Remember Mars One, the startup that said it was going to fund a crewed mission to Mars by turning the journey into a reality television spectacle? Now the company is bankrupt, according to financial documents published online.
Engadget confirmed the bankruptcy with Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp, who told the publication that he was working “to find a solution” to the company’s financial woes – but things don’t sound hopeful for the would-be Mars colonist startup.
The news was first unveiled on Reddit, where a user posted a link to Swiss financial documents suggesting that the company was set to be liquidated.
To be technical, Mars One comprised two arms – the for-profit Mars One Ventures and the non-profit Mars One Foundation – and it’s the for-profit part that’s out of cash, according to the documents.
But Lansdorp told Engadget that the non-profit portion of the project wasn’t able to act without further funding.
Back in 2012, Lansdorp and his associates announced a ludicrously ambitious plan to send colonists to the Red Planet – and to fund the project with a reality TV show about the selection process and on-Earth test colony, with the help of Big Brother producer Paul Römer.
Though the dream might be dead, it lives on at press time in the form of optimistic copy on the project’s website.
“Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars,” it reads.
“Several unmanned missions will be completed, establishing a habitable settlement before carefully selected and trained crews will depart to Mars.
“Funding and implementing this plan will not be easy, it will be hard.”