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Mars Settlement and Exploration

Explore online courses in Mars Settlement and Exploration this Summer 2023. To accommodate your career, the  certificate program is delivered with small class sizes to enable you to continue working and be based in your home community to develop the knowledge and skills to explore and live on Mars.


One of the first academic program dedicated to Mars and making life multi-planetary


15+ Guest Lecturers

An interactive environment designed to significantly improve human understanding of the settlement of Mars 



Learn from leading faculty pioneering the research and development

About the Online Program

Application Window

rolling admissions as space permits

Entry Term


Course requirements
4 Courses


$600 USD per Course

$2,400 USD for MSE Program


Online, Executive-style

Time Commitment​

5-10 hours of live classes per week


Students are immersed in an interactive 9-week Program to learn about the science and systems involved in Mars settlement and exploration. The remote learning program provides an online certificate to train young professionals, researchers, and early settlers about Mars 101, human factors, life support, settlement operations, agriculture, geology, and more. Join the first student cohort at MarsU for guest lectures, small class sizes with limited seats, and class projects. Students develop the capability and mindset to apply the knowledge to research, exploration, and development of Mars and space.


The Program hosts four courses provided is geared toward young professionals with a science or engineering background. MSE Program is open to humans from any background, major, and age intended for people with a bachelor's degree or enrolled in a Bachelors of Science program from a higher education institution. 

Daniel Tompkins
Faculty, Agriculture 

Contact Information
Faculty & Instructors
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Ilaria Cinelli, PhD

Faculty, MarsU

President, Aerospace Human Factors Association


Daniel Tompkins, DPM

Faculty, MarsU

Founder and Agricultural Scientist, Grow Mars


Graham Lau, PhD

Faculty, MarsU

Blue Marble Space, Director of Communications and Marketing


Faculty, MarsU

President, Mars Society



Cadiou Herve, PhD

Associate Professor University of Strasbourg,

Electromagnetism and living organisms

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James Vaughan

Aerospace, Defense Space Art

Anchor 1

1. Mars Geology

Mars Geology provides in-depth knowledge about the science, history, and resources of geological processes on the red planet. Students acquire diverse perspectives into the science of the aeolian winds, waters, ice, magma and tectonics, resources for agriculture, mining, and human factors. With a series of interactive lectures, this course enables each student to learn about the natural geological processes influencing the past, present, and future of Mars settlement and exploration.


Jon Clarke, PhD


2. Human Factors in Space Operations

The Human Factors course aims to provide multidisciplinary perspectives and skills with focused knowledge our modules: Space Health, Ground-based Analogues, Human Factors, and Enabling technology and system. Students are immersed in case studies on space suits, Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), and more with interactive lectures on space medicine, biological challenges for life on Mars, safety, stressors, and mitigations, space architecture, engineering and innovations, and mission design.

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Ilaria Cinelli, PhD


3. Mars Astrobiology

Mars Astrobiology explores the data-driven approach and understanding of potential Martian life over time based on insights from instrumentation, rovers, and spacecraft. This course dives into the origins of life, biodiversity, analog environments, geochemistry, the scientific literature on searching for life on Mars, planetary protection, and the future of astrobiology and civilization throughout Mars, the Solar System, and beyond.


Graham Lau, PhD


4. Mars Agriculture

The birth of civilizations and cities on Earth has centered around productive agricultural systems that use resources sustainably.  This course will examine the past, present and future of agriculture within the context of Mars. From leading plant biotechnology, sustainable greenhouses, hydroponics, and permaculture. Learn what is needed to grow a self sustaining civilization on Mars. 


Daniel Tompkins


Anchor 2

Jan. 2-Jan 6:  Mars Geology, Jon Clark

Jan 9 - Jan 15: Space/Mars Resources & Engineering, Cole Pazar

Jan. 16- Jan 28:  Astrobiology, Graham Lau

Jan 30 - Feb 11: Agriculture, Daniel Tompkins
Feb 13 - 24:  Human Factors, Ilaria Cinelli

March 3: R&D Project Presentations
March 13: Final Papers due

Five courses are held  throughout the Program in January-March 2023. Mars 101 is a a three-hour offered for free to enrolled students. Each Course offers around 5-10 hours of in-class online instruction from Monday to Friday with up to two hours of live guest lectures per week. All classes and guest lectures take place in a close-knit synchronous environment via Zoom. Class times are coordinated in advance with individual faculty. Deliverables, readings, and files are coordinated by each instructor with Google Classroom Learning Management System (LMS) and via email.

Anchor 3
Tuition and Financial Aid

Three full scholarships are available for MSE23. Financial aid opportunities and scholarships can be arranged with MarsU and potential partners or sponsors. With the support from our partners and sponsors, we are actively looking to develop partnerships to cover tuition costs for instruction, wages, and administration.


MarsU is not a Title IV institution recognised by the Department of Education and is currently not eligible to support Student Loans. Students are required to make a  25% tuition deposit to enroll in the respective course and/or Program. Payment plans can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. We recommend that applicants undertake their own fundraising efforts and coordinate with to increase their chances to receive a scholarship. 

Anchor 4
Team Projects

Students are immersed in teams of three to five people or can lead individual project to advance the learning and retainment of student's passions and course material. Team projects details and topics are coordinated in each course for a grade with individual instructors and may lead to coauthoring research publications for conferences and journals. Students and alumni of MSE have the opportunity to present projects during the Annual Multiplanet Symposium.

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