10 Nov
Could Mars One Colonists Survive? Could Mars One Colonists Survive?

Could Mars One Colonists Survive?

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A group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have their doubts about that.

In a 35-page report that makes use of what's called a Mars Settlement Analysis Tool, the students raise several concerns about the proposed Mars One expedition, which seeks to establish a sustainable colony on the Red Planet.

First off, the students say, the number of calories required for each astronaut doesn't fall in line with the amount of available food at the colony, which means that the colonists would likely die of starvation.

But wait -- can't the colonists simply grow crops indoors to meet their food needs? Possibly, but only as the expense of filling the indoor area with too much oxygen, which needs to be filtered while maintaining nitrogen levels for the sake of air pressure. That technology, the students maintain, simply doesn't  work well enough to be as effective as it would have to be.

Another sticking point is that if no follow-up mission is planned to arrive on Mars within two years of the inaugural one, the first crew will need to haul along an appropriate cache of spare parts. The kicker: That cache would take up as much as 62% of the first mission's payload, the students say.

Mars One's CEO Bas Lansdorp tells Popular Science that the students' estimates were off and were based on incomplete data ("I've talked to very knowledgeable people--experts with companies like Lockheed Martin--who tell me these technologies will work"). However, Lansdorp did acknowledge that the issue of replacement parts poses a challenge.

"They are correct," he said, "The major challenge of Mars One is keeping everything up and running." 

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Read 3309 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:31
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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