Jacob Fryxelius, designer of Terraforming Mars, reveals some of the easter eggs hidden in Terraforming Mars in this weekly article series.
Here’s another cool science fact about Terraforming Mars, and I leave it to Isaac to explain since he was the one who did it:
Thanks Jacob! When I first developed the design for the gameboard… I have to halt here to say that the development of the gameboard is a chapter of its own where I only came in at the end, building on my brothers prototypes… anyway, I put in some random stars for the background. But then I thought, why not have a real background? So I downloaded a space app, Celestia, and travelled to the future Mars, to around 2400, to find a correct and interesting background. So in the main game you can find Mars in the fishes constellation, with the connecting and important star Al Rescha named. I’ll leave any deeper meaning of choosing that star to you… After our first printrun I came across an astronomy book that pointed out that Al Rescha is actually a blue star, so I felt obliged to change that.
I used the same procedure for the Hellas & Elysium map, where I named one star on the map for reference, so it could be possible (if yet very hard) to figure out what stars you are looking at. Those larger stars on the maps are the ones that you can connect to constellations, but even the smaller ones are correctly placed.