Cast your mind back to 2012. Gangnam Style is everywhere. Grown adults are going to see the movie Ted, for some reason. Most importantly, a small company from the Netherlands announces their goal to land four astronauts on Mars by 2023, with the purpose of establishing a permanent human colony.

They announce a global callout for potential astronauts, for all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds. From those applicants, their expert-backed Astronaut Selection Program will choose only the best and brightest to start a new life on the red planet, almost certainly never to return.

It’s inspiring, futuristic even. A testament to just how far along humanity has come technologically and to our passion for exploration. Except, it’s almost certainly never going to happen. To quote from the Guardian:

Gerard ’t Hooft, a Dutch Nobel laureate and ambassador for Mars One, said he did not believe the mission could take off by 2024 as planned.

“It will take quite a bit longer and be quite a bit more expensive. When they first asked me to be involved I told them ‘you have to put a zero after everything’,” he said, implying that a launch date 100 years from now with a budget of tens of billions of dollars would be an achievable goal. But, ‘t Hooft added, “People don’t want something 100 years from now.”

Generous categorisations of the project suggested it was misguided, less generous categorisations outright called it a scam.

But that’s neither here nor there, with the news that the whole thing is going down the tube. Mars One consisted of two different business components: the non-profit Mars One Foundation, and the for-profit Mars One Ventures, which was intended to finance the former. Unfortunately for them, a decision from the Civil Court of the City of Basel has seen Mars One Ventures go into liquidation.

Although they were almost certainly never going there in first place, Mars One is very, very definitely not going to Mars now.

Image: Mars One