spaceSpace and Physics

Mars One Founder Says We Could Live In Floating Balloons On Venus


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


Hey, remember Mars One? Yes, it was that proposal to send people on a one-way trip to Mars. No, it didn’t go well.

Well, the guy behind the idea – Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp – is back! He says the company is back on track to take people to Mars, launching in 2031 and arriving in 2032, and also said a few things about colonizing Venus too.


“Mars won’t be the final destination for humans looking to set up permanent settlements away from Earth,” Lansdorp told The Independent in an interview.

“After that, space explorers will be thinking about floating cities in the atmosphere of Venus in an extremely large balloon, or moving to one of Jupiter’s moons, or an asteroid.”

Lansdorp and his Mars One idea first hit the headlines in 2013 when they said they would hold open applications for people to go to Mars. Despite having no infrastructure, little to no money, and no expertise, Mars One said they could launch an uncrewed mission to Mars in 2016.

In case you didn’t notice, that didn’t happen. Actually, none of the stuff they said happened, apart from selecting a list of 100 astronaut finalists. The last we heard of them, people weren’t sure if the whole thing was a scam, or Lansdorp was just incredibly naive about what was required to go to Mars.


So we’re not quite sure why he’s back on the scene. Mars One is not going to send people to Mars, nor will it ever. Other companies might though, like SpaceX or NASA.

The Venus thing is at least kind of interesting. The possibility of colonizing Venus has been discussed before, as while the surface is hot enough to melt lead and thus uninhabitable, the atmosphere of the planet might be alluring.

At an altitude of about 50 kilometers (30 miles) above Venus, there exist some of the most Earth-like conditions seen outside of Earth. Here, the atmospheric pressure and the temperature are both similar to our planet. In theory, if you could float here, conditions wouldn’t be too bad.

We’ve actually sent balloons here before, the Vega 1 and 2 balloons from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. They were uncrewed, but they did return data on this region, confirming the Earth-like pressure and temperature.


Maybe we will colonize Venus one day, and Mars too. Mars One won’t have any part to play in it, though. Or maybe we're just naysayers.


spaceSpace and Physics
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