Heraklion – Following months of development and preparation the Hellenic Space Agency has formally opened applications for free migration to Cronus, the first permanent human settlement on Mars. One thousand Imperial citizens have already moved to the new town but until today only those who had a relevant skill for the initial construction were invited. Now that open applications are allowed for the first time in history it will be possible for regular humans to move permanently to another planet. While Cronus is not the first settlement in outer space, it is the first settlement that is intended to be inhabited permanently by the same people. It is also intended as a trial for the much larger New Athens project which will see as many as five million people move permanently to a new settlement on and near Olympus Mons.
Cronus is a dome constructed on Mars near Olympus Mons and uses fusion power to satisfy all power needs. Inside an artificial ecosystem has been constructed and all possible resources and services are provided to the new residents. Until now primarily engineers, scientists, technicians and other personnel with a useful skill have migrated to Cronus, however now people with skills useful for a permanent human population are desired. While anyone can apply; teachers, doctors, hospitality staff, and anyone else with a service related profession will be given priority. Additionally due to the still existing risks only those who can present a certificate of health and are younger than 50 on the planned departure date will be considered. These restrictions will not apply to New Athens where it is believed that enough facilities will exist to treat for older citizens and those suffering from various health conditions.
Because Cronus is owned by the Hellenic Space Agency and all residents rent their lodgings, security and policing duties are done by Hellenic Space Force Security Forces and criminal investigations by the Hellenic Space Force Criminal Investigative Service. The Imperial Court in Athens has been granted jurisdiction over Cronus and New Athens, and parties in any trial will need to be transported back to Athens. Likewise anyone imprisoned for a crime will be taken to a prison back on Earth. In the long-term a local police department is planned. As plans already existed to imprison high risk prisoners on a special station in space, in the future anyone convicted for a crime on Mars will likely also be imprisoned in this space facility.
The Hellenic Space Agency expects that all available spots will fill within the first day of open applications, however they guarantee that anyone who is unable to secure a spot on Cronus will automatically be considered for New Athens. Those lucky enough to secure a spot will depart as early as next month, the Empress will attend the launch ceremony of the first ship to take colonists to Mars.