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Would You Rather Hang Out with Martians or Lawyers?
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Mars One

Summary: To go to Mars or get his J.D.? One young man is trying to decide.

Click Here for an Update on This Story and an Exclusive Interview with Cole Leonard.


Mars and Lubbock have some things in common. Both places are dry, dusty, and sparsely-populated. Neither is known for being a bastion of culture. Each is subject to extreme temperatures, with Lubbock topping 90 degrees approximately 78 days a year and Mars having an average temperature of -85 degrees Fahrenheit.

But beyond that the similarities pretty much end. Or at least they do for 27-year-old Cole Leonard.

Leonard was recently accepted to Texas Tech Law in Lubbock. He also happens to be one of 705 finalists competing to be part of the Mars One, a project to colonize the Red Planet. If given the choice, which path will he take?

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Getting accepted into law school is a big accomplishment. Texas Tech Law recently tied for 118th in the U.S. News Ranking, and a law degree from the Lubbock-based school would no doubt open doors for Leonard.

On the other hand, being chosen as one of the 24 colonists for Mars would be truly remarkable. Leonard would ensure his place in history, go where no man has gone before, and—perhaps best of all—avoid the Socratic method and the bar exam.

Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp founded the Mars One project in March 2011. Approximately 200,000 have applied for the journey. The pool has been narrowed down to 705 candidates; 24 finalists will be chosen by next year.

Lansdorp made his fortune through a wind energy company, but hopes to raise an additional $6 billion to pay for the project. One way of doing this is by creating a reality TV show that will feature the training of the 24 chosen colonists as well as their big trip and landing on Mars.

As the technology to return from Mars does not yet exist, anyone that is ever to make it to Mars will die there. Leonard understands this as he states, “I am going to die here in some crappy retirement home in Florida. Why not Mars?” He currently resides in Plano, Texas and is an identical twin. He likes to joke that this makes him “expendable.”

Leonard does admit he will miss things like music, family, and the outdoors. Perhaps we will see him on TV someday soon, unless he takes the safer route of going to law school.

Click Here for an Update on This Story and an Exclusive Interview with Cole Leonard.

“I found the Mars One project so appealing because it was the most ambitious human endeavor man has proposed to achieve, and I would have loved to be a part of it,” said Leonard. “I am more appreciative than ever of my friends and family, who supported my decision to go to Mars in spite of never being able to return to Earth. Unfortunately, now they are stuck with me.”


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