Mars One Ventures’ promise of a one-way ticket to planet goes up in red dust

It turns out that starting a company with the goal of sending people on a one-way trip to Mars isn’t easy. At least, that’s the conclusion we’re reaching from the news that Mars One Ventures — a Swiss company that once promised to establish a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet — has filed for bankruptcy.

News of the ill-fated company’s demise was highlighted when a Reddit user noticed a bankruptcy filing on a website for Mars One Ventures’ hometown of Basel, Switzerland. It suggests that the company went under on January 15. Its nonprofit wing, the Mars One Foundation, is still technically alive, but not exactly active. In other words, just like the folks Mars One once hoped to send into space, it appears that this venture most likely isn’t coming back.

While any plan to build a colony on Mars is likely to be a little bit “out there,” Mars One Ventures struck many as zanier than most. The core idea was no different to many others: To start by sending out unmanned missions to establish a habitable settlement, ready for the first astronauts to arrive. The colonists would then arrive, ready and willing to make the best of their new planet. The zany bit was Mars One’s plan to fund much of its work through an exclusive reality TV show that would follow its selected astronauts as they trained for their one-way mission. Oh, and a whole lot of associated merchandising, too.

This IP aspect was seemingly pretty crucial to the whole Mars One Ventures game plan. One previous press release from the company notes that, “Mars One Ventures holds the exclusive monetization rights around the Mars One mission. There are many revenue possibilities around the mission to Mars: Merchandise, ads on video content, broadcasting rights, partnerships, Intellectual Property, events, games, apps, and many more.”

Mars One had picked up other investments along the way, but ultimately it seems that this wasn’t enough to get its plans in motion. The company’s first robot-led missions were supposed to begin at the start of last year, but these were gradually pushed back. One of the last times the company gave an update, it hoped to launch its robot mission in the mid-2020s, and its human missions at a later date than that.

Hey, at least the website’s merchandise section still appears to be open for business!

Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in the smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker. But the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Deals

This is the one thing you need to do before giving your child a smart phone or tablet

Monitoring your kids' digital habits can be a challenge in today’s high-tech age, but great parental control software like Qustodio gives parents a much-needed advantage Read on to find out how you can protect your child from online…
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!