What do attempts to establish a human colony on Mars, a $9bn blood-test startup and the Fyre festival have in common? Sheer chutzpah
If you were hoping to escape Brexit Britain with a one-way ticket to Mars, I am afraid you’re out of luck. Mars One Ventures, the company that wanted to start a permanent human settlement on the red planet in the next few years, has gone bankrupt, although its not-for-profit sister company, the Mars One Foundation, continues to operate. No doubt you are as shocked by this as I am.
A quick recap of the space saga: Mars One was launched in 2012, when the Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp decided that, instead of dealing with his midlife crisis by getting a motorcycle, he would colonise the fourth planet from the sun. How he planned to do this was questionable, as Mars One didn’t make any space technology. It was a bit like the Brexit ferry firm that didn’t own any ferries, just on an interplanetary scale. Also unclear was how he thought Mars One could start a space colony on a budget of just $6bn; Nasa has estimated that a manned mission to Mars would cost between $80bn and $100bn (£62bn and £78bn). Mind you, Nasa clearly wasn’t doing the sort of galaxy-brain thinking Lansdorp was: the entrepreneur had the brilliant idea of making a reality show out of the colonisation process to fund the endeavour. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch a space-based mashup of Love Island and Lord of the Flies?