Mars or Bust!

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

Only a handful of humans have stepped on a world beyond our own, and that was only a short walk down the street compared to a journey to Mars. With several missions already planned for a human visit to the red planet, have you ever wondered exactly what would be involved?

What will we cover?

Starting on the comfortable surface of Earth, we’ll take a hypothetical journey out of our atmosphere, into the emptiness of space, and finally land safely (hopefully) on an alien planet. The lives of the crew on board the ship Hephaestos depend on many fields of science, as well as 20 special people in the Little Mule on a Wednesday night who will be responsible for (and learning about at the same time)…

  • Igniting giant rockets to propel a tiny metal tin with people inside into space,
  • Monitoring the trajectory, aiming for Mars, and making sure they get there,
  • Ensuring the crew have all the oxygen, food, waste disposal and radiation protection to arrive at Mars alive,
  • Making a complicated descent into the thin Martian atmosphere culminating in a nice soft landing,
  • And answering the big question: Will the crew be coming back to Earth, or is this a one-way-trip?

Who will be teaching?

Michael Patterson graduated from the University of Melbourne with Mechanical Engineering and Science degrees. He is also a published composer, and has had works performed by the Melbourne, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. If you ask him about ocelots, he’ll tell you they’re out to get us.