Inspired by the novel The Martian, these courses, given by an Australian university, teach the way in which man could survive on the red planet.
In a few centuries, humanity could settle on the planet Mars. In order to become familiar with the idea of surviving it, Monash University located in Melbourne (Australia) has published a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a series of open-access courses for anyone interested in the subject. .
baptized How to Survive on Mars: The Science Behind Human Exploration of Mars (How to Survive on Mars: The Science Behind Human Exploration of Mars), this course is scheduled to run for four weeks starting October 24, 2016, for three hours per week. The presentation video of the course can be downloaded HERE (MP4).
This MOOC was developed by astrophysicist Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway, in collaboration with Tina Overton, a chemistry teacher. The latter is an admirer of the novel The Martian (Alone on Mars) by Andy Weir, published in 2011, also adapted to the cinema in 2015 by the director Ridley Scott. The novel therefore naturally inspired the online course.
“We liked the fact that scientists were portrayed as problem solvers. It wasn’t like all those other movies full of egos and aliens. The story of ‘The Martian’ shows science in a different light. They are not just facts or boring formulas, but a way of solving practical problems. explains Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway for the Mashable site.
The duo made a popularization effort to make the MOOC accessible to everyone, so even the most neophyte reader about space will have no trouble understanding the course content. The topics covered are, beyond a general introduction, the way of living in airless space, or obtaining water and food. Thus, at the end of their training, people who have taken the course will be able to “to use basic science concepts to produce water, oxygen, food and energy on Mars”.
The ultimate goal of the course is to show the most skeptical that survival on Mars is not just science fiction, and that the expectation for such a project seems to be diminishing, in particular by the advances of certain companies such as SpaceX. Its founder Elon Musk has said he wants to send a human crew to Mars by 2024.
“Science is interdisciplinary, it’s not just chemistry, astronomy or physics. On Mars, you’ll need a bit of all of that. There’s a reason we stick to survival skills. It is because we know that the first settlers will have to fight to survive” says Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway.
Sources: Mashable – SFR News
Image credit: NASA