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. 

Live HS
Mission: Mars! From Myth to Mariner to (Maybe) Manned

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 classes: 13

Prerequisite: None

Suggested grade level: 9th-12th

Suggested credit: One full semester of Science or Astronomy. For a full year credit, register in the spring for Astronomy.


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 facts to explore the red planet. As new missions reach Mars, additional mission descriptions and data may be discussed.


Week 1: Introduction to the Myth; Early observations

Week 2: Mars and science fiction: 3 authors, 3 visions (literature connection)

Week 3: Where is Mars? Some Basic Physics

Week 4: Geology or Areology? And what about life?

Week 5: The Mariner Flybys

Week 6: Viking

Week 7: Oops! We lost it! – Observer, Polar Lander, Deeps Space 2, Mars Climate Orbiter

Week 8: Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey

Week 9: Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Phoenix Scout

Week 10: Curiosity and Maven

Week 11: Exomars and Insight

Week 12: Perseverance

Week 13: Class discussion: Would you go to Mars?

Materials and Homework

Course materials: PDF files provided for free by the instructor.

Discovering Mars by Sheehan and Bell (excerpts as assigned) ISBN-13: 978-0816532100 (https://amzn.to/3I8prco)

Access to Google Mars (https://www.google.com/mars/)

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.

Important Dates

Class Dates: Tuesdays, September 3 to December 3, 2024. (No class Nov. 26)

Starting Time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central, 2:00 Mountain, 1:00 Pacific)

Duration of Each Class: 55 minutes

Choose from courses in all subject areas for your upper grade school, middle school, and high school student—taught by worldwide experts in Catholic education.
Other Courses to Explore

Pin It on Pinterest