GBT/NDTV: This finding challenges previous estimates, which suggested that 100- 500 people would be required for a self-sustaining settlement on Mars.
Scientists have revealed the minimum number of astronauts needed to build and maintain a Mars colony. A new study, conducted by researchers, including those from George Mason University, suggests that a Mars colony can be built and sustained with as few as 22 astronauts, the Independent reported.
This finding challenges previous estimates, which suggested that anywhere from 100 to 500 people would be required for a self-sustaining settlement on the Red Planet. The new analysis, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, was published in arXiv.
The researchers also took into account human social and psychological behaviour, as well as the continuity of interactions between people to make a new estimate. By incorporating these factors, the researchers arrived at the surprising conclusion that just 22 people may be enough to build and sustain a Mars colony.
Notably, space agencies around the world that have explored Mars for several years have said that building any human settlement on Mars would be an incredibly complex engineering problem. In addition, any habitat constructed on Mars would need to be largely self-sustaining, as resources are limited.
The future colonists will also have to endure psychological and human behaviour challenges, researchers say.
For the new study, scientists analysed data from high-performing teams in isolated and high-stress environments, and sought to better understand the interactions that would occur among Mars colonists.
”We seek to identify areas of consideration for planning a colony as well as propose a minimum initial population size required to create a stable colony,” they wrote in the study.
The researchers used a computer simulation called Agent-Based Modeling, to predict the survival of a human habitat on Mars under various conditions. The simulation considered individual factors such as metabolism, resilience, skills, and stress levels, as well as four different psychological profiles.
The simulation showed that an initial population of 22 would be the minimum required to maintain a viable colony size over the long run. Additionally, the study found that individuals with an ”agreeable” personality type were more likely to survive, while those with ”neurotic” psychology had a higher mortality rate.