I'm starting to think the correct form of a Mars colony is a giant nuclear-powered truck, not unlike Star Wars's Juggernaut, carrying an Outback-style road train. Why fix your habitat modules at one site when you could put them on wheels and roam the whole planet instead?

Image is of the Juggernaut from "Star Wars: Complete Vehicles", for reference.

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For mines, picture just two guys overseeing titanic nuclear-powered mining robots, all ensconced in a lightning-rich global dust storm, the odd mega-truck convoy being their only visitors. Mars is going to host some of the most sublime industrialism man has ever known.

Image is of a Martian dust storm spreading (yes, that's dust, not water); ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

What is the point of roaming through an empty planet though?

@rastinza Unpopulated land is still land, rich for scientists to study, prospectors to survey, tourists to experience, and adventurers to challenge themselves in. Hence why big rovers are usually included in Mars mission plans. I'm just taking it one step further by proposing the whole colony be itself a rover.
Personnel will be spread very thinly; doesn't make much sense to confine them to just a few small parts of the planet, as the usual visions with clusters of little buildings do.

However you'll be using a lot of energy for the transportation of the whole colony for no real practical reason

@rastinza Exploring the whole planet instead of one small piece of it isn't a real practical reason? And TBH the extra energy should be rather trivial given an abundance of large nuclear reactors. If it's not, if energy is that rationed, you won't be able to colonize space in a serious fashion anyway.

Moving a whole colony around doesn't look so cheap energy wise, moreover I don't understand why you would explore an uncolonized planet.
You can surely send some research expeditions, but what's the benefit to the normal people living in the colony?
Moreover the movement will surely be bumpy and not always comfortable...

@adamasnemesis That's a really cool idea. Not sure if it would work out ground pressure vise and all. We had both a truck and a tank nuclear powered in history. But shielding it from the outside and having enough room for crew quarters is a different story.

@IAmAClaesAndIhateIt The bigger the vehicle the more cost-effective nuclear gets; the Lockheed CL-1201 had an 1100-foot wingspan, Project Orion called for lofting thousands of tons or more into orbit, etc. etc.
Shielding also scales up far slower than volume, so bigger vehicles mean more room inside, proportionally speaking.
So, along with the sheer utility of a larger vehicle, those are the primary reasons why I propose huge vehicles.

@IAmAClaesAndIhateIt Ground pressure is a question mark, but each "car" in the road train shouldn't have all that much more mass than today's largest mining vehicles, who seem to have no trouble with ground pressure. So I'm pretty sure that part could be worked out.

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