Rochester teacher no longer being considered for Mars settlement project
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - Mayo High School's planetarium director will remain on planet Earth.
Paul Larson confirmed to the St. Cloud Times on Monday that he is no longer in the running for a one-way trip to Mars.
The Dutch nonprofit Mars One, which is in the process of selecting 24 people to colonize the Red Planet, recently announced the 100 finalists for the mission.
"We were impressed with how many strong candidates participated in the interview round, which made it a very difficult selection” said Dr. Norbert Kraft, Mars One's chief medical officer, according to a news release.
Larson was one of just 660 applicants to be personally interviewed by Mars One. More than 200,000 initially signed up for a chance to be the planet's first permanent settlers.
"I have this grandiose idea of changing the world," Larson told the Post-Bulletin back in December. "If we're going to change the world, our children are going to change the world through science and innovation."
The remaining pool consists of 50 men and 50 women who range in age from 19 to 60. Roughly a third of the candidates are from the U.S. (none from Minnesota).
"Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges," said Kraft.
To fund the estimated $6 billion trip (for just the first four travelers), Mars One plans to televise the remainder of the competition, according to a report by the Washington Post.
But even if the organization secures funding, there are still a number of obstacles in the way of making a colony on Mars a reality. A recent analysis by MIT researchers concluded human settlement on the planet would require the development of technologies that don't yet exist.
“We’re not saying, black and white, Mars One is infeasible,” said Olivier de Weck, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems. “But we do think it’s not really feasible under the assumptions they’ve made."
Larson and other candidates who were not selected to continue will have a chance to reapply in a new application round that will open in 2015, according to Mars One.
Click here to learn more about the group's mission to establish a human settlement on Mars.
(Cover photo: NASA)