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How many humans are needed to start a colony on Mars?



A new study has determined that only 110 people are needed to help build a functioning and self-sustaining human colony on Mars.

The study, conducted by Prof. Jean-Marc Salotti of France’s Bordeaux Institute National Polytechnique, found that this number of humans could be enough to create the tools and supplies needed to establish a civilization on the red planet.

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

The study, published June 16 in the scientific journal Nature, found that having 110 people on Mars is the ideal number of people to use resources on the planet without depleting supplies.

Salotti came up with this figure using a mathematical model to determine “the feasibility of survival on another planet.” According to the study, the model was based on the relation between the time requirements for implementing enterprises necessary for long-term survival and the available time of the settlers.

The study assumed that the number of resources the settlers could bring from Earth would be limited and survival on Mars would primarily rely on “available local resources,” such as gas, liquid, or a mineral, in addition to human “production capacity.”

“The minimum number of individuals for survival depends on their capacity to produce essential objects and consumables using local resources,” Salotti said. “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 the settlers would have to live in an oxygen-filled dome where they would build their own agricultural industry to sustain life on the planet.

In order for the settlers to survive, the study said their capacity to work must be more than the amount of time required to build tools. Their survival would also depend on organization within the group, and their capacity to share, which would help settlers become more efficient in dividing up work, according to Salotti.

However, he cautioned that the small community would still come with risks.

The study reported that the civilization could collapse due to infertility, inbreeding, sudden deaths, accident, random events, fighting between individuals, lack of resources and loss of efficiency.

“This is especially true at the beginning of the settlement, as any accident could dramatically reduce the production capacity. In order to mitigate the risks, it will therefore be important to start with large amounts of resources and spare parts,” Salotti said.

The study also accounted for possible situations where support from Earth may suddenly be cut off due to reasons such as war, or if the settlement declared independence and tried to survive as its own regime.

While the calculation is hypothetical, Salotti said the study marks the “first quantitative assessment of the minimum number of individuals for survival based on engineering constraints.” He added that his work suggests that human habitation of a new planet may be easier than previously thought.

The study’s findings coincide with SpaceX’s current plans regarding human missions into space.

Earlier this month SpaceX became the first private company to send people into orbit as one of the first steps in U.S. tech billionaire Elon Musk’s goal to start a civilization on Mars.

Source:- CTV News

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Comet NEOWISE Has Suddenly Become Visible to the Unaided Eye – SciTechDaily



Image Credit & Copyright: Maroun Habib (Moophz)

A comet has suddenly become visible to the unaided eye. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered in late March and brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, late last week.

The interplanetary iceberg survived solar heating, so far, and is now becoming closer to the Earth as it starts its long trek back to the outer Solar System. As Comet NEOWISE became one of the few naked-eye comets of the 21st Century, word spread quickly, and the comet has already been photographed behind many famous sites and cities around the globe.

Featured, Comet NEOWISE was captured over Lebanon two days ago just before sunrise. The future brightness of Comet NEOWISE remains somewhat uncertain but the comet will likely continue to be findable not only in the early morning sky, but also next week in the early evening sky.

Related: Skywatching Tip for July 2020 from NASA

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Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study – Medicine Hat News



By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press on July 7, 2020.

A grizzly bear roams an exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo, closed for nearly three months because of the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Seattle. Grizzly bears are doing their best to get along with people, but it still isn’t enough. Newly published research assessing more than 40 years of data concludes that without large wilderness areas to replenish their numbers, the bears would disappear from landscapes they share with humans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson

EDMONTON – Grizzly bears are doing their best to get along with people, but it still isn’t enough.

Newly published research concludes that without large wilderness areas to replenish their numbers, grizzlies would disappear from landscapes they share with humans.

“The persistence of bears near people, when we see them along highways or near towns, they’re really propped up by the fact they exist near some sort of secure wilderness,” said Clayton Lamb, a University of Alberta biologist and lead author of a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers found bears in populated areas in Alberta and British Columbia have even changed how they hunt in an attempt to share living space with humans.

“The bears are doing what they can,” Lamb said. “The difference might have to be made up by us.”

The study set out to examine an emerging phenomenon in wildlife conservation – large carnivores re-establishing themselves on mixed landscapes including cities, highways, rural communities and patchworks of natural habitat.

It digested 41 years worth of mortality, movement and demography among 2,669 grizzlies over nearly 400,000 square kilometres of British Columbia.

It found mortality has increased steeply with the amount of human impact measured through an index that includes human population, land use, infrastructure, coastlines, roads, railroads and navigable rivers.

Deaths have outnumbered births and the difference is being made up through emigration of young grizzlies from nearby wilderness. For every point the index increases, a local bear population must increase the number of individuals it draws by about two per cent.

“Grizzly bear range is quite tied to the distance from some secure piece of wilderness,” said Lamb.

That’s despite the grizzlies’ efforts to adapt to humans. The study found young, newly arrived bears gradually learned ways to avoid contact, such as hunting and gathering at night.

Adolescent bears in areas dominated by humans have increased their nocturnal time by up to three per cent annually, which has led to corresponding increases in survival. The cost, however, is steep.

The scientists found it takes 14 years for a grizzly to learn how to co-exist with humans. For every bear that makes it, 29 don’t.

“A lot of those bears would have been born on a mountaintop 10 kilometres away and lived with mom in an avalanche chute and lived a normal bear life,” Lamb said.

“Then they find a home near town and get lured in by an apple tree. The gauntlet they have to run is very difficult.”

The study shows that high mortality has impacts far from where the deaths take place. Bears dying in mixed-used areas draws more grizzlies from the wilderness to take their place.

“Conflicts with people have rippling effects on (bear) populations far removed,” Lamb said.

Highway overpasses are one good way to reduce deaths, he suggests. But humans living with bears have to get better at removing attractants such as roadkill or fruit trees to end the bears’ constant, often fatal, migration from the wilderness.

“We’re not quite there,” said Lamb. “The system relies quite heavily on adjacent wilderness.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020

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Odd pink snow in the Alps is pretty, but it might also be a red flag – CNET



Pink Snow as seen in the Presena glacier.

Miguel Medina/Getty Images

Pink snow, also called “watermelon snow,” has appeared at the Presena glacier in northern Italy, according to researcher Biagio Di Mauro of the Institute of Polar Sciences at Italy’s National Research Council. While it’s not uncommon for the Italian alps to be “pretty in pink” in spring and summer, scientists become cautious when the phenomenon, which is caused by algae, starts happening more frequently. 

Di Mauro told CNN that 2020’s lack of snowfall and higher temperatures have nurtured the algae’s growth. More algae could lead to ice melting faster.

When Di Mauro tweeted clarification for an article from The Guardian, he said the algae was probably Chlamydomonas nivalis, a snow algae. He also said the algae’s relationship with climate change hasn’t been proven yet. 

Di Mauro tweeted photos of the pink snow on Monday.

Across the ocean, in late May, Antarctica reported green snow, caused by microscopic algae. Though microscopic, the green blooms could be spotted by satellites. The color might also have connections with the impact of warming climates, researchers said.

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