• A study revealed the minimum number of people needed to start a Mars colony
  • The study's author based his calculations on survival factors on Mars
  • The figure coincides with the capacity of SpaceX's Starship rocket

A new study revealed the minimum number of people needed to start a functioning and self-sustaining human colony on Mars.

The study was conducted by Jean-Marc Salotti of France’s Bordeaux Institut National Polytechnique. It was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

According to Salotti, establishing a human colony on the Red Planet would require a minimum number of people. Based on his calculations, the space expert believes that 110 individuals will be needed to start a self-sustaining outpost on Mars.

Salotti came up with this figure by formulating a mathematical model for the number of people needed to establish a functioning colony on Mars. As explained in his study, the mathematical model covers a variety of factors, such as the local resources available on Mars and production capacity, which is the number of survival items that can be produced on the Red Planet.

Salotti then developed a mathematical formula that calculated the number of people needed in order to meet these factors.

“The minimum number of individuals for survival depends on their capacity to produce essential objects and consumables using local resources,” Salotti stated in the study. “The initial state of the settlement is very important because large quantities of resources and modern tools may help a lot in developing industries and achieving a viable state.”

Salotti explained that having 110 people on Mars is enough to carry out the necessary tasks that are focused on developing the economy. Also, 110 is the ideal number of people to use resources on Mars without depleting their supplies.

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

The space expert’s calculations coincide with current plans regarding human missions to Mars. For instance, private space tech firm SpaceX is currently working on a launch vehicle known as Starship. It is designed to transport humans to Mars in the future.

According to the details released by SpaceX, Starship will be a fully reusable rocket that is capable of ferrying around 100 individuals to Mars, CNBC reported.

Mars Global Surveyor Artist Concept
An artist concept of NASA Mars Global Surveyor MGS flying over Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech