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Oct 08 2014

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The Mars One concept is unsustainable

So says an MIT analysis.

Some of the key conclusions of the study are that:

  • Mars One’s claim that “no new major developments or inventions are needed” does not withstand scrutiny and that assessment is only for the habitation, life support, in-situ resource utilization and space transportation technologies.   The MIT team notes that they did not address other required systems such as entry, descent and landing (EDL), the power system architecture, or the surface-to-orbit communications strategy.
  • The Mars One estimate of the number of launches needed for the pre-deployment phase is “overly optimistic.”  The best scenario would require 15 Falcon Heavy launches to establish the first crew on Mars according to the MIT analysis.
  • If crops grown on Mars are the only food source, they will “produce unsafe oxygen levels in the habitat” resulting in the first crew fatality after about 68 days due to “suffocation from too low an oxygen partial pressure within the environment,”  the consequence of a complex series of events stemming from overproduction of oxygen by the plants.
  • The MIT team postulated solutions to that problem that are not part of the Mars One plan (e.g. relying on stored food brought from Earth, creating a separate plant growing facility, or using yet-to-be invented oxygen removal technology).  If a way were found to sustain a Mars One habitat for 130 months, the paper concludes that spare parts would require 62 percent of the mass brought from Earth over that period of time.

Yeah…this is why I was never interested in signing up. I’ve always said, “Offer me 40 acres and a mule on Mars, and I’m gone.” The assumption, of course, is that me and Bessy would live longer than 68 days.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/08/the-mars-one-concept-is-unsustainable/

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