Mars One, a Netherlands-based nonprofit organization, continues to pursue its plan to be the pioneer in establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet, expressing the project's need to be funded by a billionaire.
The debate, held on Aug. 13, was a discussion on Mars One between Bas Lansdorp, Mars One co-founder and CEO, and Barry Finger, chief engineer and director of life support systems for Paragon Space Development Corporation, against Sydney Do and Andrew Owens, MIT students who created a 2014 report on the infeasibility of Mars One at the 65th International Astronautical Congress in Toronto, Canada, The Verge reports.
The debate took place at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. and is the first time Lansdorp has directly responded to the scrutiny of the two MIT undergraduates.
The MIT students stand by their point that the living conditions that Mars One aims to provide on the red planet - food production, cabin pressure, habitat construction - are infeasible, given its current budget and time-frame, and would probably kill the first few astronauts sent out for the mission.
Lansdorp responds to the arguments by saying that the only thing holding back Mars One is funding. If the project has the funding it needs today, it can start immediately start commissioning the technical studies and negotiations with suppliers.
Mars One "is so ambitious and - I think 'crazy' is the right word - that we might actually get a phone call from a billionaire who says, 'I want to make this happen. I want the first city on Mars to be called Gatesville or Slim City," Lansdorp said, presumably referring to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, according to Space.
Lansdorp admits that the budget could inflate two or three times its current size, but he is confident that cost won't matter to investors.
The project's worries lies on the risks, like if a rocket explodes, or if another company beats Mars One to the red planet, Business Insider reports.