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22 People Could Start a Colony on Mars, New Study Finds

22 People Could Start a Colony on Mars
Experts propose that it could take just 22 people to start a colony on Mars. Credit: NASA / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

A recent study has found that around two dozen astronauts are sufficient for establishing and maintaining a Mars colony. This latest research challenges earlier beliefs that about a hundred people would be required. The study indicates that this smaller group can effectively support a living environment on Mars.

Scientists, including those from George Mason University in the United States, took a look at past studies. These studies had estimated that anywhere from one hundred to five hundred astronauts might be necessary to establish a self-sufficient colony on Mars.

A new analysis, which has not yet been reviewed by other experts in the field, was published on arXiv. In this study, researchers also considered how people interact socially and psychologically, along with the need for ongoing interactions. Based on this additional information, researchers propose a different estimate. The efforts of twenty-two individuals might suffice for such a project.

Mars settlers will be dependent on Earth resupply

After many years of exploration carried out by space agencies worldwide, it has been ascertained that constructing a human settlement on Mars presents an exceedingly intricate engineering challenge.

Furthermore, due to unwelcoming conditions on the Red Planet, any habitat constructed there must primarily rely on its own systems to sustain itself, according to scientists.

In addition to extracting essential minerals and water through mining, individuals settling on the Red Planet in the future will rely on both shipments from Earth and the advanced ability to produce what is needed directly on Mars.

This involves utilizing sophisticated technology, for example, to separate water on Mars into oxygen for breathing purposes and hydrogen for fuel.

The presumed colonists will also need to face psychological and human behavior difficulties, as highlighted by researchers.

Use of Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) for behavior analysis

In this new study, data scientists aimed to gain greater insight into behavioral and psychological dynamics among potential Mars settlers.

“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,” researchers mentioned in the study.

To conduct their analysis, scientists examined past data pertaining to well-performing teams operating in secluded and demanding surroundings, such as on submarines, Arctic expeditions, and the international space station.

They made use of this information in creating a representation of the various types of interactions occurring among individuals with four distinct psychological profiles.

They used a computer simulation method known as Agent-Based Modeling (ABM). This technique is utilized in the study of intricate systems to foresee the emergence of broader patterns and phenomena by employing straightforward rules and behaviors.

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