- For other uses, see Marco Polo.
Following information from Tellarite traders, the Marco Polo visited the trading planet of Rigel IV in 2079 SFC (c. 2150), the first Terran ship to do so. As it was unknown what goods could be sold there, its holds contained a wide range of different goods, including substances like oxygen, argon and coal, metals such as boron steel, carbon-epoxy composites, electronic equipment, and Terran clothing and artworks.
In the city of Rralrark, the crew found that Earth's electronics and metals were apparently more advanced than those of other worlds, and such goods were enormously popular among the alien traders, even Malfatti's wrist computer and titanium belt buckle (ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology). The Marco Polo was also the first ship to open direct trade between Terrans and Orions, on reference stardate 0/7907.27, and sold to them a load of items of 20th century Earth culture, including Levi's jeans, fast food, and Clint Eastwood movies. This began an Orion fascination with 20th century Earth culture that continued into the 23rd century. (FASA RPG modules: The Federation, The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
The Marco Polo returned to Earth on reference stardate 0/8202 (c. 2152) (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge). It had made a huge profit, and came back with a bumper cargo, including Saurian brandy. Malfatti predicted that trading at Rigel would provide a significant boost to Earth's Gross Solar Product (however, the next Terran ship would not be so lucky). Through the Rigel IV trade expedition, Earth learned of many more races and worlds than they had previously known. (ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology) The Marco Polo also bore news that the earlier exclusive contracts between Garggash Dlumppheg and the Orions' Botchok Planetary Congress (whose trade was practically non-existent) didn't apply to the Orion trading families, and that a much more profitable market was to be had with them. This began a flood of free trade between independent traders and the Orion families and corporations. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)