The year is 2040, and human colonists have been living on the surface of Mars for over 6 years. But how did we get here? This talk explores the unmanned missions that paved the way. Along with the scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians back on earth that made it all happen. They were pioneers and visionaries. They were explorers and adventurers, even though they didn’t actually get to travel to Mars along with the astronauts. They invented new techniques to find and collect hidden resources on Mars. They figured out how to process those resources into useful products ... like water, breathing air, and rocket fuel. They invented technologies to build structures and roads from just the local Martian materials. They came up with new ways to live off the land on Mars so we wouldn’t have to bring everything with us on that long and expensive journey. We could never have colonized Mars without these in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies. This is their story.