INNOVATION

Do It Like Damon: Uni Offers Free Course On Surviving Mars

Just, you know, in case you end up there.

31/08/2016 11:11 AM AEST | Updated August 31, 2016 15:11
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Actor Matt Damon in a scene form The Martian, a film about a man who survives after being left behind on Mars

Like me, have you ever found yourself thinking "you know, just in case, how exactly would I survive on Mars?"

Well Monash University may help us all answer that question, with the Melbourne-based university starting an online course designed to teach participants about how to live on Mars, despite the red planet's complete lack of air, water or food.

The four week course, called 'How to Survive on Mars: the Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars', promises to show participants how to apply basic science to "explore possible ways of producing water, oxygen, food and energy on Mars."

UIG via Getty Images
Interest in Mars has exploded since the Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet in 2012 and began sending back images such as this. This image shows the base of Mount Sharp.

The course also aims to help students with solutions and outcomes to problem-based scenarios.

Astrophysicist Dr Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway, and chemistry Professor Tina Overton, developed the interdisciplinary online course -- described as a "science journey" by the creators -- in the hopes of inspiring new generations of Martian explorers.

"Mars is going to be the next big thing," Lazendic-Galloway said in a statement.

Despite the fact the planet is roughly 225 million km away from whatever device you are reading this on, Mars and images from it are becoming more and more a part of daily life here on earth.

Space agencies and private companies are planning manned missions to Mars.

"It is the only planet in the solar system where humans could possibly live, which is why it so fascinating," Lazendic-Galloway said.

Monash promises its scientists will make regular guest appearances throughout the program.

Earlier this week a group of scientists in Hawaii finished their year-long stay inside a 36-by-20-foot dome situated next to a volcano in order to simulate living conditions on the planet as part of a NASA funded project.

During the simulation the the team of reportedly received water and food only every two and four months, respectively.

German Physicist Christiane Heinicke, one of the scientists in the Hawaii experiment, had this advice for any hopefuls imagining an eventual long haul trip to Mars:

"Bring something to work on. Something meaningful to work on," Heinicke is reported to have said.

"One of your biggest enemies is boredom. The other big enemies, of course, are the rest of the crew," she joked.

Mission commander Carmel Johnston told The BBC the lack of privacy over the past year had been difficult.

"It is kind of like having roommates that just are always there and you can never escape them so I'm sure some people can imagine what that is like and if you can't then just imagine never being able to get away from anybody," she said.

Yikes.

Lucky Matt Damon was alone in his fictional journey to the red planet.

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