(ORDO NEWS) — In order for the colony to function so far from Earth, everything must be thought out very carefully. Including how many people need it to work.
A new study sets the minimum number of settlers to 110 people.
A new study is called “The minimum number of settlers to survive on another planet.” Posted by Jean-Marc Salotti, Professor, Bordeaux National Institute of Polytechnic Research. His article is published in Scientific Reports.
Obviously, there is a lot to think about when it comes to any stable presence on another planet. How will people be organized? What equipment will they bring? How will they extract resources locally? What skills do you need?
The study mainly focuses on one question: how many people are needed? Salotti writes: “I show that a mathematical model can be used to determine the minimum number of settlers and lifestyles to survive on another planet, using Mars as an example.
SpaceX claims that the proposed interplanetary spacecraft can deliver 100 people to Mars. Elon Musk spoke of creating a fleet of them, so that a stream of resources constantly flows to Mars. But is it real?
“However,” writes Salotti, “this is an optimistic assessment of the possibilities, the possibility of reuse remains uncertain, and creating a vehicle to land on Mars and restart from Mars can be very difficult and take several decades.”
A similar dynamic hovers over other parts of the discussion of the colonization of Mars. For example, many researchers thought about extracting resources on the spot.
Gases can be extracted from the atmosphere, and minerals from the soil. On-site resource extraction can provide organic compounds, iron, and even glass.
Even if we give the opportunity to implement these ideas, “the complexity of the implementation is not well understood, and the number of items sent per year will still be a huge problem,” writes Salotti.
In essence, the Salotti equation comes down to time. How much time is needed to survive versus how much time is available. The effective number of people needed to balance the equation of time is 110.
“A comparison between the necessary working time to satisfy all the survival needs and the working capacity of people,” he concludes.
If someday a human colony appears on Mars in the future, then we need to develop working models that will guide our thinking and our planning.
“As far as we know, this is the first estimate of the minimum number of people needed to survive a colony based on technical constraints,” says Salotti.
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