Oceangate co-founder claims he can 'safely' send 1,000 people to Venus

19 June 2024, 22:01

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein is pictured with CEO Stockton Rush, who died on the Titan sub
OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein is pictured with CEO Stockton Rush, who died on the Titan sub. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

The co-founder of the doomed Titan sub that imploded during a dive down to the Titanic wreck has claimed that he can "safely" send 1,000 humans to Venus by 2050.

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Guillermo Söhnlein founded OceanGate in 2009 alongside Stockton Rush, who died piloting the submersible last year along with four passengers.

But Mr Söhnlein is now aiming to send human colonies to Venus as he builds a "global community" of fellow enthusiasts.

Writing in a blog post, the entrepreneur said: "We could embark on our Venusian journey TODAY ... and do it safely and cost-effectively."

Scientists generally consider Venus uninhabitable due to its surface temperature being over 450°C, and pressure equivalent to 914m (3,000ft) beneath Earth's ocean.

The planet is also home to clouds of sulphuric acid, making it highly doubtful it could be inhabited by humans any time soon, scientists say.

The planet is around 24 million miles away and would take humans months to travel there.

Read more: Brit billionaire 'ignored stark warning over Titan sub' after record-breaking dive gave him 'false sense of security'

Read more: Poignant CGI shows how deep doomed Titan descended on it's ill-fated final journey to the Titanic wreck

Mr Söhnlein - who left OceanGate a decade ago is not planning to attempt a landing on Venus' surface.

Instead, he wants humans to live in floating cities above the surface where temperatures are more tolerable at 30-50°C.

Mr Söhnlein argues the clouds of sulphuric acid can be overcome by fitting humans with "breathing apparatus and acid-resistant materials".

Writing in his Humans2Venus blog in April, Mr Söhnlein argued that he thinks Venus is a better prospect for humans than Mars.

"The reality is that Venus is much closer to Earth and has a much more similar orbit, which makes it much more accessible than Mars (lower cost, more frequent flight windows, shorter transit times, higher safety, etc.)," he wrote.

"Also, we don't have to worry about conducting successful landings on the planet's surface, which is one of the biggest challenges awaiting us on Mars.

"If anything, one could argue that sending humans to Venus BEFORE sending them to Mars might be a better way to safely develop the capabilities to create a Martian community."

Graphic explains how Titan submersible imploded

Mr Söhnlein founded OceanGate alongside Rush in 2009 and was involved in the early phases of submersible development - but did not work on the Titan itself.

The sub was carrying five passengers to see the Titanic wreckage when it suffered a catastrophic implosion.

Alongside Rush was businessman Hamish Harding, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani investor Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.

Speaking to Business Insider last June, Mr Söhnlein said: "Forget Oceangate. Forget Titan. Forget Stockton.

"Humanity could be on the verge of a big breakthrough and not take advantage of it because we, as a species, are gonna get shut down and pushed back into the status quo.

"[Sending humans to Venus] ... it is aspirational, but I think it's also very doable by 2050."

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