Space expert says 110 people is 'minimum number' to start life on Mars

By Chris Ciaccia | Fox News

If you’ve ever wondered how many people it will take to start a new civilization on Mars, you’ve got your answer.

At least 110.

Space expert Jean-Marc Salotti estimates it will take at least that many people to start a new civilization on the Red Planet, according to a study he published earlier this month.

This artist’s concept shows the Mars Helicopter on the Martian surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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“For survival on Mars, some assumptions are made for the organization of the settlers and engineering issue,” Salotti wrote in the study’s abstract. “The minimum number of settlers has been calculated and the result is 110 individuals.”

The study has been published in Scientific Reports.

By having at least 110 people, a figure Salotti concedes is a “relatively low number,” it would allow for enough objects and commodities to be shared by people without having supplies run out.

The study notes that Earth may be of no help to the Martian civilization, citing a number of different factors.

“In case of war on Earth, important space sector infrastructures may be destroyed, causing a long term interruption in space travel,” added Salotti, who hails from France’s Bordeaux Institut National Polytechnique.

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“It could also happen that a conflict occurs between the terrestrial governments and the settlers and, later on, a group declares independence and tries to survive on its own. Another reason could be the will of a new government to stop the settlement process because of the never-ending increasing cost.”

Similar to the 2015 movie, “The Martian,” Salotti assumes the inhabitants will live in an oxygen-filled dome (there is no atmosphere on Mars) and grow plants in greenhouses that are made of glass with reflectors to provide “sufficient light.”

This image of InSight’s seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In order to create “an appropriate soil” for plants, Salotti wrote a mixture of rocks, salts, water and “organic wastes and decomposers (insects and microorganisms)” are needed.”Water will be extracted from icy terrain and recycled using natural filters,” he added.

Earlier this month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote a letter to his employees that the company’s top priority is its Starship rocket, a reusable rocket that could be capable of flying 100 people to Mars.

In the past, Musk has proposed the idea of “nuking” the Red Planet to make it livable, an idea he reiterated last year. The tech exec has also said there is a “70 percent chance” he would move to Mars.

NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. Prior to that, the space agency will send the Perseverance rover to the Red Planet next month in hopes of detecting any fossilized evidence of extraterrestrial beings, in addition to other tasks.

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