Only 110 humans would be needed to establish a new civilization on Mars, said a scientist.
The minimum population would be needed to help manufacture tools and goods before supplies run out.
They would have to live in an oxygen-filled dome if we were to step on and live on the red plant.
Agriculture and industry would also have to be set up.
Professor Jean-Marc Salotti made the prediction after conducting research.
The results of the study would ensure that there was no real version of Matt Damon's character in Ridley Scott's box office success, The Martian.
The 2015 film tells how actor Mark Watney's astronaut character gets stuck on Mars after being left behind.
Professor Salotti's scientific article takes us a small step – in the space of a snail – to make cities in space possible.
He said, "What is the feasibility of surviving on another planet and being self-sustainable?
"This issue 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 colonists and the way of life for survival on another planet, using Mars as an example.
"It is based on comparing the time requirements to implement all types of human activities for long-term survival and the settlers' available time.
"An important parameter of the model is called the sharing factor, which allows for some reduction of time requirements per individual if, for example, the activity refers to the construction of an object that can be shared by several individuals.
"For survival on Mars, some assumptions are made for the colonists' organization and engineering issues.
"The minimum number of settlers has been calculated and the result is 110 individuals".
The specialist from the National Polytechnic Institute of Bordeaux says that survival depends on access to natural resources and that people's working time needs are less than their working time capacity.
For example, settlers can produce enough goods and tools before existing supplies run out.
He assumes that Earth's support has been cut off due to war, lack of resources or the settlers declaring an independent Martian republic.
Its factors are the number of settlers, which living conditions are acceptable, the main engineering options for agriculture, industry and life support and how resources would be shared and organized.
Professor Salotti emphasizes that this is a hypothesis using Mars as a case study, "a rough estimate with numerous assumptions and uncertainties".
American billionaire Elon Musk is investing money in his SpaceX program in the hope of one day colonizing Mars.
He recently sent the first commercial rocket carrying astronauts to the international space station.