There’s a battle of the brains under way online about just how long the first human colonists to set up a new home on Mars will last on the Red Planet. A group of MIT students have challenged the viability of Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit’s plan to set up a permanent colony on Mars with hearty volunteer astronauts who get a one-way ticket to both the fourth planet from the sun and history.
No one ever said going to Mars on a shoestring budget was likely to be completely safe, but a new analysis of the plans set forth by Mars One makes the prospect of this televised mission seem much more bleak. A group of engineering grad students from MIT have put together a 35-page analysis of Mars One’s plans and found it would take about 68 days on the Red Planet for the first fatalities. That’s not super-encouraging. Mars One plans to send a communication station, rover, and habitat modules to Mars ahead of the human adventurers, with the understanding they will spend the remainder of their lives on the planet. People will be transported every two years in groups of four until there’s a thriving colony on the Red Planet. Mars One plans to have the colonists grow their own food and use the oxygen produced to maintain a breathable atmosphere. However, this is the most significant issue the MIT students identified.