Mars, Venus, Jupiter: Millionaire Behind Red Planet Mission Wants to Colonize Entire Solar System

The red planet would be nearly inhospitable for early settlers. NASA/Arizona State University via Getty Images

Bas Lansdorp, the eccentric man behind the Mars One mission, a project designed to send humans on a one-way mission to Mars in 2031, recently explained that Mars is only the first step in his grand dreams to colonize the galaxy. According to Lansdorp, humans may eventually make it to Venus, where they will likely live above the planet's surface in giant balloon cities.

In an interview with The Independent this week, Lansdorp, CEO and co-founder of Mars One, further elaborated on his grandiose space travel plans. The Mars project involves taking about 100 humans to Mars in 2031 to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet. The space colonists have not been chosen just yet. Tests to establish the applicants' psychological state—to determine if they can handle being taken away from everything they know and love, indefinitely—will start this year.

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"There really is no escape; that is the biggest challenge," he told The Independent. "The first crew to make the trip will have the toughest time, they are on their own and the level of comfort will be very low but the scarcity of water is nothing compared to the psychological impact."

Mars One is an independent organization that hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. The group is not affiliated with any government agencies and plans to accomplish this mission using money from their own private donations. According to the organization's site, the mission is currently in the early concept phase, and is focused on securing ample funding and working out kinks in the plan.

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Lansdorp told The Independent that he also envisions human colonies on Venus and even the moons of Jupiter. Venus is an extremely hot planet covered with volcanoes and lava. Lansdorp envisions "floating citing in the atmosphere of Venus in an extremely large balloon," The Independent reported. He also suggested that we could one day live permanently on one of Jupiter's moons or even an asteroid. "Mars is the least complex of all of these possibilities," said Lansdorp.

Solar system colonization may sound farfetched, but NASA has been robotically studying the Red Planet for more than 40 years now. The government space agency is planning to send humans to Mars in the 2030s—although not for a one-way mission and not with the hopes of colonizing the planet. At least not yet.