Mankind will be headed for Mars sooner or later, but planning an executing the first manned mission to another planet is obviously a complex and expensive endeavor. Mars One was one of the first and most ambitious attempts at getting a manned Mars mission off the ground. It was also terribly mismanaged, shortsighted, and possibly even fraudulent in nature. It is also now dead.
Mars One — which is broken into a confusing mishmash of a non-profit foundation and a for-profit company — gathered tens of millions of dollars from investors who saw promise in the company’s goal of creating a permanent Mars settlement. Needless to say, things didn’t work out.
Reports of the company’s collapse, which were picked up by Reddit and spotted by Engadget, appear to suggest that the entire organization has completely run out of funding. A bankruptcy declaration seems to be the final nail in the coffin for Mars One’s commercial efforts and any mission that were still in their very earliest stages.
It’s worth noting that this entire thing was a colossal mess right from the start, and the business model (if you can even call it that) was laughable. The company had been sucking in money and paying licensing fees to the non-profit branch while attempting to move forward with a Mars mission.
Early on, the company aimed for a $6 billion budget to get its first crew of four astronauts to Mars, but it fell far short of raising that figure. Even if it had somehow managed to scrape together $6 billion, most experts agreed that it wouldn’t be nearly enough funding to accomplish the task at hand.
And then there’s the mission itself, which was poorly conceived and would have been incredibly dangerous if executed as the company had planned. The idea was for astronauts to take a one-way trip to Mars, set up the beginnings of a colony, and then live out their lives on the Red Planet. Scientists cried foul from the start, saying that the plan lacked sustainability and the travelers would likely die quickly if they even managed to survive the trip.