How many people are needed for the species survival on Mars: scientists voice an unexpected figure

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
The human colony on Mars may be very small

For a successful human colony on Mars, only 22 people should live there. This is almost five times less than previously thought.

This is stated in an article by researchers from George Mason University (USA), which is published on the arXiv preprint site. The material still needs to be reviewed by the scientific community to ensure that the theories set out in it are recognized as correct.

It was previously thought that a colony on Mars would be able to function successfully if 100 people lived there. However, the researchers believe that previous estimates were based on assumptions that were not true.

"We tend to often treat people as numbers or particles, devoid of personal incentives, heterogeneity, and adaptability," Anamaria Berea, an associate professor of computer science and data science at George Mason University and co-author of the study, told The Register.

She is convinced that human groups are complex systems, "where the result is not the sum of the parts but is synergistic." That is, each individual person not only gives his or her own performance but also improves the performance of others in the colony.

"Any social system has the properties of adaptability, emergence, and nonlinear dynamics," Berea said.

At the same time, the researchers expressed doubt that the colony on Mars would be independent of the Earth and suggested that there would be a close connection between the planets.

"The scenario where you can just send X number of people somewhere and just let them survive is very unlikely," she said.

In particular, as the researcher noted, it will be cheaper for the Earth to send supplies to Mars than to send a new batch of colonizers.

During the study, the researchers used a computer modeling technique that assumed that different colonists would have different attributes and perform certain duties.

There was also a weak link. It turned out that neurotics should never be sent to colonize Mars.

"Martians with a 'neurotic' psychology die much faster than those with other psychologies, and as soon as their population (in the colony - Ed.) reaches a sufficiently low level, the settlement population stabilizes," the article says.

In total, five simulations were conducted, each of which lasted 28 years of living on Mars. Based on the results of these simulations, the researchers concluded that 22 people are needed to "maintain a viable colony size in the long term."

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