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Mars One goes bankrupt as reality catches up to the doomed space scam – TechCrunch

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Mars One goes bankrupt as reality catches up to the doomed space scam – TechCrunch

A grand mission to Mars that was always light on details has come to a decidedly terrestrial end. Mars One, a controversial space exploration project that made it as far as the “highly produced videos” stage of space colonization, has quietly filed for bankruptcy, according to a liquidation listing spotted by a Redditor on r/space.

As the post explains, the private company that spearheaded the Mars One spectacle is actually made up of two parts, a not-for-profit called the Mars One Foundation and a for-profit company known as Mars One Ventures. In 2016, Swiss financial services company InFin Innovative Finance AG picked up Mars One Ventures in a takeover bid.

In a statement on the takeover, Mars One’s leadership explained how the plan was still on track, in spite of appearances.

“The takeover provides a solid path to funding the next steps of Mars One’s mission to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Those steps include reducing the remaining 100 astronaut candidates to just 24, as well as continuing the mission design phase with Mars One’s technology suppliers.”

When contacted about the bankruptcy, Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp told Engadget that the Mars One Foundation continues to operate but is stalled unless it receives an infusion of funds as Lansdorp works “to find a solution.”

Mars One was ill-fated from its inception, more grounded in CGI videos and marketing hype for a Mars mission reality TV show than any kind of scientific reality. And they couldn’t even get the show off the ground.

There were plenty of red flags for anyone willing to look, but the nature of its outlandish proposal allowed Mars One to prey on the intrinsic optimism and curiosity of would-be space explorers. As one finalist candidate revealed in an excellent exposé series on the company titled “All Dressed Up for Mars and Nowhere to Go,” Mars One’s financial reality looked like a multilevel marketing scheme — not a scientific expedition.

“When you join the ‘Mars One Community,’ which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points. You get points for getting through each round of the selection process… and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them.”

An MIT report in 2014 issued other telling warning’s about the project’s feasibility.

“… If all food is obtained from locally grown crops, as Mars One envisions, the vegetation would produce unsafe levels of oxygen, which would set off a series of events that would eventually cause human inhabitants to suffocate.”

Taken together, those two telling details tell you pretty much everything you need to know about a sadly small-minded company that sold the public a lucrative tale about its big red dreams.

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Microsoft expands political security service to 12 European countries

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Microsoft expands political security service to 12 European countries

Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Microsoft logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking.

Microsoft had recently detected attacks, which occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said here in a blog post.

The attacks, which targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia, are believed to have originated from a group called Strontium, the company added.

The AccountGuard service will also be available in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.

Ahead of a critical European Parliament election in May, German officials are trying to bolster cyber security after a far-reaching data breach by a 20-year-old student laid bare the vulnerability of Europe’s largest economy.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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India’s top court finds Anil Ambani guilty on contempt in Ericsson case

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India's top court finds Anil Ambani guilty on contempt in Ericsson case

FILE PHOTO: Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, addresses shareholders during the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday that Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani willfully did not pay 5.5 billion rupees to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, holding him guilty in a contempt of court case.

The court asked billionaire Ambani and two directors of RCom to pay 4.5 billion rupees to Ericsson within four weeks. They will face three months jail term if they fail to pay the amount, the court said.

The Swedish company signed a deal with RCom in 2014 to manage and operate its network and last year approached the court over unpaid dues of 5.5 billion rupees.

Reliance Communication said the company respect the court judgment and the “group shall comply with same.”

Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Euan Rocha

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GM’s Arīv electric bikes are launching in Europe first

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Even though the company designed and engineered the bikes in Michigan and Oshawa, Ontario, it will release them in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands first. GM says it chose those locations “due to the popularity of lithium-ion battery-powered e-bikes in those markets,” which makes sense if you think about it.

The compact e-bike called Arīv Meld will set customers back between €2,750 and €2,800 (approximately $3,200). Meanwhile, the folding e-bike called Arīv Merge, which users can fold up and roll on two wheels if they want to, will set buyers back between €3,350 and €3,400 (around $3,900). Both models are now available for pre-order on Bike Exchange and will start shipping in the second quarter of 2019.

Ariv

Arīv Meld

ArīvArīv Merge

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