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Colonized Solar System

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Once man's giant leap, now just another tourist trap.

"Man never truly left Earth; he merely expanded Earth into the Solar System."
Bio of a Space Tyrant by Piers Anthony

Sometime in The Future, the technology of space travel improved enough to allow moving personnel and materials off Earth on a large scale. At this point, humankind started Settling the Frontier in its own astronomical neighborhood. The most likely places for colonies to be established are on The Moon (which may be called Luna, for the same reason that Earth is often known as Planet Terra), Mars or both, though other planets, moons, dwarf planets and even asteroids within The Solar System are fair game for this trope.

In the not-so-far future, these colonies may consist of little more than mining operations or military outposts; in farther futures, these colonies may become part of galaxy-spanning empires centered on Earth. Making the environment more Earthlike, to the point where you don't need a spacesuit or pressurized dome to breathe, tends to require some amount of Terraforming, unless Zeerust-flavored Artistic License can be invoked. In the latter case, the colonization effort may run up against indigenous aliens.

Off-Earth colonies may serve as a refuge from populations dislocated from Earth That Used to Be Better. They will also likely be the first targets of an Alien Invasion. If the colonies have enough resources and political willpower to potentially become independent of Earth, The War of Earthly Aggression may result.

As discussed under this article’s Real Life section, this is a goal multiple space agencies and private firms around the world want to achieve; while it might not be Truth in Television right now, one day - hopefully in the not-so-distant future - it will be.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Battle Angel Alita has colonies on Venus, Mars, and Jupiter that have wildly divergent cultures. There was a colony on Mercury, but the planet's entire surface has fallen victim of a Grey Goo courtesy of doctor Jean Vares.
  • Cowboy Bebop has the solar system at large undergoing this due to the Earth itself being nigh uninhabitable. With worlds like Mars being the most developed and prosperous. Colonization of Venus, on the other hand, is still a work in progress and relies largely on flying cities... which is a surprisingly realistic depiction of what it would take to terraform Venus.
  • Galaxy Express 999 sets several early installments within the solar system, including a Martian ghost town, the icy cemetery on Pluto, and a library in the Oort cloud.
  • In the backstory to Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, the alien Inbit conquered the Earth, but humanity had already spread to other planets. These remained untouched by the invasion, and bases on the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter have the resources to attempt to recover Earth decades later. The series takes place during the Second and Third Reconquest Expeditions.
  • Gundam series usually have large space station-type colonies orbiting Earth, and cities on the Moon are pretty common.
    • The Universal Century featured Lagrange Point colonies and cities on The Moon. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam reveals that there are colonies around Jupiter. The sidestory F90 featured a base on Mars (granted, it was a Neo-Zeon base, that was destroyed at the end of the story), and Crossbone shows the Jovian colonies that had previously only been mentioned.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: It’s established in Endless Waltz that colonization of Mars is ongoing, the Frozen Teardrop spinoff/sequel is set on said Mars colony several decades after the end of the series.
    • Gundam: Reconguista in G: There is a colonized Moon, as well as a series of space colonies around Venus called "Venus Globe". Additionally, since this is a Distant Sequel to the above mentioned Universal Century, there may also be Jupiter colonies.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans takes the cake with regards to this, featuring colonies on the moon, Mars, and Jupiter. As well as being the first mainline Gundam series to be set outside the Earth Sphere. (The above mentioned Crossbone and Frozen Teardrop being Loose Canon spinoffs.)
    • Zig-Zagged in Mobile Suit Gundam Age, the villainous faction, originally believed to be aliens, are in-fact an abandoned Mars colony, left behind due to a disease, that have come back for revenge. By the end of the series, the disease has been cured, and Mars colonization restarted.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray: specifically the sequel to Astray, DELTA Astray, which follows Mars colonists, similar to the above mentioned Frozen Teardrop.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury: as the title implies, Mercury (or space colonies around it, at least) is inhabited, and protagonist Suletta is from there. We don't actually see the Mercurian settlements though.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico starts with the destruction of a colony on Mars by invading "Jovian Lizards." The Jovians are in fact humans, the descendants of an earlier generation of lunar colonists driven into exile.
  • Space Battleship Yamato 2199 has one Martian colonist on the crew, fighter pilot (initially, accountant) Akira Yamamoto. The colony was destroyed early in the war.
  • Voltes V: The Boazanian Empire, led by Emperor Zambajil, conquers planets left and right because their economic stability is derived from slaves. While they have already siezed numerous planets by the time the story begins, they set their sights on Earth because the human race are heavily reminiscient of Hornless Boazanians, their Slave Race.

    Comic Books 
  • The original Guardians of the Galaxy was set in a 31st century where humanity had colonized every world in the solar system (except Mars, for reasons), resulting in some pretty odd evolutionary offshoots of the species. In the team we had a crystalline man from Pluto, a Heavyworlder from Jupiter, and a flaming girl from Mercury.
  • In Judge Dredd, humanity maintains several space colonies even after the Atomic Wars of 2070. Several megacities are present on the moon, such as Luna City One; there's mention of colonies on Mars, a judicial penal colony on Titan, and deep-space missile bases on Pluto. There's also a colony on the newly-discovered planet Hestia, which orbits the sun at 90 degrees from the rest of the Solar System.
  • Being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover Alternate History, in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen humanity reverse engineered the Martian technology after the War of the Worlds invasion. By 2010 they had colonies on the Moon, Mars and Venus. Given that various old Planetary Romance stories are canon in this universe, most of the solar system had breathable air and native aliens.
  • In most continuities the distant future of the Legion of Super-Heroes is mostly made up of humans who colonized other worlds and over time evolved powers on each of them. For instance, Saturn Girl is from Saturn's moon Titan where all the descendants of the original colonists have developed telepathy.

    Fan Works 
  • Rocketship Voyager. Humanity hasn't left the Solar System because Faster-Than-Light Travel hasn't been invented, but by the year 2020 colonies have already been established on Luna, Venus, Mars and the Asteroid Belt. Here The Federation is only the Tri-World Federation (Earth, Mars and Venus) and was set up to give the native inhabitants of Mars and Venus some political and military muscle to prevent them being overrun by an overpopulated and technologically-superior Earth.
  • A Saga of Parallel Worlds has an In-Universe example with the multimedia franchise MythWar containing intelligent life on all eight planets in the Solar system, and an Earth-based Galactic Armada that colonized them.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Alien in a Small Town is set in a future when the solar system has been colonized, but not only by humans. In exchange for their help introducing us to interstellar cultures, the alien Jan have been permitted to colonize Jupiter's moon Callisto, and a new race of spider-like cyborgs called the Arachne has set up housekeeping in the Oort Cloud and on Pluto.
  • In Arrivals from the Dark, we gets to see the progress of this, even though the main focus is on humanity's interactions with aliens. The first novel Invasion takes place in 2088 and has humans establishing bases (even domed cities) on the Moon and small outposts on Mars and dwarf planets. USF even trains its Space Fighter pilots on Mars and Venus. The Outer Solar System is still unsettled at that point. After the failed Alien Invasion and the resulting influx of Imported Alien Phlebotinum, Artificial Gravity allows for quick and easy interplanetary travel, while the FTL drive allows for other stars to be explored. The human presence on Mars steadily expands, and the planet is eventually terraformed and holds a sizable population (200 million) by 2352. It's stated the Mars served as the testbed for many of the terraforming technologies and techniques later used to settle barely-habitable worlds. The Asteroid Belt is home to numerous mining operations, as well as shipyards for the Space Navy (why put shipyards far away from the source of the materials?). Even Pluto has a presence in the form of a long-range monitoring station and a Lo'ona Aeo mercenary recruiting base, and Mercury is basically one giant solar power plant, supplying the entire system.
  • Isaac Asimov:
  • Behind the Sandrat Hoax: While their exact location in the galaxy is unclear, the story takes place on two planets called New Earth and New Venus, indicating a great degree of interstellar travel.
  • In Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant series, the entire solar system has been colonized in a contrived way that results in the solar system having the same political systems as twentieth-century Earth on a larger scale: for instance, the United States of Jupiter is basically the USA, while the Earth itself has become the equivalent of India (with the Moon as Sri Lanka).
  • In Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, the Solar System is unique in human space in that much of it has been in the process of being settled prior to the invention of the Ramsden drive that opened the way to the stars. The settling continued until much of the system is heavily populated. In thousands of other human systems, it's primarily the inhabited worlds that are colonized. It seems easier to just build a colony ship to settle some far-off exoplanet than to bother trying to terraform a lifeless rock, although there are a number of space habitats (whose inhabitants are no longer capable of being in a gravity well).
  • The Dispossessed has an anarchist moon colony. Except it's not our moon; it orbits a planet in a distant solar system.
  • Down in the Dark: The story takes place in 2057, with human bases on the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter and Saturn's moons.
  • John Varley's Eight Worlds setting features a Solar System where Sufficiently Advanced Aliens have kicked the human race off Earth (and colonized Jupiter), but humans have colonized not only Earth's moon, but Mercury, Pluto, and just about every other large moon or planet with a solid surface in between.
  • The prequel novels to Ender's Game reveal that Luna was already a bustling metropolis by the time of the First Invasion. Other planets aren't really settled, although asteroid mining is in full force by both corporations and independent mining clans. The arrival of the Formics puts a stop to colonization, especially after the discovery that an even larger Formic armada is on the way. All resources are put towards building an International Fleet to repel the advanced enemy.
  • In The Expanse the former colonies on Mars have become an independent military power in a cold war with Earth. Both planets exploit the Belt, whose inhabitants have formed their own unique culture.
  • Robert A. Heinlein wrote many stories involving colonies on the Moon (very often referred to as "Luna") and throughout the Solar System:
    • Rocket Ship Galileo has a hidden Nazi colony on the Moon. The protagonists manage to destroy it.
    • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The Moon has a number of separate colonies. The story takes place in and around one of them: Luna City.
    • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The protagonist goes to a lunar colony at one point. From clues in the text, it's the same one as in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
    • Podkayne of Mars. The story mentions a lunar colony in passing but the characters never go there. The inhabitants are said to be quick to anger and violence.
    • His (only loosely consistent) "Future History" stories (collected in The Past Through Tomorrow) include colonies all over the Solar System, with stories set on space stations orbiting Earth, on Earth's moon ("Luna"), and on Venus, and with mentions of colonies or outposts on Mars, Titan, and throughout the Solar System.
    • The "Heinlein juveniles" (not actually a "series", with backgrounds that are clearly inconsistent and represent multiple "futures") include stories set on Venus (Space Cadet, which also features travel to the Asteroid Belt and a colony on Ganymede as part of the setting; and Between Planets, which also mentions outposts on Mars), Mars (Red Planet), and Jupiter's moon Ganymede (Farmer in the Sky). The Rolling Stones (1952) especially epitomizes the trope, as it starts off in a lunar colony (which appears to be a a subsequent version of the one in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress) but quickly moves out into the Solar System, first to Mars and then to the Asteroid Belt, and with the family planning on heading to Titan at the end of the book. A previous family vacation to Venus is also mentioned. By the time Heinlein wrote The Star Beast he was moving more into interstellar settings, but an Earth-colonized Mars figures prominently in the protagonist's background, and diplomatic and trade relations between Venus, Earth, and Mars are an important part of the setting.
  • The first novel of The History of the Galaxy series has a MegaCorp work to terraform Mars, while another MegaCorp seeks to fill it with mega cities (they're rivals in that regard: the first one wants a green Mars, while the other one just wants it to be a Planetville). However, both efforts are derailed when the second corporation's careless digging accidentally unleashes a huge underground burst of nanodust, which clogs every machine on Mars and makes either terraforming or construction impossible for a long time. Fortunately, around this time, humanity discovers hypersphere, allowing other star systems to be visited and settled. However, Earth remains overpopulated and low on resources, dependent on Asteroid Miners who are living it up and using their economic status to lord over the homeworld. Eventually, the new president of Earth has had enough of this and secretly converts a bunch of transport ships into warships, which he uses to attack and capture the entire system, declaring the formation of the Terran Alliance.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos, Mars was colonized a long time ago and is actually the only human-inhabited planet in the Solar System (Earth having become Earth That Was due to a Negative Space Wedgieor so everyone thinks). Mars is the headquarters of FORCE, the military of the Hegemony, and is inhabited by the Palestinians. Yes, the Palestinians, who won their independence at some point but very shortly thereafter lost it in the crossfire of an unrelated Middle Eastern nuclear war.
  • In The Killing Star, humanity has spread out across much of the Solar System. There are research outposts on Mars, the Moon, Gandymede, Miranda, and Triton; huge solar-powered antimatter factories on Mercury built by self-replicating robots, space colonies and hollowed-out asteroids that have become whole worlds unto themselves, including Ceres. Nearly all of them are wiped out by a series of relativistic bombings launched by an alien civilization, leaving only a few scattered survivors. And that's just in the first few chapters.
  • In The Lost Fleet, Mars was the first colonized planet. Unfortunately, it's a case of Gone Horribly Wrong, as the original settlers wanted it to be entirely independent of Earth. The result is a planet run by gangs. Even centuries later, the three nations on Mars are still run by gangs. In the prequel The Genesis Fleet series, everyone treats Martians with the same disdain due to the planet being a Wretched Hive. One character expends a lot of effort to lose her past as a "Red": she moves to Earth, gets rid of her Martian accent, and tells everyone she's from Albuquerque.
  • In The Man in the High Castle, the Nazis have already colonized the Moon, Mars, and Venus by 1962. One character speculates that, by the time Japan gets their first spaceship off the ground, Germany will have the entire solar system sewed up tight.
  • The Martian: A significantly downplayed example, since it's just a one-man potato patch, but Mark Watney claims that, according to the University of Chicago, a location is officially colonised once someone has planted crops there. Thus Mark has technically colonised Mars.
    In your face, Neil Armstrong!
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: The Solar Federation (alternatively, the Terran Federation) has colonized the Lunar State, Mars, and built at least one space station for Space Command. Travel between colonies is relatively quick, facilitated by scoutships that can make the trip in one week and matter transmitters that can make it in less than a day. They are trying to crack FTL with the invention of a hyperdrive.
  • In The Pentagon War, prior to the main story, Mars was colonized by the Western powers on its southern hemisphere and by China on its northern hemisphere. The two colonies quickly grew to each others' borders and had a war, which was squelched when the World Federal Government stepped in and subjugated both sides.
  • Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg's The Positronic Man: Colonies from Ganymede and the rings of Saturn are mentioned, Worldbuilding the distant future of humanity by further developing the details of colonization in the solar system.
  • The Pride of Parahumans: Corporations colonized the Belt with transgenic "parahumans", who have since rebelled and achieved independence. Other short stories indicate aerostat habitats over Venus and colonies on Mars.
  • The Red Mars Trilogy tells the story of the colonization, terraforming and deadly conflicts of Mars over several generations. Several other planets and satellites are shown with small colonies and research stations on it, such as Miranda, one of the moons of Uranus.
  • In the Revelation Space Series, Mars was colonized by the augmented Conjoiners and Europa was colonized by the democratic anarchists. The Conjoiners fled the system after the Coalition for Neural Purity attacked them and the Demarchists moved their operations to the Epsilon Eridani system. The Solar System was dethroned as the hub of human civilization when Earth underwent a second ice age, and by the time most of the stories take place it is a backwater in comparison to Epsilon Eridani.
  • In the Seetee series by Jack Williamson, the Solar System is in a cold war involving the US-dominated Earth-Moon Union, the Jovian Soviet, the Martian Reich and Venus which is apparently populated by Chinese and Japanese stereotypes. The "asterites" are of course the freedom-loving good guys living in the Asteroid Belt.
  • Semiosis: A disastrous failed attempt to Terraform Mars is mentioned in passing. The book itself is set in a better-planned colony on an extrasolar planet.
  • In Spin, Mars is terraformed and colonized by Earth. Due to the Year Outside, Hour Inside premise, the Martian colony becomes technologically advanced enough to develop interstellar travel (of a sort) and longevity treatments within the lifetime of the protagonists.
  • The backstory of The Stainless Steel Rat reveals that Mars was colonized in desperation, when Earth was deemed to be in its final throes. All resources were put towards terraforming Mars to even the most basic survivability levels. Even then, only a small portion of humanity was able to move there. The rest eventually mutated by the increased solar radiation and degraded. At some point, Earth's entire nuclear stockpile was set off, wiping out the remains of terrestrial humanity. From that point, Mars became humanity's new homeworld, from where it expanded out into the galaxy. Even the name "Earth" was eventually lost (most people think it was called "Dirt" or something).
  • In Tau Ceti Agenda Series novel One Day on Mars, Mars has been colonized long enough for people to have a particular phenotype (tall, pale, black-haired).
  • In the long-ago short story "Thundering Worlds," every planet in the solar system has been colonized, but the sun is dying. So with powerful rockets attached, the planets leave Sol for a younger star. In the end, Mercury is sacrificed to destroy a set of competing alien worlds, as back then it was thought to be smaller than Pluto.
  • Transpecial: Humans have colonized both the Moon and Mars and have small scientific outposts on more distant moons. Mars used to be a colony of Earth before fighting a twenty-year war of independence, which lasted for most of Suza's childhood. Now it's an independent republic.
  • Variable Star: The Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn's moons, and various asteroids throughout the solar system have been settled (mostly as Shout-Out's to various earlier Heinlein novels), as have numerous planets outside the solar system.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, a colonized Mars is an important (and restive) member of the Earth Alliance. Commander Sinclair was born and raised there, and numerous human military charactersnote  were stationed there earlier in their careers (often tying in with Mars's and Earth's backstory in the show paralleling the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland). It was outright stated that many of the Earth Alliance and Earth Force agencies on Mars were blatantly corrupt. There are also references to the Earth Alliance's colonies on the moons of Earth and Mars, and three of Jupiter's Galilean moons.
  • Cybervillage, as of episode 4, has shown Mars, Pluto and Saturn as settled. Also, there is a mention of Europa being inhabited.
  • The Expanse has a fully colonized moon and Mars, with Mars being partially terraformed. There are also colonies and mining operations throughout the asteroid belt, as well as a few research stations on the moons of various other planets.
  • The alternate timeline of For All Mankind has multiple examples of the colonization of the Moon and Mars, as well as the gradual development of orbital activity.
    • Season 1 has the United States building the Jamestown Base near Shackleton Crater on the Moon in the early 1970s as a response to the Soviets landing on the moon first in 1969. The creators of the show say that the point of divergence is actually the survival of Sergei Korolev, the chief of the Soviet space program, which led the Soviets to advance their space program ahead of the USA. The Soviets eventually build their own base known as Zvezda.
    • Season 2 shows Jamestown and Zvezda as developed colonies on the Moon by 1983, alongside numerous mining sites that play a critical plot role.
    • In Season 3, it is mentioned that China has opened their own Lunar Base by the late 1980s, and that space tourism is becoming commonplace. The 1990s shows the colonization of the inner Solar System in full swing, with Orbital space hotels and space stations by developing countries like India already commonplace as early as 1992. By 1994, the United States, a surviving Soviet Union, and a private aerospace company known as Helios are racing to colonize Mars...only to have been beaten to the punch by North Korea. It is heavily implied that the mission was a one-way trip intended to give the country (which was considered a pariah even by its communist allies) some semblance of international legitimacy.
  • The Outer Limits (1963):
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Quality of Mercy" and "The Light Brigade", there are colonies on Mars and various moons in the Solar System. Europa base is a major part of the Solar System's defense perimeter.
    • On a much smaller scale, there is a research facility called Aphrodite on Venus in "The Joining".
    • In "Phobos Rising", both the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States have bases on Mars. It is also mentioned that both blocs had moonbases 30 years earlier and that the Alliance had one on a body known as Sagan V.
    • In "The Human Factor", the sequel to "Phobos Rising", there is a base on Jupiter's moon Ganymede in 2084. It was established by Free Alliance and Eastern Coalition moderates in order to terraform Ganymede and show that the two sides could live together in peace.
    • In "Worlds Apart", there is mention of a moonbase.
    • In "Think Like a Dinosaur", Earth has established a base, the Tuulen Transfer Station, on The Moon.
    • In "In the Blood", there are bases on the Martian moon Phobos and Jupiter's moon Titan.
  • The Red Dwarf was a Neptune-to-Earth ore freighter, before the radiation leak that killed all but one of the crew and forced the AI to take the ship out of the system. It's also mentioned a few times that Rimmer grew up on Io. Tie-in novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers opens with Lister stranded on Saturn's moon Mimas thanks to a series of bad decisions made while very drunk, and joining the Red Dwarf's crew because he thought it'd be a quick and self-financing way to get home. To say that didn't work out very well for him is to put it very mildly indeed.
  • Star Cops: There are bases on both The Moon and Mars in 2027.
  • In Star Trek, Mars was colonized between the events of the movie First Contact and the series Enterprise. The Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, where the Enterprise-D was built, are in synchronous orbit above the Utopia Planitia region on the Martian surface. (This would have to be a powered orbit, as Utopia Planitia isn't on the equator.) Other parts of the solar system are also colonized. Venus has terraforming stations on it, the Moon is so developed that you can see some of the settlements from Earth's surface, and there were other research stations and such throughout the solar system. Humans weren't the only ones to do this, since the Klingons had a mining station on Praxis, one of their homeworld's moons (before it blew up), Neelix was from Rinax, one of the Talaxian homeworld's moons, Bajor had at least one moon that was inhabitable and had about 50 refugees from Cardassian oppression flee there, and there are many other examples.
  • Ultra Series: A few instalments have humanity colonize planets in the Solar System:
    • Ultraman Dyna: Super GUTS has installed a Mars base years after the defeat of Gathanothor and is also where the first episode of the series takes place.
    • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Decades after Ultraman Mebius the Showa Universe Earth's humanity has expanded to the stars and began colonizing uninhabited planets with ZAP Spacy helping in finding suitable planets to colonize.
    • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga: Humanity has at least expanded up to Mars, installing a city colony in the planet thanks to GUTS Select's help. Its the location where the first episode takes place.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons has the Moon dotted with human colonies, and they are self-sufficient enough to declare independence from Earth.
    • The Mars expedition in the opening scenes of the pilot episode (carried over from the movie of Gerry Anderson's previous series, Thunderbirds Are Go) shows the first steps towards beginning a human presence on Mars. Unfortunately, they discover that the red planet is already inhabited. They make the mistake of severely upsetting the locals, kicking off the interplanetary war that drives the plot for the rest of the series. It's safe to say that humanity will be persona non grata on Mars for the foreseeable future.


    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Earth's solar system was colonized in the distant past of the game's setting. By the time of the Star League, there were permanent colonies on Mars, the Earth's moon, Venus, and on several large space stations. Since then, they mostly got left alone and ignored, but during the Word of Blake Jihad they suffered heavy damage — Venus's colonies were rendered uninhabitable due to the conflict and had to be abandoned.
  • Eclipse Phase takes place after Earth is ravaged by a Singularity-event gone wrong and the survivors fled to the fledgling off-world colonies via Brain Uploading. The Moon is the center of the slightly conservative and decaying Lunar-Lagrange Alliance. Mars is partially terraformed (Ruster morphs can breathe) and the capital of the corporatocratic Planetary Consortium. Venus has several aerostat habitats in the upper atmosphere that were Consortium but most seceded to form the Morningstar Constellation. The Asteroid Belt is settled by a mix of corporates and anarchists. Jupiter's moons are mostly the domain of the bioconservative and fascistic Jovian Republic. And Titan and some of Saturn's other moons have the technosocialist Titanian Commonwealth.
  • GURPS:
    • In the Terradyne setting, the Moon has a pressurized city (Luna City) which is the capital of the titular MegaCorp turned empire.
    • In Transhuman Space the Moon has a significant population, Mars is partially terraformed but only genetically modified parahumans can breathe the atmosphere at present (2100 A.D.), multiple asteroids host colonies (anarcho-capitalist Duncanites mostly), and Saturn is mined for He-3.
  • In the backstory of Hc Svnt Dracones a MegaCorp colonized Mars just before Earth fell victim to a nuclear war. 700 years later Mars, Venus, and Ganymede have been terraformed by MarsCo while Europa is host to the bioengineered monstrosities of Transcendent Technologies Inc.
  • Terraforming Mars, a Board Game with a strong SF theme, has human expansion into the solar system as part of the background, even aside from the fact that the point of the game is, well, What It Says On The Tin — especially once you add some of the Expansion Packs, which introduce parallel efforts on Venus and trade with the outer system.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the entire Solar system has been colonized several millennia ago. Mars is the primary Forge World of the Adeptus Mechanicus, while Jupiter hosts the Imperium's largest shipyards and Titan is home to the Grey Knights.

    Video Games 
  • While not a Solar System example, the main gameplay of Alien Legacy involves colonizing a star system strangely similar to ours. The colonists are cut off from Earth by both space and time (presumably, centuries, if not millennia, have passed after the ship's launch). The game allows you to establish multiple colonies on suitable sites on all planet types but gas giants (large asteroids are also colonizable). You can also build multiple space stations around planets, moons, and asteroids, although they're never going to be fully self-sufficient due to the inability to mine for raw materials. Another twist is that your colony ship isn't the first to arrive to the system, except, instead of this trope, all you find are Ghost Planets with cryptic messages about a disaster of some kind.
  • The primary setting of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a colonized Solar System, though it begins in Geneva, Switzerland on Earth during the United Nations Space Alliance Fleet Week. Parts of the system are ceded to the Settlement Defense Front while others remain in the hands of the UNSA.
  • In Children of a Dead Earth, humanity had to so somewhere after Earth was rendered uninhabitable during World War III. Almost all of the major bodies are colonized and under the control of a major power, only a handful of which have roots in pre-cataclysm governments.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: The ending of the Soviet campaign in Yuri's Revenge implies that the Soviet Union will use the space travel technology that they took from Yuri to expand communism across the solar system.
  • In Conquest: Frontier Wars, the Solar System is completely settled, and one mission involves defending it from a massed Mantis invasion.
  • Destiny takes place After the End of a Golden Age in which humanity had thriving cities from Mercury all the way to the moons of Saturn. Having an Enigmatic Empowering Entity magically terraform all the rocky planets and some of the moons made colonization easier, but humanity made a point of settling some of the totally inhospitable ones as well. However, the Collapse saw humanity pushed back to a single city on Earth, and despite significant recovery since then, re-settling its lost colonies remains a pipe dream.
  • In the original Escape Velocity, Luna and Mars are humanity's oldest two colony worlds, settled during the 21st century. Luna's low-gravity environment is home to the Confederate Navy's main shipyards. Mars, while still a reddish planet, is said to have almost a billion inhabitants. In the Escape Velocity: Nova continuity, the Moon has been strip-mined and Mars has also been colonized, but the colony never became big because the Terraforming effort was a failure. The Federation fleet also has a major refueling depot in orbit around Europa.
  • The Fermi Paradox: Once a civilization reaches the Solar Age, they colonize their entire solar system pretty quickly, with space travel becoming widespread, even if it isn't faster than light (athough if they've come this far, it's likely they'll survive long enough to unlock that too given enough time).
  • The first act of Haegemonia: Legions of Iron takes place in this setting, as wormhole travel hasn't yet been discovered. It involves a war between Earth and the Solar System colonies (mainly Mars). By that point, both sides are about equal in terms of technology and industry.
  • In the Halo universe, humanity has a presence nearly everywhere in the solar system: Mars has been terraformed and is a major population center, there are gas mines and colonies on the gas giants and their moons (though Uranus is something of a sparse backwater), Earth's Moon has a strong colony and an OCS, and even Mercury — which is too hot for proper colonization — has solar farms and antimatter production. Though, humanity tried to terraform & colonize Venus but failed, presumably since the planet is just too horrendously deadly for even interstellar humanity to tame.
  • In Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, Mars is being colonized in the 17th century by both the British and the Spanish, with the latter allying with the indigenous Martians.
  • Mass Effect subverts this somewhat, as the discovery of FTL travel very early in their spacefaring history resulted in the Sol system being mostly forgotten as humanity began expanding beyond the Mass Relay. This is because humans decided that expanding to other worlds beyond the Relay would be easier than taking the time to develop the worlds in Sol. Most of what did exist in the system was quickly abandoned as humanity began expanding outward, with the only thing remaining being a number of simple research, mining, and/or utility stations that at most only have populations of a couple hundred, with the majority of the system being barren and empty. Even Mars, which had a booming population prior to the discovery of the Prothean Archives and is implied to have been on the verge of being terraformed for greater habitability, was turned into a forgotten backwater after the Archives were discovered and the Mass Relay was activated. The largest non-Earth population is on the moon, but even then, the Lunar colony only has a couple of small cities whose combined population is only a few hundred thousand, compared to all of the extrasolar colonies, which have populations in the millions.
  • Millennium: Return to Earth starts with the Moon and Mars having bases. Then Earth gets Colony Dropped by an asteroid, leaving those two outposts as the only remnants of humanity. The more militant Martian colonists declare themselves the true heirs to Earth and warn their Lunar cousins to stay on the Moon or face the consequences. Obviously, you, as leader of the Lunar colony, have no intention of doing that. The game involves sending out probes to the planets and moons of the Solar System in order to establish mining bases at viable sites. Those smaller colonies lack any manufacturing facilities. The Martians conduct periodic raids on the Moon and the other bases, necessitating that each base maintain Attack Drones and/or Kill Sats for protection (they can only be built on the Moon and must be then shipped to the other planets). The mining bases' only purpose is to provide raw materials to the Lunar colony to build and research stuff. The eventual goal is to take the fight to Mars, destroy the colony there, and establish your own. Also, near the end of the game, some of the colonies start to mutate due to the local conditions. By the end, most of them will declare independence. The final task is to build a terraforming device that turn Earth back into a habitable world. By the time of the sequel, taking place 800 years later, most of the colonies have died out.
  • Nectaris is about a war fought on a colonized Moon.
  • In Offworld Trading Company the player runs a mining and manufacturing corporation supplying commodities to a colony on Mars. Expansions add Ceres, Io, and Europa as alternate locations.
  • Redout takes place in this setting, as the Earth was rendered increasingly uninhabitable by climate change, forcing most of the population to relocate to colonies across the solar system. The game actually subverted this trope at launch, as the initial four track locations were all on Earth, with only Mars getting more than a token mention in the backstory as one of the birthplaces of the SRRL. Played straight later on as more tracks were released, taking place on Mars, the Moon, Europa, a space station above Neptune, and the fictional planetoid of P-A219. Notably, the difficulties of this are shown — a failed attempt to terraform the Moon created an enormous fissure, while the planned colony on Europa never even took off, as evidenced by the abandoned structures left lying around the tracks there.
    • The sequel plays it straight from the beginning - the Moon and Mars return from the first game, joined by Io, but also among the track roster is the exoplanet of Proxima B, showing that humanity has expanded beyond the solar system for the first time. It's also mentioned that Mars is now considered humanity's home world, and enough time has passed since most of humanity abandoned Earth that the only 'terrestrial humans' left are the people of a Hidden Cloud City that was completely unaware of the exodus.
  • In Sierra Ops, Mars has been colonized for three hundred years, and 14% of humanity lives on space colonies located at Earth’s Lagrange points. There’s also Mondshire, a city on the surface of the Moon, and the game begins on a space station orbiting Venus.
  • In two scenarios of SimEarth, the player's mission is to terraform and colonize Mars or Venus.
  • Warframe takes place across the Solar System, or Origin as characters call it, dotted with Corpus outposts, Grineer bases, Tenno space stations and a few hapless civilian colonies living in fear of the former two.
  • In the Wolfenstein: The New Order universe, Nazis constructed a lunar base in the early 1950s, which serves as both a militaristic and research based small-city size complex guarded by Space Nazi Marines. There is also a developing colony on the planet Venus, which is split into parts, A floating cloud city, of luxurious and commercial interplanetary habitation, Adolf Hitler himself hiding out there, and a ground base on the planet used for scientific research. Venus bases are also well guarded by space Nazis, however, unlike Marines on Luna, travel to the surface of Venus requires suits that allow humans to remain in one piece despite the enormous amount of pressure.
  • In the X-Universe, by 2146 Mars and the Moon have been colonized, albeit lightly, and just in time for malfunctioning terraformers to wipe them off the map. By the time we see the solar system again in 2938 in X3: Terran Conflict, the solar system is completely colonized, with every planet and every major satellite having, at the very least, orbital cities and factories. The headquarters for Earth's United Space Command fleet is located on Mars, rather than Earth. Earth itself is encircled by a massive shipyard, factory, and residential station, the Torus Aeternal. The Earth State is implied to have the Sol system built up far more densely than other races (including their Lost Colony, the Argon Federation), all of whom generally just colonize the easiest planet in a jumpgate sector and move on.

  • Escape from Terra: The solar system is being colonized. Mars and much of the Belt seem to be largely independent of the United World while the moon, Venus, and Mercury are (officially at least) under its heel. The first Mars colonists were members of a private space corporation that hijacked the International Space Station when it was scheduled to be decommissioned.
  • Mare Internum is set on Mars at the beginning of its colonization.
  • A Miracle of Science: Here, humanity spread to Mars, Venus, the Moon, Ganymede and Callisto, with Mars turning isolationist and weird (until it got lonely), Venus falling to a corrupt dictatorship, and all save the Moon have been terraformed.
  • Quantum Vibe has a solar system so extensively colonized it's starting to enter a societal decline, as interstellar travel has so-far proven impossible. The arching plot of the first twelve story arcs is a research project to find somewhere for humanity to colonize further.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The solar system has been extensively settled, with underwater cities on Europa, mile-high cities on a terraformed Luna, a terraformed Mars and Venus, and more.

    Web Original 
  • Junction Point: By the 2050's, there are small colonies and scientific outposts on the Moon, Mars, and satellites of outer planets.
  • Magic, Metahumans, Martians and Mushroom Clouds: An Alternate Cold War: By the 1980s, both scientific and magical understanding has reached a point that the US and USSR are able to start setting up colonies on Venus, the Moon, and Mars.
  • Orion's Arm: During the late Information, Interplanetary and Nanotech Ages, the Solar System (also referred to as "SolSys") was colonized. Earth and many of the colonies were later devastated in the Technocalypse, and then GAIA forced almost all of Earth's population to leave in the Great Expulsion. By the present, every single part of the Solar System is populated and developed:
    • The Sun itself contains GAIA's main processing core and is surrounded by various facilities under her control.
    • Of the inner planets, Mercury has been turned into a multi-layered shellworld, Venus and Mars have both been terraformed, and Earth is mostly uninhabited (the only inhabitants are those willing to follow GAIA's rules).
    • The Asteroid Belt contains thousands of different governments, and its largest member Ceres has been paraterraformed (enclosed in a membrane that holds in an atmosphere).
    • The outer planets have many bubblehabs floating in their atmospheres, and their moons have also been colonized. Of note is Uranus, which is currently having a shell constructed around it that would provide forty times the surface area of Earth.
    • Even the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud are inhabited, though they are highly isolated from the inner system and even from each other. Within Trans-Kuiper space are the wormholes and Lightways that link the Solar System to other star systems.

    Western Animation 
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, children built a giant treehouse on the Earth's moon as a means of escaping adult tyranny. The Moon Base serves as the primary and emergency headquarters for the Kids Next Door in case something so catastrophic occurs on Earth they have to evacuate the whole planet.
  • In the Exo Squad universe, Venus has been terraformed, Mars has been colonized by the Neo-Sapiens, and the Jovian and Saturnian moons were used for military and mining purposes. Even the trans-Neptunian planet Chaos is occupied by a secret pirate base.
  • Futurama
    • Mars is terraformed and boasts an university and casinos. Most of it is owned by Amy Wong's family, and she is implied to have been born there.
    • The moon has also been colonized, with hydroponic farms and Old West-type towns, but its most popular attraction is the theme park.
    • In the outer reaches of the solar system, Neptune has a native sentient species (Elzar the Chef is the most prominent member of this race) and is also where Robot Santa has his base of operations, with diminutive Neptunians serving as his "elves".
    • Pluto is being used as a penguin reserve.
  • One of the proposed spin-offs for Gargoyles was Gargoyles 2198, which would have taken place in a future where we were all over the solar system.
  • In StarCom: The U.S. Space Force, Mars and the moon have both been colonized, with the former having been partially terraformed. There are also mining facilities and military bases throughout the solar system, with StarCom's main base being parked over the rings of Saturn.
  • Titan Maximum: Humans have terraformed and colonized most of the Solar System. The heroes are all members of Titan's military.

    Real Life 
  • Elon Musk-owned space company Space-X is currently working on a project to send humans back to the moon to stay for a permanent colony and to send humans to Mars for the first time and also create a colony base there as well. This project, working alongside NASA, is set to carry out these actions by the end of the 2020’s decade as of when this was written (October 2021). This project could set up humans on both worlds by 2024. After this, Elon Musk then wants to set up colonies on the moons of Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Kuiper Belt Objects, and even a transport depot settlement on Pluto to work as a base for materials collected from long-term manned interstellar voyages into the Oort Cloud. These interstellar ships could potentially have nuclear pulse propulsion drives if stable antimatter engines, which Elon Musk says he would prefer, aren’t invented in the near future. Elon Musk has said he would want the different civilizations in the Solar System to band together to create a warp drive.
  • NASA’s plans of space colonization within the 2020’s decades sound like something out of science fiction. With mining colonies on the Moon and terraformed dome bases on Mars interconnected with an underground transportation system.
    There is also a planned construction on a rotating space resort orbiting the Earth called the Voyager Hotel to become open to the public 2027. Venus could also be colonized in the next decade, with NASA already having some plans to set up a station there with concept art from Project H.A.V.O.C (High Altitude Venus Operational Concept). However, due to the surface of Venus being having an extreme amount of pressure, these colonies would have to be real life floating cities that would be suspended theoretically using hot air balloon-like helium suspension sources. There are also plans for after Mars and Venus, with the next prime targets for human habitation being Jupiter’s moons Callisto, Europa and other Jovian-based colonies that will be centered around finding extraterrestrial life on the moons of Jupiter. Several locations within Jupiter space expected to be colonized around 2045 according to the planned future HOPE (Human Outer Planet Exploration) mission documents.
    NASA will extend human habitats even further into the solar system with a possible colony on Titan, the moon of Saturn. NASA space colonies on worlds with lower gravity will utilize the gravity-creating effect of circle-shaped rotating rooms. NASA might even allow humans to go further than our Solar System with their planned Stanford Torus generation ship-luxury colony hybrid interstellar drift spaceship worlds. Cryogenic preservation is very important within NASA's colonization projects as it could allow humans to travel between planets in subjectively quick time.
  • The Chinese National Space Administration has a goal to get their astronauts to Mars and colonize it by 2033.
  • Virgin Galactic has also, like many other space companies, expressed their want to colonize Mars. However, instead of wanting to colonize it for research, the company wants Mars to be accessible to the public through commercial space travel.
  • Jeff Bezos-founded space travel company Blue Origin has set a goal to get humans back on the moon, but this time for good, with their Shepard rockets serving as transit vehicles between Earth and lunar mining colonies. Blue Origin has also commented they want to participate in human colonization of Mars, but Jeff Bezos’ main goal to build giant cylinders with habitable Earth-like environments that would be based the Lagrange points of the Earth-moon system and in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with supplies being brought back to these stations from mining bases on asteroids.
  • Before the space race ended with the legendary moon landing, the Apollo Applications Program had plans for where Americans should go to next after,at the time, theoretical landing on the moon. These plans included setting up long-term lunar stations and increased amounts of human-inhabited satellites orbiting around Earth. There was also interplanetary travel planned for astronauts with planned manned flybys around Venus and human landings on Mars within the 20th century.