The Mars One mission that hopes to put colonists on Mars by 2024 will fail, at least according to MIT researchers.
After looking over data about the Mars One mission and examining available technology, MIT feels that 2024 is too soon for setting up a permanent colony on Mars with humans.
In fact, MIT's prediction of how the mission will go is morbid, stating that colonists will die within 68 days, either from suffocation, starvation or incineration. These statements don't paint a pretty picture for Mars One.
The Mars One plan is an ambitious one. The not-for-profit organization from the Netherlands is putting together what it believes is a realistic goal to send human volunteers on a one-way flight to Mars to live out the rest of their days on the red planet. Even more ambitiously, the organization plans to do it in 2024, all the while documenting the entire event as a reality television series.
MIT, though, says it won't work, unless, of course, the idea is to present a very macabre television series to the public. To start with, colonists will not get ready supplies sent to them, so they'll need to live on the resources provided at the beginning of their journey and what's available on Mars. This means that they'll have to plant food, but plants give off a lot of oxygen. Too much oxygen inside a single unit might result in explosion. And there is no current technology for venting oxygen, without also venting nitrogen. But the colonists need the nitrogen for pressurizing the pods.
This means that the colonists' air will eventually thin out and they'll suffocate. MIT estimates the first human on Mars will die in 68 days.
However, that's not the only hazard with the Mars One plan. Colonists will also starve because the current Mars One mission information does not account for enough calories to feed everyone sufficiently. There's also a chance of dehydration, for the same reason, along with carbon dioxide poisoning and death by incineration after a major oxygen-boosted explosion.
The Mars One plan involves sending four colonists first, and then shuttling more groups later. MIT's paper points out that this will cause even more problems, because more colonists means more demand on resources, such as food. This will also cause more wear-and-tear on equipment. This also means that the project will easily cost at least tens of billions of dollars, and, unfortunately, Mars One doesn't have that much source of income.
Of course, Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One, says that the MIT report is wrong and that the technology for concentrating oxygen already exists, keeping the oxygen levels stable and preventing most of these issues.
"There are many problems between today and landing humans on Mars, but oxygen removal is certainly not one of them," says Lansdorp.