New technologies with unlock new buildings, upgrades, colonist perks, and other benefits for the colony. Note that players do not need any buildings in order to perform research, though some do help with the process.
Standard technologies are divided into five fields with different themes. Researching any technology will make a technology within its field available for research. Some technologies have fixed positions in their fields, while others are random.
Breakthroughs are extraordinary technologies with powerful effects that are discovered by only special means. One way to unlock a breakthrough is to discover an anomaly on the surface of Mars. Different technologies may appear in each playthrough.
Individual technologies are researched by generating research points equal to their cost.
- The mission sponsor may provide a fixed amount of research points per Sol, but research buildings will be needed to discover the later, more advanced technologies in a timely manner.
- Outsourcing research is another option granting a fixed amount of research for a certain period in exchange for funding.
- Analyzing anomalies with an RC Explorer may grant research points or make new technologies available for research.
There are several fields to perform research within, each with their own semi-randomized content. Some buildings and items unlocked via research merely means the colony can provide the parts and plans for itself rather than ordering prefab building parts or items outright.
- Biotech: Farm, Water Reclamation System, Fungal Farm, Medical Center, Hanging Gardens, Moisture Vaporator, Geoscape Dome
- Engineering: Apartments, Polymer Factory, Electronics Factory, Medium Dome, Mega Dome, Space Elevator
- Robotics: Drone Hub, Machine Parts Factory, Drone Assembler, Shuttle Hub, RC Rover, Network Node, Mohole Mine, The Excavator
- Physics: Atomic Accumulator, Fusion Reactor, Subsurface Heater, Stirling Generator, Artificial Sun, Omega Telescope
- Social: Martian University, Science Institute, Sanatorium, Project Morpheus