YEAR: 2069

The conference room was abuzz, reporters from every corner of the globe, pressed into the stuffy room, awaiting the space agency chief. When he finally appeared, he took them through an elaborately detailed explanation of the mission to Mars.

“We launched three ships last year, carrying the heavy robotic equipment that began the excavation of the site. Rubicon is the vision of some of the brightest thinkers of our day. It will be brought into existence far below the surface of Mars, protected from harsh conditions and elements by the tons of rock and dirt above its domed atriums and long network of corridors.”

A flurry of questions and an hour later, the news agencies were reporting on the biggest story of the year. Choosing the site for the settlement had taken years of research by teams of explorers, seeking out the best location for a permanent home on Mars. The task was not simple. The settlement structures had to meet specific requirements that ensured the survival of the occupants.

“And on Mars, that is a tough ask. Stay tuned as we bring you more on the launch of the Rubicon mission to Mars after these messages,” a well-groomed news anchor concluded the segment that aired across the country the same night as the chief’s news conference.

Her notes were filled with Mars facts and information. She read through them again, . . .

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