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MIT: Mars One (And Done?)

According to student researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) the ambitious Mars One plan by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp designed to send the first colonists to Mars next decade is fraught with faults. The Mars One proposal has been previously criticized for not being realistic. The MIT Team’s news study, promoted on PopSci, concludes that the Mars One explorers will meet their end in approximately 68 days.

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Mars One/Image: EyongDenis/MarsOne

The Mars One project, which will include 25 to 40 volunteers, would be a one-way trip in more ways than one.  The students at MIT ran a simulation as part of their study of the Mars One proposal. Some unexpected problems arose.

One of the first concerns is related to oxygen. Volunteers would be expected to grow their own crops. They would need machines to vent any excess oxygen without the loss of nitrogen which is essential for constant air pressure. The technology they would use, however, has yet to be tested off planet.

There could also be issues with their urine-recycling system. It actually broke down on the ISS (International Space Station).

Finally, unless they send off a resupply launch in the next two years, a significant amount of the initial Mars One payload would consist of spare parts. They note: “A spare parts analysis revealed that spare parts quickly come to dominate resupply mass as the settlement grows: after 130 months on the Martian surface, spare parts compose 62 percent of the mass brought from Earth to the Martian surface.”

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One Way Astronaut/Image: MarsOne

Lansdorp told Popular Science that he believes the MIT team’s findings are wrong. He said: “I’ve talked to very knowledgeable people – experts with companies like Lockheed Martin – who tell me these technologies will work.”

He does confess that some aspects of their study, most notably, a lack of resupplies, could be a concern. He concluded: “We don’t believe what we have designed is the best solution. It’s a good solution. The major challenge of Mars One is keeping everything up and running.”

MIT: Mars One (And Done?)


About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.