Google and Virgin announce Mars expedition and colony

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and LONDON, England (April 1st, 2008) – Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Virgin Group today announced the launch of Virgle Inc., a jointly owned and operated venture dedicated to the establishment of a human settlement on Mars.

"Some people are calling Virgle an ‘interplanetary Noah’s Ark,’" said Virgin Group President and Founder Sir Richard Branson, who conceived the new venture. "I’m one of them. It’s a potentially remarkable business, but more than that, it’s a glorious adventure. For me, Virgle evokes the spirit of explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, who set sail looking for the New World. I do hope we’ll be a bit more efficient about actually finding it, though."

The Virgle 100 Year Plan’s milestones will include Virgle Pioneer selection (2008-2010), the first manned journey to Mars (2016), a Virgle Inc. initial public offering to capitalize on the first manned journey to Mars (2016), the founding of the first permanent Martian municipality, Virgle City (2050), and the achievement of a truly self-sustaining Martian civilization with a population exceeding 100,000 (2108).

“Virgle is the ultimate application of a principle we’ve always believed at Google: that you can do well by doing good,” said Google co-founder Larry Page, who plans to share leadership of the new Martian civilization with Branson and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

"We feel that ensuring the survival of the human race by helping it colonize a new planet is both a moral good in and of itself and also the most likely method of ensuring the survival of our best – okay, fine, only – base of web search volume and advertising inventory,” Page added. “So, you know, it’s, like, win-win."

The original contingent of Virgle Pioneers will be selected by numerous criteria, including an online questionnaire, video submission, personal accomplishments, expertise in scientific, artistic, sociological and/or political fields of endeavor, and inadequate Google and Virgin personal performance reviews.

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top Web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall Web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

About the Virgin Group

Virgin, a leading branded venture capital organisation, is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow very successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony to transportation, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays, publishing and retailing. Virgin has created more than 200 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Revenues around the world in 2007 exceeded £11.5 billion (approx. US$23 billion). For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Andrew Pederson

Virgin Group
Christine Choi