Google showed how funny its plans for world domination could be by issuing an April Fool’s invitation to establish a human colony on the planet Mars in an expedition led by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin together with friend and Virgin founder Richard Branson.

“Earth has issues, and it’s time humanity came up with a plan B,” said Google as it urged users to sign up for ”Project Virgle”, due to leave Earth in 2014.

virgle.JPGThe elaborate prank includes a YouTube video featuring Brin and Page, an application form asking wannabe Mars pioneers for their opinions on algae as food or 1/3 gravity, and a 100-year plan.

In the real world, Google is cooperating with NASA on a number of technology projects and is trying to help encourage the space industry to become more entrepreneurial. 

The joke continues a Google tradition that began in 2000 with the April 1 launch of the MentalPlex, a swirling spiral promising smarter and faster searches when users stared into it while projecting a mental image of what they wanted to find.