My pal died on Titan sub – now I’m willing to risk MY life by going to Venus & I want 1,000 people living there by 2050

A BUSINESSMAN who co-founded the firm behind the Titan sub says he is willing to risk his life by going to Venus despite his colleague’s death.

Guillermo Sohnlein has wild aspirations to send 1,000 people to live in the planet’s atmosphere by 2050 – and says he’s prepared to make the treacherous 38 million kilometre journey himself.

gsohnlein/InstagramGuillermo Sohnlein wants 1,000 living on Venus by 2050[/caption]

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, pictured with co-founder Guillermo Sohnlein, died on the Titan subFacebook

Instagram/@gsohnleinSohnlein shared an image working on Cyclops, Titan’s predecessor[/caption]

Debris from the Titan sub was recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic

The intrepid entrepreneur – who set up OceanGate with Stockton Rush in 2009 – believes it is critical for humanity to look for alternative places to live.

Sohnlein, 58, has his sights set on Venus – competing against Elon Musk’s scheme to have humans living on Mars within three decades.

Despite its nickname as Earth’s sister planet, Venus’ conditions are totally inhospitable to people with blistering heat of up to 462C.

It would take around four months to get there and even then, humans would not be able to land on the cloud-swaddled planet’s surface.

But Sohnlein has visions of human colonies living on floating cities about 50km above the surface in Venus’ atmosphere.

He told The Sun: “There’s a relatively thin layer in the Venusian atmosphere where we just might find the most Earth like conditions in the solar system.

“I get asked, why Venus? And the one word answer is gravity.

“Mars has 38 per cent of Earth’s gravity. Venus is the same size and mass as Earth and so roughly has about 98 per cent of Earth’s gravity.

“We believe this could be critical for humanity surviving as a multi-generational species because right now we don’t know if humanity can reproduce in less than one g of gravity.”

Former US Marines Captain Sohnlein has had a lifelong ambition to go to space – and as a child had a recurring dream that he would be the commander of the first Martian colony.

He and Stockton Rush set up OceanGate in 2009 as they saw underwater exploration as the closest thing to further their vision for space travel – without actually going off Earth.

They both also had a common ambition – to make deep sea exploration more available to those outside the small industry.

He said: “We were both frustrated astronauts, we grew up wanting to be astronauts but both of us had our eyesight go bad, so we couldn’t become pilots and then astronauts.

“But we were still driven by this need to explore.”

Sohnlein left OceanGate in 2013 as the company began developing Titan’s predecessor, Cyclops, but retained a minority stake.

A decade on, his colleague Rush and four passengers were killed when OceanGate’s homemade sub suffered a catastrophic implosion while on a voyage 12,500ft down to the Titanic wreck on June 18, 2023.

But Sohnlein, who founded Humans2Venus Foundation in 2020, has vowed to keep pursuing wildly ambitious new projects.

And he said he would still be willing to put his life on the line in the name of innovation – if the mission is worth it.

All about Venus

VENUS is the second closest planet to the sun and Earth’s closest neighbour.

Getting its namesake from the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the only planet named after a female god.

It is the third brightest object in the sky, pipped only by the sun and the moon.

Venus is also the hottest planet in the solar system and has surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead, according to NASA.

Its thick atmosphere works as a greenhouse effect by trapping heat.

On its surface and below a covering of dense clouds, Venus has several volcanoes and mountains.

It is a similar size to Earth – but spins in the opposite direction to Earth and most other planets.

Venus’ spin is also much slower, taking around 243 Earth days to rotate just once.

The sun also rises just once every 117 Earth days on Venus.

Unlike Earth, Venus doesn’t have any moons.

It has been visited by a number of spacecraft including Mariner 2, Mariner 5, Mariner 10, Pioneer Venus 1, Pioneer Venus 2, and the orbiter Magellan.

He added: “I think for the entirety of my life I’ve been driven by exploration and going somewhere people have not gone before.

“So I’d be more excited to go to Venus, or even to Mars as long as it was one of the first missions.

“I have no real desire to go suborbital or orbital, or even to the moon because people have already done that. Not a lot of people. But people have done that.

“And if I’m going to risk my life in something that dangerous I’d rather risk it for the sake of humanity and helping humanity expand our understanding of of the world around us.

“I’ve always wanted to physically go into the space.

“A lot of people are interested in space because of the science, or because of the beauty and the spirituality of it, or whatever.

“But for me it’s always been about me personally going to space. So I think it’s just been a lifelong interest of mine.”

Sohnlein is also hoping to return to the ocean for expeditions in coming years, despite Rush getting killed on a deep sea voyage.

A daring trip to one of the world’s deepest underwater sinkholes in on the cards for Sohnlein with one of his other companies, Blue Marble Exploration (BME).

Located in the Bahamas, the 663-ft Dean’s Blue Hole sits in uncharted waters.

But much like Oceangate’s offer to take paying customers down to the Titanic wreck at £195,000-a-head, BME’s website offers readers to “join our expedition”.

Sohnlein said: “What I wanted to do when I left the company [OcceanGate] was to do more exploration expeditions.

“And I did set up a company with two co-founders to organise these kinds of expeditions.

“To date, we have not done any expeditions yet. But I’ve been still supporting other explorers and helping them with their expeditions.

“I’m hoping in the next year or two or three I’ll be able to get back in the water and go forward with some of these expeditions.”

How the Titan tragedy unfolded

ONE year ago, five men plunged beneath the surface of the North Atlantic in a homemade sub in the hopes of exploring the Titnaic wreckage.

But what was supposed to be a short trip spiralled into days of agony as the doomed Titan vanished without a trace on June 18, 2023.

The daring mission had been months in the making – and almost didn’t happen at the hands of harsh weather conditions in Newfoundland, Canada.

In a now chilling Facebook post, passenger Hamish Harding wrote: “Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023.

“A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow.”

It would be his final Facebook post.

The following morning, he and four others – led by Stockton Rush – began the 12,5000ft descent towards the bottom of the Atlantic.

But as it made its way down into the depths, the vessel lost all contact with its mother ship of the surface, the Polar Prince.

It sparked a frantic four day search for signs of life, with the hunt gripping the entire world.

There was hope that by some miracle, the crew was alive and desperately waiting to be saved.

But that sparked fears rescue teams were in a race against time as the sub only had a 96-hour oxygen supply when they set out, which would be quickly dwindling.

Then, when audio of banging sounds were detected under the water, it inspired hope that the victims were trapped and signalling to be rescued.

It heartbreakingly turned out that the banging noises were likely either ocean noises or from other search ships, the US Navy determined.

Countries around the world deployed their resources to aid the search, and within days the Odysseus remote-operated vehicle (ROV) was sent down to where the ghostly wreck of the Titanic sits.

The plan was for the ROV to hook onto the sub and bring it up 10,000ft, where it would meet another ROV before heading to the surface.

But any hopes of a phenomenal rescue were dashed when Odysseus came across a piece of debris from the sub around 1,600ft from the Titanic.

The rescue mission tragically then became a salvage task, and the heartbroken families of those on board were told the devastating news.

It was confirmed by the US Coast Guard that the sub has suffered a “catastrophic implosion”.

An investigation into the disaster is ongoing.

OceanGate has suspended all its operations.

British billionaire Hamish Harding was among those on the subReuters

ReutersBusinessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman were killed[/caption]

French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, also diedAFP

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