A recent study proposes a novel idea: colonizing Mars with only 22 people. But there’s a catch. Those 22 individuals need to have the right personality types. The researchers designed a computer program for their study using an agent-based model.
This model predicts the number of people necessary to sustain a Mars colony. They considered four personality types: agreeables, socials, reactives, and neurotics. Then, they carried out simulations with differing numbers of each type executing critical tasks.
The study found that a mere 22 people could uphold a colony if most were agreeable or social. However, including more reactive or neurotics meant larger groups became necessary. This finding is crucial as the first Martian colonies must be small. After all, more people and equipment mean higher costs.
Of course, this study has its drawbacks. It assumed someone else built the infrastructure and arranged for regular Earth supplies. They also considered a lifespan of just 28 years for the colony, with the success criterion being that at least ten people survive.
Jean-Marc Salotti, an astronautics researcher, shared his skepticism. He believes that 22 people could not build or sustain a fully functioning colony. He concedes that the group might stay alive for a limited period but rules out their thriving. Salotti had previously suggested a minimum of 110 people after his research.
On another front, Salotti appreciates the consideration of different personality types but labels it an oversimplification. A thriving colony, according to him, requires diverse knowledge and skills. Additionally, there’s the issue of the gene pool. With just 22 people, inbreeding hazards increase, reducing resilience and disease risk.
In conclusion, the theory of a 22-person Mars colony remains debatable. Detailed scientific scrutiny and feedback will ultimately shape the reality of Martian colonization.