Learn how to survive on Mars with this free online university course

Mars is, as Elon Musk once described it, “a real fixer-upper of a planet.” Of course, he then went on to explain that his idea of fixing it up was the detonate thermonuclear weapons on its poles, which would raise eyebrows on Homes Under the Hammer.

Learn how to survive on Mars with this free online university course

If we don’t make it more hospitable, how would we actually survive on the red planet? Even though we’re a long way from setting foot on the surface, we have people getting their practice in early and now you can brush up on your Mars survival skills with a free online course run by Monash University in Australia.

The four week course, designed by astrophysicist Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway and chemist Tina Overton, starts in October and currently has over 1,500 sign-ups. By the end of the course, participants will be able to “apply basic science to explore possible ways of producing water, oxygen, food and energy on Mars” as well as “communicate possible solutions and outcomes to problem-based scenarios.”

READ NEXT: Why do we want to go to Mars anyway?

It’s more about survival than getting there, which is comparatively pretty easy. As Galloway explains in the course’s introductory video, Mars presents some pretty significant obstacles to overcome. “There’s no air to breathe. There’s no water to drink. There is no food to eat. There is no energy we can use easily.”mars_course_futurelearn

Just as you may be rethinking upping sticks, Overton chips in with some more good news for would-be astronauts: “There’s very little atmosphere and there’s very little sunlight. The radiation is intense and it’s very cold.”

You don’t need a science PhD to apply however, with the sign-up page promising an “introductory course [that] anyone can enjoy without prior knowledge of the subject.”

It’s not clear what qualifications you’ll gain from completing the course, but it probably won’t hurt to know what to do, should you find yourself in a bit of a jam on Mars in the next 20-30 years. Like Elon Musk, you might like the idea of dying on Mars, but old age is a far more agreeable way to go than suffocation or starvation.

Images: Kevin Gill and NASA Goddard used under Creative Commons

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