MIT study claims astronauts on Mars One mission would probably not survive

Contributed by
Oct 13, 2014

One of the most intriguing options to hopefully get humanity to Mars by 2025 aims to turn the entire mission into a reality TV series — but there might be a few kinks with the master plan.

The Mars One mission, which essentially puts a Big Brother-style spin on space exploration, is pitched as an initiative using existing technology to send 25-40 astronauts on a one-way mission to the Red Planet to (hopefully) establish a permanent human colony.

Though we’re obviously excited to see a unique approach employed to potentially get us into space, and the initiative has netted an astounding 200,000 applicants to participate (the plan is for those to be whittled down to a few dozen by 2025) — a new study from MIT has noted some potentially fatal flaws in the mission plan.

According to Popular Science, the study was conducted by a group of MIT students in a research group specializing in large-scale multibillion-dollar space programs. Essentially, the team simulated the mission using all available data — and found the current plan would probably kill just about everyone. 

The study looked at fail rates and records from the International Space Station (ISS) to determine how often necessary tech would likely fall apart or break after being used on Mars. It also looked at the viability of carbon dioxide scrubbers and the proposal to grow food and produce oxygen through the use of greenhouses.

All good ideas, but according to the study, the tech would probably fail beyond repair and the greenhouse oxygen would make the base extremely susceptible to massive fires. Oh, and along with that, there’s also a fairly high likelihood the team would starve to death on Mars. Oops.

To his credit, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp told Popular Science he has looked at the findings and believes the study has some flaws, noting that he’s talked to experts who tell him the technology they plan to employ “will work.” He also noted that an unmanned craft would likely follow the first team a few weeks after launch, providing additional supplies and replacement parts for anything that might have failed.

Regardless, with this being a one-way trip, anyone applying has to realize this won’t be an easy trip — and that’s taking the insanely optimistic stance that this mission ever makes it off the ground. At least they should have a decade to work out the kinks. What do you think? Can Mars One succeed?

(Via Popular Science)

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