We have all seen in films and series: starting a colony on a different planet is not easy. Growing enough plants alone is quite an undertaking. How many people do you need at least to colonize Mars, for example?
According to a new study the minimum number of settlers is 110. It is the first time that scientists have put a number on the size of a Martian colony. Professor Jean-Marc Salotti of the National Polytechnic Institute in Bordeaux, the division factor and time are the most important values to take into account.
Say someone is all alone on Mars (think about the movie The Martian). Then that person has to perform all the tasks on his own: collecting water, generating oxygen and generating electricity. A person can never do it all in one day on his own. If you are with a large group of people then you have enough capacity to perform all tasks, but you also have to share water and oxygen with everyone. So there is an optimum somewhere, in which every settler can specialize in a certain sub-task, so that the most efficient living can be done.
Salotti lists five survival domains: ecosystem management, energy production, industry, construction and human factors, such as education and sport. The professor comes up with a complicated mathematical equation to arrive at the optimal number of people. The time factor plays an important role in this: How much time is needed to survive and how much time is available? The effective number of people to balance this equation is 110.
“It is based on the comparison between the time it takes to meet all survival needs and the time it takes people to complete the tasks,” Salotti writes in his conclusion. He emphasizes that this is a global estimate with a number of assumptions and uncertainties. “But as far as is known, this is the first calculation of the minimum number of people required to survive on Mars,” it sounds.
Bron(nen): Science Alert