Shoot to become a Mars colonist or a lawyer? Texas man must decide

Going to law school in an uncertain job market is a lesser risk for Cole Leonard than his career alternative.

Leonard, 27, must choose between going to Texas Tech’s law school, where he has been accepted, and trying to become one of the first colonists on Mars.

Leonard is among 705 people competing to colonize Mars under a project organized by a Dutch entrepreneur and his nonprofit, Mars One, the Dallas Morning News reports. About 200,000 people applied to become colonists; by next year, 24 finalists will be chosen.

Company founder Bas Lansdorp, who made big bucks with his wind energy company, hopes to raise about $6 billion to fund the project in part from a reality TV show broadcasting the training of the colonists, the trip and the landing, the newspaper says. The colonists would spend the rest of their lives on Mars because the technology doesn’t exist for a return trip.

Leonard, who lives in Plano, Texas, currently works as an aide to a Dallas County commissioner. He says he’s “expendable” because he has an identical twin brother, though he wants to make sure Mars One has the know-how to get him to Mars and keep him alive after he gets there, the story says. He also acknowledges he would miss things at home, like music, family and relaxing outdoors.

But he’s not afraid to spend his golden years on Mars. “I am going to die here in some crappy retirement home in Florida,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “Why not Mars?”

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