Plan to colonise Mars collapses into bankruptcy

Mars One Ventures sought funding in Dubai, wanted to build a training base in the emirate and listed two UAE residents as potential Mars colonisers
Plan to colonise Mars collapses into bankruptcy
The company’s plans date back to 2012, when it first announced it was planning regular manned missions to Mars, which would be supplied with cargo flights from earth.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 12 Feb 2019 09:34 AM

Mars One Ventures’ plans to put colonists on Mars by 2023 have come to a halt after the UK-based company was declared bankrupt and dissolved in January, according to media reports.

According to a notice from the civil court of Basel, Switzerland, the UK company – one of two behind the project – was declared bankrupt with less than $25,000 in its accounts.

The company’s plans date back to 2012, when it first announced it was planning regular manned missions to Mars, which would be supplied with cargo flights from earth.

At the time, founder Bas Lansdorp said that the project would fund itself through a reality TV show, with people around the world watching the candidates train and eventually take off for the red planet.

“Our business case is clear: investors will get an ROI from the extremely valuable media exposure – and Google hits – of a never-been-done-before human mission to Mars,” he said in a 2015 interview with Arabian Business.

“This is one of the most ambitious projects of all time and when we explain our plan to potential investors they are really impressed.”


Mars One Ventures founder Bas Lansdorp

Questions soon arose regarding the feasibility of the project. A 2014 study report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded – among a wide range of criticisms – that the Mars settlers would likely die of suffocation within the first 68 days of the mission.

The project was repeatedly pushed back because of delays in funding, with Lansdorp travelling to Dubai several times to meet with prospective investors. In 2016, the company was acquired by Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed investment firm InFin Innovative Finance AG for $96.1 million.

Following a highly publicised recruitment campaign, in 2015 the company also announced a shortlist of 100 would-be Mars colonists, including two based in the UAE.

Additionally, Lansdorp told local media outlets that he was planning for Dubai to be one of several training outposts for the astronauts.

“There are a lot of other places we can use, but Dubai has the kind of climate that helps the crew during training,” he said. “We need to create an atmosphere similar to Mars and Dubai would be an ideal place to do that.”

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