22 people is the minimum required to establish a human colony on Mars, according to a new study. These analyzes were based on computer simulations. The researchers also determined which personality types are best suited to a long-term stay on the Red Planet.
The description and results of the research have been published in the “arXiv” preprint database (DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2308.05916).
colony on Mars
In the context of a manned mission to Mars, or later to a colony, to which this mission will contribute, various factors have already been analysed. Even a few decades ago, it was thought which of the two sexes would handle better in such a situation? (Similar research was repeated this year and can be read more about in the text: New research suggests that a manned mission to Mars should be entirely female). This time, scientists decided to analyze the question of how many people should be the minimum number of this first human colony on Mars in order for them to work efficiently on an ongoing basis?
This problem has been addressed by researchers at George Mason University. Determining this number is important. It is one of those things that need to be thoroughly analyzed before establishing such a colony. In any case, it is equally important to identify the types of personalities who would be most suitable to participate in such a task. In the process, methods are also developed to overcome other potential difficulties that these colonists may encounter.
Computer modeling has been shown to be useful in searching for answers to these questions. In order to develop it, data and information collected during previous space flights were used. In particular, this applies even to the questionnaires that were filled out by the crew members of the International Space Station. On the other hand, information collected in places where people stay without contact with the outside world for a long time has also proven useful. The perfect example here is, for example, some Arctic regions and people who work in isolation at local research stations.
The first colonists
Scientists ran a total of five simulations, each of which was supposed to represent the operation of a Martian colony over 28 Earth years. Meanwhile, various factors affecting its current performance have also been adjusted. One of the main factors was the number of people living in it. Thus, it turns out that at least 22 people should live in such a colony. This is the minimum number.
During the research, attempts were also made to take into account and identify specific personality traits that could have an impact on the functioning of the colony. This includes eg. Stress resistance, level of neuroticism, or social skills.
In the above context it was found that – which would not be surprising to anyone – people who are above all friendly, and strive for agreement, should be preferred here. It will not only ensure the survival of the mission, but also its development. On the other hand, when searching for potential participants, neurotic people should be omitted. It turns out that they can negatively affect the colony itself.
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