Mesha 14, 2078, m249
Sports are now the driving force behind the development of intercolony leisure travel and tourism. Previously, travel between colonies was dominantly for business purposes due to the prohibitive costs and regulations, but with the Global Transport Commission lifting commercial restriction on the use of the industrial purpose-built crafts, the MAFL has already signed up to purchase 2 zepplocarriers.
Traveling by “air” has been impractical due to the thin atmosphere of our world. This physical constraint render traditional Earth aircrafts ineffective on Mars. Rocket pods and Hovers (anything launched by rail cannons) still provide the fastest means of transport on the planet, but limited load capacities, questionable safety, and prohibitive costs make it an exclusive option.
Though zepplocarriers are not currently designed for speed, direct flight paths and the ability to forego recharging stops make them more time-effective compared to current land-based travel.
For example, MAFL players travelled an average of 12,000 km a month—totalling 8 days on the road. Even in the protective shielding of a transport, there is increased risk of radiation exposure.
“Players have complained of the long and gruelling road trips.”, expressed an MAFL spokesperson, “Our intention is to test zepplos and if all goes as planned, subsidize the acquisition of one for each club.”
Zepplos will be able to ferry teams, their supporting staff, and potentially spectators between colonies. Travel by zepplocarrier will reduce the typical 3-day journey between Huacheng and Europa, to a single day.
This is big news to players like Edouard Rouselle of United. “I have a family and kids. Anything that lets me have more time with them in a week is a godsend!”
Service air carriers, that do not rely on principles of lift and drag have been an industry solution for more than two decades to transport resources and equipment and inaccessible regions, but, until now, they have never been deployed public use..
“There hasn’t been a need,” says Vakhita Blackwell, CEO of zepplocarrier manufacturer, Helionus Inc., “Quite frankly, there hasn’t been the demand. Until now, we were previously content with waiting for the tunnels to be completed to connect colonies by loops.”
Indeed, intercolony tourism has been historically small, with only a fraction of the approximate 120,000 Martian inhabitants needing transit between colonies—the majority of that for work purposes.
With Pandora’s box now open, the once insular majority is suddenly demanding regular transportation for leisure purposes. The first championship match drew a record-breaking 5,000 colonists from all corners of Mars out of the safety of a stationary settlement to congregate at Marineris stadium.
To put that in perspective—workers in natural resources, “explorer” companies and research expeditions (that are effectively nomadic settlements) only represent about of 3,000 people, planet-wide, that need to be outside at any given time.
Underground transport tunnels are in the works to provide a reliable means of transportation between colonies. The first such tunnel, a highway between Marineris and Europa, is expected to be completed within 7 months and spans just over 3000 km. It’s estimated that linking the vast distances between far reaching settlements will take decades—if at all.
It will still be some time before there is a major disruption in public transport with the proposed hyperloops, but in the meantime, blimps can fill in the void.