Suppose a highly tectonically active planet, slightly smaller than Earth, has attracted the human race's attention due to its mineral wealth. Its landscape primarily consists of mountain chains, volcanoes, rift valleys, and small regions of magma exposed to the surface, but noticeably lacks in other resources:
- There may be small bodies of water, but there are no major oceans
- Flora and fauna form simple, rudimentary ecosystems or are absent
- Solar radiation is less than that Earth receives from its star, but assume heat from this planet's core, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, etc., ensure it is not uninhabitable due to temperature
- Assume there is soil suitable for growing crops, with the possible exception of water scarcity
A human colony was established on this planet, but contact was lost with their original home after a decade or two, never to be reestablished. Could a population of humans numbering in the hundreds of thousands to millions survive in these conditions after several hundred years? If not, what geographic or ecological features would have to be available locally or have been brought by the initial settlers?
A significant plot point would be that initial attempts to reach the homeworld were unsuccessful, and technology regressed to the point that space travel is no longer considered by subsequent generations.