In this proposal the interplanetary expansion is viewed as a must- this world is simply to small for us all. But ‘utopia or dystopia’ dilemma misses the point. Each newly colonized piece of land was a dystopia at first with harsh environment, limited resources and potential helm months away. Now here comes yet another frontier to pass. After all, humanity is a species of explorers.
The colonists would probably travel to Mars in relatively typical rockets of their choosing, but most of their belongings- non-organic, which can survive high g-forces- could be fired in autonomic capsules from a planetary railgun, e.g. a bigger brother of one residing at the Dundrennan Weapons Testing Centre, UK. A railgun is a device that uses electromagnetic force to launch high velocity projectiles, by means of a sliding armature that is accelerated along a pair of conductive rails.
The Martian colony starts as a scientific- almost militant- base in a cave, shielding it from radiation. Resources are limited, workload- huge and discoveries expected to be made fast. One of them could be some sort of shield generator. It may for example be based on Eutectic Gallium-Indium alloy. Having an electromagnetic shield would allow humanity to once again come out of caves, just as if there was an actual magnetosphere.
The colony is equipped with a reliable power source- a modern power plant. Its’ modules are 3D printed by autonomic robots from local regolith, rich in iron. Some of colonists’ biological waste could be also transformed into 3D printing material, some- reshaped in factories and the rest- reused at farms.
The modules have either a diamond or a triangle shape. They are used basing on current demand. Their spikes contain media plug-ins for air, water, sewage and power. In every module there is a lift and passages for transportation. There are also special ‘flattener’ modules for creating public space like plazas and squares.
In time the colony should transfer from densely packed, very strict militant base into an underground town with parks, public services and cultural events. Depending on colonists wishes and capabilities, the new modules can be stacked in different ways creating various sizes of gardens and parks. Having some extra greenery around might be the key to staying sane on another planet in addition to benefits of extra oxygen and generally better air quality.
Finally the colony could brake the ground and grow into quite a utopian crystal city. And that would probably be the sign it is time for another stage in humanity’s expantion.