Imagine this: You are out to buy taco on the blockchain, it’s a normal day and suddenly there’s an asteroid strike and baam! just like that you’re gone! Well, all that is fine and dandy but what about the rest of the humans? If we have a space ark that can safeguard us from the wrath of the cosmos by sending us off to another god forsaken planet, how many humans should it really take?
Truth be told, we are actually very vulnerable to cataclysms from space up above and it is very much possible that one gigantic asteroid might just show up and declare death! Let’s not forget that it has happened before. Remember the Dinosaurs? Probably not.
Frédéric Marin an astrophysicist from University of Strasbourg has been thinking in this intriguing direction. He isn’t thinking of ways to make an elysium like space habitat, but as to how many humans we need to keep our species going. Marin is researching on the estimate number of homo sapiens needed for an interstellar voyage that might last dozens of generations?
Marin, in his spare time, decided to write a code for calculating exactly this. The program is called HERITAGE and it is built to simulate the risks a space-faring population would face, including the effects of inbreeding and the possibility of catastrophic events like a deadly pandemic or being hit by some celestial object. See for yourself here.
“Our results apply to any enclosed environment where emigration and immigration are not possible, the same elements are essential for any self-sustaining colony, so our code can easily compute the survival rate of a group of humans after a local or global catastrophe as well.”
– Frederic Marin
So, What’s it gonna be?
98. Just 98. The number of people Alexander Dennis Enviro400s bus can hold, is all we need to keep our generation going for 6000 more years. Kinda hurts, doesn’t it? Just 0.0000014% of all of us are absolutely needed. Although the ark can be modified to take even 500 of us, but that’s not comforting at all. Actually, even if we can’t take assurance in the fact that most of us really aren’t even required, we can find peace in the notion that there is a possibility that humanity will probably continue its existence no matter what.