This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
Join this course and learn all about Mars and why there is a universal fascination with the “red planet”. Is SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s vision of establishing a permanent human presence on Mars realistic? In studying the cosmos beyond Earth, students come to better understand God’s creation and the nature of science.
Total number of class meetings: 13
Duration of each class: 45 minutes
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade; Interested high school students welcomed.
Suggested credit: One full semester Science or Astronomy. For a full year credit, register in the spring for To the Moon: Apollo Missions and the Future.
From earliest history to modern science, people have been fascinated by Mars. We will journey through space and time, examining myth, science fiction, and science fact to explore the red planet.
Class 1: Introduction to the Myth; Early observations
Class 2: Mars and science fiction: 3 authors, 3 visions (literature connection)
Class 3: Where is Mars?
Class 4: Geology or Areology? And what about life?
Class 5: The Mariner Flybys
Class 6: Viking
Class 7: Oops! We lost it! – Observer, Polar Lander, Deeps Space 2, Mars Climate Orbiter
Class 8: Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey
Class 9: Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Phoenix Scout
Class 10: Curiosity and Maven
Class 11: Exomars and Insight
Class 12: Perseverance
Class 13: Class discussion: Would you go to Mars?
Course materials: PDF files provided for free by the instructor.
Optional for middle school students and recommended for high school students: Discovering Mars by Sheehan and Bell (excerpts as assigned) ISBN-13: 978-0816532100 (https://amzn.to/3I8prco)
Homework: Weekly quizzes, assigned reading; excerpts from Heinlein’s Red Planet, Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, and H. G. Well’s War of the Worlds. Prepare for “Would you go to Mars?” class discussion.