The simulation finds a character who wouldn’t do well on Mars
Humans have long dreamed of colonizing Mars. So far, the main hurdles seem to lie in the area of technology. From building spaceships that can make the trip to setting up camp and growing food, sending people to the Red Planet is challenging on so many levels. But then there is also the human factor itself. A study by researchers from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, aimed to determine how many people would be needed for a thriving Mars colony, but they didn’t expect to find a single type of personality that wouldn’t do well on the Red Planet.
The researchers ran several simulations over a period of 28 years to find the ideal number of colony members for the best chance of survival. And unlike a previous study, where 110 people were needed to create a self-sustaining colony, they envisioned an already built Martian society, with energy, food, air and water produced or sourced locally. In their model, the colony would receive a regular supply of land, and new people would arrive upon the death of one of its members to keep everything running efficiently.
Since we humans are not all alike, they created four types of personality to see how their interactions would shape society. There were the “aggressionists”, who lacked competitiveness and aggression; “social”, extroverts who need interactions; “engagementers” or those with a “competitive personality” and “focus on rigid routines”; And finally, the “neurotics,” those who are aggressive and highly competitive and can’t stand boredom and change.
To get their number – taking into account accidents and lack of resources – they gave each member of the colony a life bar that could be depleted. After running their simulations, they came to the conclusion that the minimum number of people required to maintain a colony is 22. But they also noted that the death rate among neurotics was much higher than among their peers.
“The first observed phenomenon occurs in the decline of the Martian population,” the team explained. “While members of a settlement have an equal likelihood of being affected by a settlement’s resource shortages, habitat accidents, or terrestrial navigation disasters, Martians with ‘neurotic’ psychology die at a much higher rate than those with other mental illnesses.”
Also, the fewer neurotics in the colony, the better it will perform. “Martians with high neuropsychological and adaptive capacity benefit the least from interaction with other Martians, and suffer the greatest penalty if they have low adaptive capacity. Our results suggest that this effect is the driver behind the decline of the Martian population, and once it is reduced or Removing it, can lead to a stable settlement.
Although this is only ink on paper, it makes a compelling case for why people with a “neurotic” personality might struggle to succeed in the stressful environment of an extraterrestrial society with so much at stake. However, such findings will certainly help future missions obtain their ideal crew members. Because no matter how advanced our technology is, the people who operate it are, after all, human beings.
A study conducted by researchers from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, aims to determine the number of people needed for a thriving Mars colony…
…but they didn’t expect to find one type of character who wouldn’t do well on the Red Planet.
The “neurotics,” those who are aggressive and highly competitive and cannot handle boredom and change, had a much higher mortality rate than their peers in their simulations.
h/t: (IFL flag)
The Curiosity rover has been climbing a mountain on Mars since 2014
The European Space Agency releases new, high-resolution images of Mars
Four volunteers have entered NASA’s Mars Simulation Program where they will live for more than a year
Stargazers can build the NASA Mars Rover in this new LEGO set