So after much internal debate, I've decided not to write about Mars after all. There were too many headaches involved and considering that I live close to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the last thing I need is an army of PhD's laying siege to my house.
So I'm falling back to the idea of replacing Mars with a planet of my own, and this has given me the freedom to write about a kind of world that I've wanted to for a long time: a tidally-locked planet, one where it's always day on one side and night on the other.
There's still character work to do, the other half of Stephen King's story equation (Remember? Situation + characters = story?). For now, I'm just getting out the broad strokes on this alternate universe...and keeping my fingers crossed that it won't piss off the folks at JPL.