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How many people would it take to run a long-term Mars station? (Spoiler alert: surprisingly few)

  1. Current events

In a recent study, a team of experts from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, have concluded that only 22 colonists are enough to survive on Mars, which is a surprisingly low number compared to the previous estimates of at least 100 colonists.


According to co-author Anamaria Berea, human groups are complex systems where the outcome is not the sum of its parts, but synergistic. The team also considered a close “relationship between Earth and the habitat on Mars,” meaning that such a colony likely would not be independent.

The scientists used agent-based modeling to assign various attributes to computer-simulated colonists. Virtual colonists performed various tasks to ensure the survival of a full-fledged Martian colony.

Five different computer model runs for a period lasting 28 years showed that the minimum number of colonists required is 22 to “maintain a viable colony size over the long run.”

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