mars

Human Mission to Mars

No Prior Orbit Experience Necessary

This first-of-its-kind course at FAU is open to all undergraduate students willing to be crew members for the University’s inaugural expedition to Mars. Only 50 seats are available. Plan your mission with faculty from across four colleges. Learn about propulsion when lifting off from Earth and landing on Mars, the psychological and physiological impacts of the 100 million mile journey, colonizing and surviving on the red planet and much more.

Admission to the course includes attendance at a speaking engagement from the author of “The Case for Mars,” Robert Zubrin.


REGISTER HERE

The course reached enrollment capacity; interested students can sign up for the wait list through the course registration portal.  Visit the Registrar for information.


Course Information: Fall 2019 Human Mission to Mars   |  Subject: IDS (Interdisciplinary Studies)  |  CRN: 15781  |  Course Number: 4934  |  Section: 001  |  Credit Hours: 3  |  Meeting Times: Wednesday and Friday from 2:00-3:20 p.m.  

Note: The Human Mission to Mars course credits can count as an elective towards a student's degree.


Key Elements of the Mission

Propulsion

Liftoff from Earth, landing on Mars, liftoff from Mars and landing on the Earth

Timing of Mission

Minimize travel time – use of the Hohmann transfer orbit

Psychology

Effects of long-term spaceflight on human consciousness

Sociology

Effects of long-term spaceflight on human relationships and groups of humans

Nutrition

Food and nutritive sustenance on the way there

Physiology

Physical effects of extended spaceflight on the human body

Creating a Colony

Key components of building and functioning a Martian colony – building materials, design, functionality

Food on Mars

Growing food on Mars – within the atmosphere-controlled colony

Ethics

Are there ethical issues related to a human mission to Mars?

Project Driven

Each student will join a small group to collaboratively develop efficient and systematic solutions to problems being posed. Each group member will have opportunities to serve as the project lead, coordinating activities of the group.

The course is taught in a non-lecture, active learning format. Time spent in class is centered around group discussions, projects, and developing the deductive thought process that scientists use to solve problems.

Mission Objectives:

  • To explore the challenges and opportunities offered by the planned human missions to Mars.
  • Explore the process of scientific inquiry and creativity (including failures) to address a problem or challenge.
  • Apply the scientific method to embrace uncertainty associated with the critical evaluation of a problem or challenge.
  • Develop hypothesis-driven solutions integrating multiple disciplines.
  • Communicate scientific outcomes through team work and community building.

Proposed Mission Schedule

Week 1

Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and Professor

Why Mars? Why colonize? Why is the multidisciplinary approach being taught in this course so important? What are the student learning outcomes and why are they important? Brief history of Mars exploration from the ground and in space.

Week 2-3

Salvatore Lepore, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Luc Wille, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Introduce the “Mars Direct” argument and the general strategy for a sustainable Mars mission, including issues such as propulsion, timing of the trip to Mars and the return trip, using Martian resources for the return trip, and food and nutritive sustenance on the way to Mars.

Week 4-5

Andy Khamoui, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, College of Education
Nwadiuto Esiobu, Professor of Biology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Physical effects of extended spaceflight on the human body covering topics such as land-based modeling of spaceflight, NASA exercise countermeasures program, and microbiomes in the gut.

Week 6-7

Robin Vallacher, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of Dynamical Social Psychology Lab, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Ann Branaman, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
(Or designees)

Effects of long-term spaceflight on human consciousness, human relationships and groups of humans.

Week 8-9

Anthony Abbate, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Provost for FAU Broward Campuses and Director and Professor, School of Architecture, College for Design and Social Inquiry

Key components of building and functioning a Martian colony – building materials, design, functionality, atmospheric control. 

Week 10-11

Xing-Hai Zhang, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Tara Root, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geosciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Growing food on Mars within the atmosphere-controlled colony and how to harness the water required to do so.

Week 12-13

Ann Branaman, Ph.D., (or designee) Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters

Ethical and political issues related to a human mission to Mars. 

Week 14-15

Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and Professor

Wrap-up and conclusions. 

Contact

For information about the course, please contact Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Dean, Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., at asarajedini@fau.edu.