Mars, the red planet, has long been at the center of the human imagination. Scientists and astronauts dream of the day when we set up the first colony there. But what if we told you that you only needed 22 people to get started? Would you be among them?
Have you ever laid on a lawn, watched the stars and dreamed of life on another planet? Well, scientists say that to establish the first colonies on Mars only 22 people were needed. But the question is, would you be among them?
The latest research claims that for colonization of Mars a group of people the size of a football team was sufficient. But what if the star of this team is your aunt who never leaves her kitchen? If you've ever thought about moving because of loud neighbors, it is Mars maybe the right destination for you! According to a new study, only 22 people would be enough to colonize Mars. But before you start packing your bags and selling your vinyl collection, read the fine print.
Research published in Live Science, supports an agent-based model (or ABM for those of you who like acronyms) that predicts how many people it would actually take to become real Martians. While the idea of a new life far away from your nosy neighbors may be enticing, wait until you hear about the personalities you'd have as neighbors on Mars.
They found that your new Martian neighbors should be "friendly" (not too competitive or aggressive), "sociable" (always up for a chat over coffee), "reactive" (who might not react well to your new Martian hairdresser ) and “neurotic” (which you can interpret however you want). The model ran a sort of “Mars reality show” where it changed the number of each personality while performing key tasks such as mining on Mars or farming. The conclusion? If you're surrounded by friends who love to chat, you'd only need 22 people.
But before you get too excited, here are a few caveats. The study assumes that yours will home on Mars already set up. So if you thought you were going to build your own Martian residence, think again. The study also assumes that you have electricity for seven years and that you DHL delivers directly to Mars (actually regular supplies from Earth, but let's be real).
Jean-Marc Salotti, a researcher who is clearly not part of the "social", believes that 22 people is simply not enough. According to his findings, at least 110 people would be needed to successfully colonize Mars. And if you skipped math class, that's a lot more than 10 p.m.
Finally, if you have been thinking about taking the Mars had a family, here is some bad news. Salotti warns that the descendants of those 22 people could be in trouble.
The conclusion? Perhaps the idea of moving to Mars with only 21 other people, but it may not be time to take such a big step for humanity. Who knows, maybe one day you will actually invite your friends to a picnic on the Red Planet. Don't forget sun protection!
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