How many people would it take to colonize the planet Mars?

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We hardly noticed it, but 2020 is remarkably dominated by NASA's promising mission on Mars. And in addition to the United States, China, Europe and Russia they also have their arrows pointing at the red planet.

Colonizing the planet Mars today seems like a simple script for a science fiction movie. But if this were to happen one day, how many people would it take to send the Red Planet to successfully colonize? Not too much, because the means of survival would end quickly. But not too little, because the production capacity would be too limited. Jean-Marc Salotti, professor at the Bordeaux Polytechnic Institute (INP), calculated the perfect balance and published his result in the journal Scientific Reports.

It is the first planet that could be colonized. Many scientists are intrigued by this question: what exactly would such an experiment look like? In a recent study, researchers studied the exact number of people needed to successfully colonize Mars.

It is impossible to colonize Mars on your own. In fact, after landing on the red planet and traveling for about 500 days, explorers would be very hungry and thirsty. They could use the food on board the spacecraft, but that supply will have been drastically reduced and cannot be undefined. Therefore, they will have to gather their own reserves of water, food and energy quickly.

Approximate estimation

The ideal number of people to do this is 110 people. These would specialize in maintaining vital oxygen and food facilities. "Because there are more people, they may specialize effectively," said Jean-Marc Salotti.

Why exactly 110 people are needed? "The figure is based on a mathematical equation between the working time necessary to satisfy all survival needs and the working time capacity of individuals," says the scientist. "This is a rough estimate with many assumptions and uncertainties." Thus, there is still work to be done before colonizing Mars.

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