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Chris Morris

The co-founder of OceanGate, the firm whose CEO died on a deep-sea dive for the Titanic, now wants to send 1,000 people to Venus

Illustration of Venus at sunrise (Credit: Getty Images)

The cofounder of the company whose submersible imploded on a visit to the deepwater site of the Titanic’s remains is turning his eyes to the stars.

Guillermo Söhnlein, who cofounded OceanGate with the deceased Stockton Rush in 2009, has revealed plans to build a colony that will reside in the atmosphere of the planet Venus—and he’s looking for 1,000 people to live there.

Söhnlein left OceanGate in 2013, retaining a minority stake in the now-shuttered company. He has had a long-standing interest in space commercialization, however. And he’s approaching it with an aggressive timeline. He hopes to send those people to Venus by 2050.

That’s going to be tough. The surface temperature of Venus is 872° F, and the pressure is roughly the same as 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. A 2008 article in Universe Today, however, theorized that the area 50 kilometers above the planet could be more Earth-like and could potentially support a floating city. (You’d have to do something about the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere and lack of oxygen, though, it noted.)

Söhnlein is undeterred, though, telling Business Insider, "I think it is less aspirational than putting a million people on the Martian surface by 2050…I think it's also very doable." He did not detail how he planned to achieve this, however.

Attracting people to make that journey could be challenging following the OceanGate tragedy, which saw five people die. Söhnlein likes to invest in companies that push the envelope, though. The goal, he says, is to help humanity escape the boundaries of Earth.

"I think I've been driven to help make humanity a multi-planet species since I was 11 years old," he said. "I had this recurring dream of being the commander of the first Martian colony…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.”

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