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The company that promised to 'send your a** to Mars' is bankrupt

By Brian Silliman
The Martian Matt Damon on Mars

When Mars One Ventures announced years ago that it would send people to Mars, plenty of people wanted to go. Why stay on Earth, anyway? What do we have that's so great? The company (supposedly) received around 200,000 applications, and went through the process of whittling them down to 100. In 2016, SYFY WIRE took a look at their plans for a "reality TV mission," and we thought that the odds of success weren't great. Not to pat ourselves on our Earth-bound backs, but unfortunately, that assessment was correct: Mars One is bankrupt.

The Verge reported that according to Swiss Financial Notices, Mars One Ventures won't be sending anybody anywhere. The news was first spotted by a keen Reddit user, who saw the bankruptcy listed on the site for the city of Basel, Switzerland. That's where Mars One's parent company was located, and soon it was revealed that the city had declared bankruptcy on Jan. 15. Bas Lansdorp, the creator of Mars One, confirmed the news, but told Engadget that he was "working to find a solution."

This is the latest entry in the epic controversy of Mars One and its plan to send people to Mars to settle there permanently. The entire enterprise had the whiff of a "too good to be true" scam surrounding it, and we're just glad that things stopped when they did, and not after 100 people were left on Mars with nothing but a cheese sandwich — it would have been the FYRE Festival on an interplanetary scale. According to The Verge, the company promised to send people to Mars, but "would not return them to Earth as it lacked the technology to get them off the planet." Matt Damon probably did not apply, because he could have been useful with that.

Their claim of receiving 200,000 applications could never be verified, and the company also planned to buy the necessary equipment (the equipment to get 100 people to Mars, permanently) with money made from a reality television show that would feature the candidates preparing for the trip. How they'd be preparing to get onboard a spaceship that didn't exist is anyone's guess. The "robotic missions" that were supposed to pave the way for the humans kept getting pushed back as well — the original date of 2018 got pushed to the 2020s, but then they got pushed back much further. The way things were going, a crew of four wouldn't have launched until 2031. Presumably, they would have launched right into the cold embrace of death in space.

So ends (hopefully) the mission of Mars One, and the 100 people who thought that reality television would get them to the red planet. Thankfully, NASA and SpaceX are still planning missions, and none of them involve Martian villas, Martian Ja Rule, or any kind of reality television program.