Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says.
Oxygen levels would be unstable after about two months and scientists said new technologies were needed before humans could permanently settle on Mars, according to the study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Scientists found crops needed to feed the settlers would produce unsafe levels of oxygen that, if untreated by nitrogen, would set off a series of events that would cause humans to suffocate within an estimated 68 days.
The study also revealed that replacement parts would cause issues.
Co-author Andrew Owens told MIT News: “If you want a spare part on Mars, you have to send it when a launch window is open, every 26 months, and then wait 180 days for it to get there.”
He said manufacturing spare parts would be more feasible – if the technology needed to make spare parts on Mars actually existed.
The search for the first Mars One crew began in April 2013, where more than 200,000 people registered for the program. Eventually only four will be chosen for permanent settlement. The program then hopes to expand the colony, delivering new crews every two years.
Olivier de Weck, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems, told MIT News while the prospect of humans in space is exciting, today’s technologies aren’t sustainable for life on Mars.
“We’re not saying, black and white, Mars One is infeasible,” de Weck says. “But we do think it’s not really feasible under the assumptions they’ve made. We’re pointing to technologies that could be helpful to invest in with high priority, to move them along the feasibility path.”