Just 110 humans would be needed to set up a new civilisation on Mars, a scientist has said.
The minimum population would be needed to help make tools and commodities before supplies run out.
They would have to live in an oxygen-filled dome if we were to set foot and live on the red plant.
Agriculture and industry would also have to be set up.
Professor Jean-Marc Salotti made the prediction after carrying out research.
The study findings would ensure there wouldn’t be a real life version of Matt Damon’s character in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster The Martian.
The 2015 film tells how the actor’s astronaut character Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after being left behind.
Prof Salotti’s scientific paper takes us one small step – at a snail’s space – closer to making cities in space possible.
He said: “What is the feasibility of survival on another planet and being self-sustaining?
“This question is of particular importance for the future of space conquest and perhaps also for the future of humanity in general.
“I show here that a mathematical model can be used to determine the minimum number of settlers and the way of life for survival on another planet, using Mars as the example.
“It is based on the comparison between the time requirements to implement all kinds of human activities for long term survival and the available time of the settlers.
“An important parameter of the model is called the sharing factor, which allows some reduction of time requirements per individual if, for example, the activity concerns the construction of an object that can be shared by several individuals.
“For survival on Mars, some assumptions are made for the organization of the settlers and engineering issues.
“The minimum number of settlers has been calculated and the result is 110 individuals.”
The Bordeaux Institut National Polytechnique expert says survival depends on access to natural resources and people’s working time requirements being less than their working time capacity.
For instance, can settlers produce enough commodities and tools before their existing supplies run out.
He assumes support from Earth has been cut off due to war, a lack of resources, or the settlers declaring an independent Martian republic.
His factors are the number of settlers, what living conditions are acceptable, the main engineering choices for agriculture, industry and life support, and how resources would be shared and organised.
Prof Salotti stresses this is a hypothesis using Mars as a case study, “a rough estimate with numerous assumptions and uncertainties”.
US billionaire Elon Musk is pumping cash into his SpaceX programme in hope of one day colonising Mars.
He recently sent the first commercial rocket carrying astronauts to the international space station.