The outrageous plan to make reality TV stars the first humans to walk on Mars could end with the poor people dying within a couple of months of arriving, according to academics, who claim having plants and humans breathing the same air will end in a televised Martian crisis.
The MIT team says [PDF] that the problem with the current plan is due to oxygen levels in the living space, which will grow dangerously high due to having crops in the same buildings as the people. They say there's no reliable way of lowering oxygen levels without also filtering out essential nitrogen, so air quality will reach critical level after just 63 days on the planet.
Hence people will start dying. But on TV and on Mars, so it's not all bad for them. Might be a bit weird for viewers, though, knowing something on TV ends with the contestants inevitably dying, even if it's only of old age.
The CEO of the Mars One project has responded to the claims in an online comment, saying: "There are many problems between today and landing humans on Mars, but oxygen removal is certainly not one of them." [MIT [PDF] via Cnet]