A startup that pledged to send humans on a potentially fatal one-way trip to Mars seems to have found a last-minute lifeline to save it from bankruptcy.
Mars One announced Tuesday that it’s in talks with ‘a new investment company’ that may be able to rescue it from insolvency.
The announcement doesn’t state who Mars One’s mystery investor is, but says the investor will make its plans public at a press conference on March 6th.
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Mars One announced on Tuesday that it’s in talks with ‘a new investment company’ that may be able to rescue it from insolvency. The announcement doesn’t say who the mystery investor is
A bankruptcy notice indicates that Mars One Ventures was declared bankrupt by the city of Basel, Switzerland, where it’s based out of. The organization has since been dissolved
WHAT ARE THE RISKS WITH MARS ONE?
MIT researchers conducted a feasibility study around Mars One’s plan to send five humans to the red planet.
It dealt the team a crushing blow when it found the colonists would begin dying in 68 days.
Here are some of the risks outlined:
- Food shortages – Based on Mars One’s mission plan, the students say the colonists would ultimately starve on Mars due to a lack of food.
- Habitats at risk of explosion – The colony planned to grow their own crops, but this would generate too much oxygen in the air. As a result, it would create a highly flammable environment.
- High humidity – Humidity would likely be near 100 percent, which is something that is not fatal, but certainly uncomfortable for the astronauts.
- A lack of spare parts – Researchers say spare and replacement parts would be needed not long into the mission, but the nine-month or so trip time from Earth to Mars would make them hard to come by.
The investor has agreed to help Mars One settle its debts with creditors, which currently amount to 1 million euros, or $1.1 million.
‘During the last few months, discussions have been held with a new investment company,’ the company said in a statement.
‘The goal of the investor and Mars One is to achieve either a reversal of the administration or a restart based on a financial agreement with the liquidator.
‘…The investment company has expressed its intention to reach an agreement with all creditors,’ the statement continues.
It comes after a Swiss court declared Mars One Ventures, the company’s for-profit arm, bankrupt on January 15th.
The organization has since been dissolved, with less than $25,000 in its accounts, according to the filings.
Going bankrupt doesn’t appear to have dissuaded Mars One from its original goal of conducting a manned mission to the red planet.
In its announcement, the company said it plans to ‘redirect its focus’ once it becomes solvent.
Mars One still intends to host its reality TV-style competition to send humans to Mars by seeking ‘strategic collaboration with renowned companies and organizations.’
‘Mars One itself will focus on the even more inspiring “being there,” the adventurous story of humans actually living on Mars, making The Red Planet their new home,’ the company said.
‘Utilizing its new investment plan, Mars One Ventures will establish a marketing machine, creating continuous content about these activities, evaluated from all angles, including technological, psychological, economical and ethical aspects.’
Mars One grabbed headlines in 2012 when it announced it was looking to assemble a crew of four on a one-way mission to the red planet, with a projected launch scheduled for 2025.
The organization hoped to get the mission off the ground via a combination of donations, private investors and marketing. It’s unclear how much its investors have lost in the process since Mars One reached bankruptcy.
Mars One attracted much scrutiny throughout its much-publicized plans for a trip to the red planet, including a great deal of skepticism, with some even labeling it an ‘interplanetary Fyre Festival.’
Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur who founded Mars One, once estimated that putting five humans on Mars would cost the company approximately $6 billion.
He hoped that prospective participants would compete head-to-head on a reality television series to see who would be sent to Mars.
At one point, Endemol, the production company behind Big Brother, said it would document the progress of the group of hopefuls, which had reportedly drawn the attention of 200,000 applicants.
However, a Medium report indicated that the company’s claims it received 200,000 applicants were overblown.
Instead of receiving 200,000 applications, it claimed Mars One had received just 2,761 applications.
In 2015, Mars One selected 100 candidates were added to a shortlist to establish a human colony on the planet.
Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur who founded Mars One, once estimated that putting five humans on Mars (pictured) would cost the company approximately $6 billion
To keep the astronauts alive on Mars, the Dutch company said they would grow their own food in a greenhouse, in order to be somewhat self-sustainable. As the mission would be a one-way trip, they would have no chance to return to Earth in the immediate future after their landing
Mars One’s Surface Habitat Environment Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is the was designed as a way to keep the astronauts alive. Shown is an artist’s impression of the habitat
Candidates were not required to have any scientific qualifications and a televised audience vote was envisioned as a way to select the final roster.
Any chosen Mars settlers would then be required to dedicate eight years of their lives preparing for the 300 million-mile (482 million km) pioneering mission.
However, many of Mars One’s outlandish claims were quickly cast into speculation.
For example, the company claimed it would find the funding for necessary equipment via a reality TV show that followed participants as they trained to head to Mars.
Additionally, Mars One said it would sent its first hardware to Mars in 2018, but that date was pushed back to the mid-2020s.
And, perhaps most alarmingly, a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that crewmembers would likely last no more than two months on Mars before dying from suffocation.
MIT cited low air pressure, habitats at risk of explosion and a lack of spare parts as the potentially fatal dangers that awaited anyone who made the inaugural trip.
WHAT WAS THE MARS ONE MISSION?
A privately funded project, Mars One was set up by Dutch energy entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp and European Space Agency scientist Arno Wielders.
It aimed to create a permanent human settlement on Mars starting in 2031.
A new four-person crew was envisioned to depart every two years.
The company never selected an aerospace company to build the spacecraft, but claimed it would be built using existing technology.
Inhabitants of the pods would likely become reality TV stars as Mr Lansdorp aims to sell exclusive rights to the broadcast footage in order to further fund the project
Participants would be sent up with just a one-way ticket.
Mars One hoped to establish habitable inflatable pods with life-support systems and units for growing fresh food.
Due to initial costs, Mars One said there would be no launch facilities for a return rocket.
Mars One planned to raise funds through private investors and media exposure. A reality TV deal with the maker of Big Brother fell through, however.
The mission was expected to cost around £4.33 billion ($6 billion).