Mars has a cold climate, with almost no atmosphere and zero oxygen.
But because it has frozen water at its poles, it makes it a prime candidate for terraforming.
Raising the temperature of the planet melts the ice and causes sea levels and water levels to go up.
However, there is not enough water in the ice caps to form an ocean.
Oxygen and Pressure will have to be made artificially, and you need a boost for the water, so be sure to research everything about water as well.

Starting Stats:

Temperature: 218,027mK (28 retained by atmosphere)
Pressure: 600Pa
Oxygen: 1ppm
Water: 17,615cm (82,384 frozen in ice)
Biomass: 0


Before we start keep in mind that depending on what setting you pick, the facilities won’t have the same effect.
Example: The hab dome give biomass when you selected biomass at the start of the game, but give oxygen instead when your playing with biosphere on.

Most of this guide is for playing normal with biosphere, but they will mostly hold true for other difficulty.  I don’t recommend playing at the easy level because you won’t have access to those sweet satellite.

Phase 1: Let’s start

Horizon or Son of Hephaestus

Choose either Horizon or the Son of Hephaestus has starting faction, you need your buildings to build fast and your mines to overflow with money (credits). You can later modify all the value in the culture section with using culture point once you build the Lagrange Academy satellite.

Start getting the Iron and silver research to start mining them right away.

Then go build your free colony and an outpost.

Pick a high elevation for your colony. For the outpost, its depend on your long game. I usually build them in altitude, but sometime I build some near expected sea level. Why ? So that in the late game the rising water will destroy them preventing me from paying to close them.

Go to your outpost, you should have around 3M now.

Build 4 silver mine and maybe 1-2 iron if you can’t get more silver in the green-yellow range when you scan. Increase the level of all the mines to 3 or 4. This way you will get more credits per minute and the mine will deplete faster. A depleted mine is a good thing because you can remove it for cheap and build another mine of better mineral (like Palladium) at a lower price.

Here you probably spent all your money, but generating around 50k/minutes (25k if you didn’t watch ads for the 200% boost)

When your cash is high enough you can either start researching Hab Complex or children creche.

I usually go for the children creche to rush to get the spaceport. The spaceport is probably the best add-on you can add to your colony. Its generate credits, its allow you to build super satellite, colonize mars moon and it’s drawback is actually a plus on mars since it’s slowly increase your pressure.

Hab complex is to rush to hab dome which generate water and biomass if your playing with biomass on and oxygen and water if your playing with biosphere.

Why rush for the Hab dome then if spaceport is better ?

I prefer getting the spaceport first, but the hab dome is really useful to have quickly too, it will allow you to have more population which means more facilities can be built on all you colonies and it will increase your culture point faster.

While your researching you can take a break and come back later or use genesis point to rush research or/and get more credits.
Once you comeback you might have enough to research palladium and build another outpost, in that case do it but mine only palladium and maybe 1-2 silver it you don’t get enough good palladium spot.
Research transport and wait a bit again. Once it’s done (or rush with point) you can research the spaceport

Once you finish the starport research build one in your colony and research hab complex to get a hab dome ASAP.
You can build multiple startport in your colony combine with some Hab dome to generate more population grow.
Once your got the Hab Complex and the Hab dome research, we can start to be creative.

Phase 2: Let’s fix Mars

Barren Mars
Option 1: let go all in on the mining. Then we terraform Mars.

Here what you want is to get all your mining research and build the Orbital Surveyor satellite. It’s half price if your playing Horizon.

Its take almost a day to build so you have to be patient, but once it’s built its allow you to see where the mineral are the most abundant and getting your outpost to generate 250k/m each.

With all that money you can build all the satellite and upgrade you colonies and jump to option 2.

Option 2: Let focus on terraforming Mars, we’ll figure out the money part at the same time. 
You can enter in the lets terraform the planet phase.
Since Hab dome are generating oxygen and water and spaceport generate pressure, you might start researching facilities that counter those increase.
Temperature is not a issue if you in normal or expert mode. The Soletta satellite will take care of it for you, but water will become problematic once the temperature increase.

Pressure don’t grow that fast either, but since you might build more spaceport (since they generate money too) it might not be a issue at that point.
Your research in the background should be to reduce 1-water 2-oxygen 3-pressure and the occasional biosphere facility, if you’re playing with it. If your playing with biomass on, the Hab dome will do the work for you to increase biomass.
Have some water reducing facilities in your colonies and start building the Soletta. You can check how much water is frozen in the icecap in the water screen (top left)
Now build facilities that will tend your increase towards 0 so once your at you sweet spot nothing increase anymore. At this point Mars should allow microbial and plant life.

Phase 3: Microbial and plant life.

If your using biomass this part is actually really easy. Use your sweet cash you made earlier and build the sky farm satellite and your colonies won’t use all that biomass and it will grow to the amount needed to. It’s even half price if your playing with the son of Hephaestus.
If you’re using the biosphere I will write a guide on that topic, but here are the basic.

Microbial life


Microbial life don’t need support so you can use gene that say need 50% more support without the penalties, which allow you to build microbe that give more support for the next group.
If your planet is not stable yet you should play around the biosphere yet, but it you really want to you can always create super resistant life form while you’re stabilizing your planet.
However, these lifeforms tend to give less support for the next group. I will write more about it in my biosphere guide.

Plant Life

If you want to “finish the game” you only need to get to 2 plant support to make your planet habitable. So focus on getting these kinds of plants. The trick is to build many type of plant that give a lot of support.

Phase 4: Mars is habitable.


You’re almost there, with all your spaceport your colonies will be booming. With that population explosion u should have enough culture point to declare independence.
Once you do you will have a victory screen and it will unlock Venus.
You can continue to play, but if you leave Mars I recommend that you to pause the game. If not at least be sure that water, pressure and oxygen are growing at +0.
This will prevent Mars from growing while you are colonizing other planet, and it will prevent it from going barren again.

Other tips:

  • If your using Horizon, you might want to increase the research speed because it’s pretty abysmal in the beginning.
  • Note if your playing with biomass, try getting the sky farm satellite once you are in the habitable phase or just before. This will prevent your colonies to use all your biomass.
  • Except for easy mode, you can basically ignore the temperature since you will just need to build the Soletta satellite to fix it.
  • Resit the urge to spend culture point and since with this build you will be overflowing with money always refuse the credits in exchange reducing your independence movement.
  • Like we said in phase 4, be sure that water, pressure and oxygen are growing at +0.

Let me know if you like this long format walkthrough. I might make one for Venus in the future.