Once a society made up of the descendants of Martian settlers have been isolated for a generation or two, it will inevitably have begun to diverge from ours. Just what it will look like will be affected by some of the unique limitations of living on Mars, as well as decisions made early on, like the nationality of the first settlers, who will bring aspects of their unique cultures with them – ideally we would send representatives from as many nations and ethnicities as possible, so as to truly represent all of humanity . It seems likely that whatever is done at the beginning for practical reasons would, to a certain extent, at least, become ingrained in the society as the norm. At the very least, even if things change drastically with time, it would still be setting the trajectory somewhat. So the question we must always start with is, what are they going to be working with at the beginning?
One question to ask is how constant will their communication with Earth be. Will they receive Earth programming and be able to somehow still connect with our internet from such a long distance? Will they be visited by Earthlings often? Even if this is not the case, surely they will bring favorite samples of earthling media with them, although this will eventually become as obscure as old black and white films from the early days of film are to us today, particularly if they begin to create their own media.
What will they eat? It is likely that at the very beginning they will rely on shipments of food similar to what the ISS astronauts eat right now. Unless this becomes very efficient, however, they will probably begin to rely on vegetation grown in their greenhouses. Raising animals on Mars would be, at least you would think, much more difficult, so it is likely that they will go vegan. Other options might be to reduce the payload by sending up vacuum packed protein to be used as “ink” to be used in 3-d food printers, or even growing meat in petri-dishes from single muscle cells.
I propose that it would develop to be something like a native American culture, where they are a tightly knit inter-dependent community with a lot of social support built in. Childcare would be a given, and they may take turns watching after each other’s young children, or more likely, have a group of people who are assigned to the task. The older ones would presumably be at some form of a school, although at the beginning, since there will be a relatively small number of people, it may resemble a one-room schoolhouse, private tutoring, or even a home-school more than the public schools we are used to. Whether this will remain the norm or not is another question, although it should be noted that they would most likely have a limited supply of teachers for a while, at least until they set up a process to educate, train, and accredit teachers of their own. They may even turn to rely heavily on telecommunication, interactive software, and perhaps even AI technology. This will rely on their unique constraints and preferences, which are hard to call exactly, so the most I can say with a fair amount of certainty is that they will have to get innovative in this department and think outside the box.
How will they their society develop when its members interact in such close quarters?