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Online course

How to Survive on Mars: the Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars

Learn the basic science needed for humans to survive on Mars, with this free online science course.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

How to Survive on Mars: the Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars

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Why join the course?

Mars has captivated the human imagination since the very earliest civilisations. It is the most explored planet in the solar system and that is unlikely to change. Getting to Mars is relatively easy, surviving on Mars will be the real challenge.

Learn the basic science needed to survive on Mars

This free online course will introduce the key scientific concepts needed for humans to survive on Mars, where there is no air to breathe, no water to drink and no food to eat. The course will also examine interdisciplinary skills and meticulous planning required to sustain human life in such a hostile environment. Case studies and insights from leading experts in the field of Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics and Geology will demonstrate the basic science and problem solving skills you can use in everyday life.

Explore essential science and problem solving skills

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • apply basic science to explore possible ways of producing water, oxygen, food and energy on Mars

  • describe possible solutions and outcomes to problem-based scenarios.

Learn from leaders in the field of science

The course is based on the approaches that lead educators, Tina Overton and Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway, deliver to their science undergraduate students at the Monash University Faculty of Science – a vibrant, dynamic and world-renowned community in Australia at the forefront of innovation and discovery.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsTINA OVERTON: Hi, I'm Professor Tina Overton. I'm a chemist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsJASMINA LAZENDIC-GALLOWAY: Hi, I'm Dr. Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway. I'm an astronomer also at Monash University.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 seconds We have designed a course to help you learn-- TINA OVERTON: --how to survive on Mars. Mars has captivated human imagination since the very earliest civilisations. Mars is the only planet in the solar system where humans could possibly live, which is why it holds such fascination for us. But sustaining our lives there is going to be a real challenge. We're going to need some amazing science and meticulous planning.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsMARION ANDERSON: People have always wanted to see what's over the horizon, what the next big thing is. And Mars is going to be the next big thing.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsDUNCAN GALLOWAY: So within my lifetime, I fully expect there will be people living on Mars. And so, we need to get ready.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsMICHAEL PAKAKIS: As the moon was a fascination back in the 60s and 50s, I think that it's the same thing. I think Mars is the next target.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsTINA OVERTON: So here we are on an obviously simulated Mars surface.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 secondsJASMINA LAZENDIC GALLOWAY: And real Mars is completely different. There's no air to breathe. There's no water to drink. There is no food to eat. There is no energy that we can use easily.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 secondsTINA OVERTON: There's very little atmosphere and there's very little sunlight. The radiation is intense and it's very cold.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsDUNCAN GALLOWAY: It's difficult for astronauts to survive on Mars. It's a very extreme environment. So astronauts have to bring a lot of what they need with them.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsJASMINA LAZENDIC-GALLOWAY: So, there are resources on Mars that we can use. We just need to be very innovative. How do we do that?

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsMARION ANDERSON: You're going to need to know a little bit about everything-- a little bit of chemistry, a little bit of biology, a little bit of maths, a little bit of physics, a little bit of geology, and probably a bit of engineering and medicine thrown in there as well for good luck.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 secondsMICHAEL PAKAKIS: An online course like this is an excellent way to actually promote this area of science and actually get students really excited about what they can be involved in in the next 15, 20 years time.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 secondsJASMINA LAZENDIC-GALLOWAY: So join us on this amazing journey to learn-- TINA OVERTON: --how to survive on Mars.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Apply basic science to explore possible ways of producing water, oxygen, food and energy on Mars.
  • Describe possible solutions and outcomes to problem-based scenarios.
  • Synthesise key information from across the course to produce a plan for how to survive on Mars.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of different survival strategies on Mars.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who wishes to learn more about the basic science required to survive on Mars. You’ll be able to use any scientific knowledge you bring to the course, but this is an introductory course and anyone can enjoy it without prior knowledge of the subject.

What do people say about this course?

Really fun little course that allowed me to think outside the square when it comes to the complexities of survival in a hostile environment. Many thanks to all involved!

Marc Higgins

Thank you for such an interesting course! It was fascinating to think of how many things must be considered if we are going to colonize Mars. I personally don't think I would survive in the first run lol. That makes me all the more impressed by the people who will find solutions for these problems and who will be the first to arrive.

Kristen Hicks

Who will you learn with?

Tina Overton

I am a professor of chemistry education at Monash University. I teach chemistry and research into science education at university level.

Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway

I am an astronomer at Monash Univers. As a lecturer, I am passionate about incorporating excitement of scientific research and space exploration into undergraduate courses.

Who developed the course?

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $54 (+ shipping) you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


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