Charles Larsen discloses the existence of lightspeed teleportation technology
2033 - UN founds the SADI to begin focusing on long-term space exploration goals
2034 - Multilateral peace talks begin in a bid to end the interminable Mideast War
2038 - Joint NASA-ESA team sets up a base in the central Valles Marineris on Mars
2041 - Last U.S. troops leave Iran, leaving behind a small UN peacekeeping force
2042 - Global recession begins thanks to rampant speculation on fusion power tech
2045 - NATO begins Operation Lodestone to prep for possible conflict on the Moon
2049 - Lunar War occurs as major spacefaring powers battle to control resources
2051 - UN founds Interplanetary Cooperative Administration to run offworld affairs
2054 - ICA forms Interplanetary Defense Corps as peacekeeping force for local space
2057 - New cohort arrives at Outpost Delta-4 as 100th anniversary of Sputnik I passes
(SADI research locations across the southwestern Arabia Terra as of April 2059)
(A close-up on the location of Mars Science Outpost Delta-4 in the Arabia Terra)
(Layout of Mars Science Outpost Delta-4 in northeastern Crater Oyama)