Mars, Mars, Mars. What can we say about a cold, dusty rock with an unbreathable atmosphere, little water or materials and the serious pull of gravity, even at 40% of Earth?
Mars has never lived up to it's potential, not the tough God of War, but more like the ugly stepchild that everyone tries to ignore.
Unlike the moon, where you can practically jump into orbit with it’s 17% Earth gravity, leaving Mars requires a serious push, and H2Lift Ships don’t work that well in the thin Martian atmosphere.
Billion of years ago, Mars may have had lots of water and maybe a great atmosphere, but now it is barren.
Mars has a vast requirement for equipment and food, but little to offer as a trading partner.
Except for the geologists and scientists, Mars is too far from the sun to be a garden spot, the atmosphere too thin to support plants or animals and no resources worth collecting.
It has all of the disadvantages of Earth, a steep gravity well which inhibits off world transport and all the advantages of a cold, inhospitable desert, without the enjoyment of sharing your space with lizards, scorpions, and flies.
On the positive side, it makes a great prison planet: Hard to get off of once you arrive.
Actual prison walls are not always needed, since there is nowhere to go and survival is difficult enough without high walls and bars.
Everyone has to work together to survive and if tempers flare and damage is unavoidable, well, it is a prison.
But you can't base a civilization on prisoners and a desert, as Australia has aptly shown.
Released prisoners need a job and the Solar system needs a way to manage accounts.
Mars is now the financial hub of the system, since crooks and lawyers always seem to gravitate toward that job anyway.
Mars, the God of War is now the God of Money.
Which does seem correct.