Scientists' research concludes that neurotic astronauts not ideal for Martian colony
With human exploration of Mars inching towards becoming a reality, scientists have been researching what are the optimal personality types for such a mission. With getting to Mars taking us to the very limits of what science and technology can achieve, it makes sense that should humans successfully land on Mars the explorers will want to avoid issues arising from the psychology and personality of the astronauts and potentially future settlers.
A team of scientists from George Mason University created computer simulations of a Mars settlements with between 10 and 50 people, which they found to be all that was necessary to get a colony up and running - previous studies had suggested between 100 to 300 would be needed. Each of the simulated settlers were given one of four aggregated personality types and included “agreeables”, ‘socials’, ‘reactives’ and ‘neurotics’. While the simulation did not factor in sexual relationships, it did allow members of the settlement to die or succumb to health issues linked to issues with food supplies or challenges with life support related functions.
Living in a harsh and dangerous environment like Mars inevitably means that there will be conflict among the colonists. After running simulations with multiple models for the equivalent of 28 years, the most likely to survive were the ‘agreeables’ because of their high sociability, low aggression, and low competitiveness, which worked in their favor. The least likely to survive were the ‘neurotics’, whose propensity for being highly competitive and difficulty coping with changes in routine worked against them. Dropping the neurotic personality types also increased the likelihood for the colony to be stable.
The research is yet to be peer reviewed, while the team also notes that the algorithms they ran didn’t accommodate for how people might change over time among other limitations.