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#1 2012-04-28 07:38:37

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

The University of Mars

There been a lot of discussion recently about the material wealth out in space.

But I wouldn't want us to underestimate the economic potential of cultural institutions.

I have long felt that a University of Mars would be an early contender for investment and development and would provide a good income stream for a Mars Consortium.

The Consortium could pitch this idea to the major prestigious universities on Earth and I think there would be a lot of interest. Who can doubt that one of the prestigious universities would not want to be the first to establish an academic presence on the planet, or that some lesser ones, might want to steal a march on the more prestigious institutions. They would be buying publicity, prestige, and the opportunity to undertake research that won't be available to their competitors. Moreover, in due course they might be able to turn a profit from the venture. 

I would envisage the following set up:


1. The consortium would seek offers to establish the first university on Mars. The university would pay the Consortium to build the campus and an annual life support and transit fee.

2.  This would be subject to a bidding process with the consortium setting minimum bid prices.

3. An earth based university e.g. let's say Cambridge would then win the bid and the university facility would be built. One can imagine that philanthropic sponsorship for the project might be sought...We might end up with the "University of Cambridge on Mars" and within that say the "Bill Gates Research Centre" or the "Sony Observatory".

4. Initially this would be a post graduate and research facility.

5.  We might be looking at a small facility consisting of refectory, dormitory, observatory, lecture hall, and laboratories suitable for perhaps 20-25  people

6. Initially there might be two departments: Department of Geology and Department of Astronomy. But these might be augmented in due course by other departments e.g. physics, chemistry, sociology, business and so on.

7. Post grads would come to pursue specific areas of research and research teams would undertake specific research. 

8.  The universities would obtain revenue through for instance: continued sponsorship; companies paying for post grad fees as a form of publicity for themselves; Space Agencies and other earth research institutes paying for research projects.

9.  The cost?  I would estimate something $200-$400 million for the capital investment and perhaps  $20-$30 million per annum in fees for transits, life support and building maintenance.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2012-04-28 09:10:39

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,173

Re: The University of Mars

Interesting proposal and would seem to be location dependant to space related business to aid with driving some of its functions. It would have big benefit to the industry with a stream of engineering types.

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#3 2012-04-28 09:13:31

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,107
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Re: The University of Mars

You're not going to get the annual cost down to $20-30 million unless we're already at the point where widespread colonisation is economical. At Musk's stated $1 million price tag, you're going to be spending most of that money rotating the people at the university...


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2012-04-28 13:08:09

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

Terraformer wrote:

You're not going to get the annual cost down to $20-30 million unless we're already at the point where widespread colonisation is economical. At Musk's stated $1 million price tag, you're going to be spending most of that money rotating the people at the university...

Well I was thinking in terms of an average stay of perhaps 3 years, giving you a renewal rate of about 8 transits a year.   

It might be too low, but on the other hand, the Universities will be able to get sponsorship for the individuals e.g. perhaps BP or Apple will want to sponsor a post-grad student who they can then feature in their advertising. They might well be prepared to cover the transit costs. It's no extra cost for them - they will simply be shuffling their advertising/charity/R&D budgets which are already committed. All you are really talking about with a project like this is diverting resources that would have been used on Earth to Mars.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2012-04-28 18:58:10

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

Interesting proposal and would seem to be location dependant to space related business to aid with driving some of its functions. It would have big benefit to the industry with a stream of engineering types.

I think with a proposal like this you are always looking for the synergy - here everyone taking part benefits:

1. The Consortium develops an income stream.

2. The University raises its profile and enjoys high prestige.

3. The post graduate students and professors enjoy a unique experience and unique research opportunities.

4.  Science advances in terms of knowledge.

5. Commercial sponsors enjoy highly valuable publicity.

6. Non-Consortium Space Agencies can get access to Mars.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#6 2018-12-12 22:28:23

knightdepaix
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Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 195

Re: The University of Mars

maybe a [state] college before a university? Mars Planet College... What fields shall the post-secondary institution teach? Civil and aerospace, biological and chemical, and mining engineering technology programs. As the settler population increases, more facilities are built. More service and educations would be needed.
1) aerospace engineering technology deals with maintenance of the settlement transportation to Earth. example: computerized fluid dynamics on Mars
2) chemical and biological laboratory technology deals with analysis of soil and air samples, and food plants and crops maintenance in greenhouses. example: gas chromatography with hydrogen and argon.
3) civil and environmental engineering technology deals with road, rail, bridges construction and maintenance, energy storage, nuclear power plant maintenance
4) mining engineering technology deals with analysis mining metals and rocks, the location fixated branch of #3 where a mining site is located. support #5
5) chemical and industrial engineering technology deals with analysis of fuel, energy storage, chemical and material production to support #1 and #2.
6) Informatics technology deals with internet communication and maintenance of data on Mars and with Earth and space stations.
7) tourism and business management deals with tourism, corporate and small business by Martian settlers. This program could be available in decades afterwards when populations grow to tens to hundred of thousands.

As the settlements grow more populous; engineering technology programs can be upgraded to engineering program.

Arts and Humanities programs come afterwards?

Last edited by knightdepaix (2018-12-12 22:30:55)

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#7 2018-12-13 02:08:07

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

I was thinking it would begin as a post-grad research facility - an extension of  a rich university like Harvard or Cambridge (UK), or possibly a consortium of universities.

I could see all the areas of study you mention coming into play over time.

I imagine that initially the following areas might be funded:

1. Mars geology/seismology/planetary studies.
2. Mars climate history.
3. Astronomy (particularly observation of the asteroid belt).
4. Space medicine.

Of course if any life forms or fossils are discovered on Mars, then there will be an academic "gold rush"  with probably billions of dollars being spent on research in a very short time period.

A lot of the funding for such a university institution would come from agencies like NASA.  It will be a lot cheaper for NASA to pay for studies on Mars by  Universities using Space X facilities rather than pay for developing their own remote robots. The same applies to other space agencies. I think we would see  lot of interaction between Space X, Universities and Space Agencies. 

A lot of smaller space agencies would I am sure like to get involved as a way of delivering national prestige.  If you are the Argentine, Brazilian, UK, Nigerian or South African space agency, you can get a lot of "bang for your bucks" if you hook up with Space X.

Another area of research that people might not think of is sociology and anthropology.  There will be research funding available for how human society is developing on Mars - how it differs from or how it mirrors Earth society.

knightdepaix wrote:

maybe a [state] college before a university? Mars Planet College... What fields shall the post-secondary institution teach? Civil and aerospace, biological and chemical, and mining engineering technology programs. As the settler population increases, more facilities are built. More service and educations would be needed.
1) aerospace engineering technology deals with maintenance of the settlement transportation to Earth. example: computerized fluid dynamics on Mars
2) chemical and biological laboratory technology deals with analysis of soil and air samples, and food plants and crops maintenance in greenhouses. example: gas chromatography with hydrogen and argon.
3) civil and environmental engineering technology deals with road, rail, bridges construction and maintenance, energy storage, nuclear power plant maintenance
4) mining engineering technology deals with analysis mining metals and rocks, the location fixated branch of #3 where a mining site is located. support #5
5) chemical and industrial engineering technology deals with analysis of fuel, energy storage, chemical and material production to support #1 and #2.
6) Informatics technology deals with internet communication and maintenance of data on Mars and with Earth and space stations.
7) tourism and business management deals with tourism, corporate and small business by Martian settlers. This program could be available in decades afterwards when populations grow to tens to hundred of thousands.

As the settlements grow more populous; engineering technology programs can be upgraded to engineering program.

Arts and Humanities programs come afterwards?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2018-12-13 15:46:23

knightdepaix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-07
Posts: 195

Re: The University of Mars

In terms of schools of study,
1) the school of engineering and engineering technology, shorthanded as "Seet"
2) the school of biological sciences and applied chemistry that includes managing greenhouses, medicinal and pharmaceutical practices, shorthanded as "bsac", pronounced as bee-sak
3) the school of social and natural studies that include all the geology, climate, astronomy, sociology and anthropology, "sns"

As more settlers live in the settlements, more demand for post-secondary education is going to be sought after. More schools and departments will come into existence.

Last edited by knightdepaix (2019-01-11 08:36:02)

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#9 2018-12-13 17:48:30

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,173

Re: The University of Mars

The engineering should include electrical and electronic, Mechanical and materials as well as industrial.

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#10 2018-12-16 19:11:25

IanM
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2015-12-14
Posts: 276

Re: The University of Mars

I wonder to what extent the University would or should be associated with the surrounding society. I think associating the University administration with that of the colony/settlement as a whole opens the door for much abuse and curriculum manipulation, but going off knightdepaix's concept of a state college it might very well receive funding from the Martian taxpayer. Going off that concept as well I think Martian residents and settlers should get a discount of tuition compared to Terran students. Then again, that itself raises questions as to the concept of tuition and other sorts of fees/expenses once the University evolves from being purely research to include teaching. While STEM will almost certainly be a large part of the curriculum I would hate to deprive Martians of an education in liberal arts and the old "sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt" of Latin (and other languages). But teachers for such courses would certainly be determined by the budget.

Once children start being born and reared on Mars I also wonder when/if the primary and secondary educational infrastructure becomes separated from the University.


The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. -Paraphrased from Tsiolkovsky

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#11 2018-12-17 19:09:22

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

I see the University of Mars as a way of drawing in funding from Earth - no need for Mars residents to fund it.  We know that very rich people are fascinated by space. We know that on Earth they like to endow university institutions as that preserves their name into the future in a positive manner. With Mars they win both ways!

I think for the first few decades it would be largely a post-grad research facility with some advanced teaching going on.  I base that on two factors:-

(a) For the first few decades everyone will be coming to Mars as adults with pre-existing degrees and post grad qualifications.  They will tend to be highly educated and/or trained already. 

(b) Labour will be in very short supply, so the Mars colony probably needs to concentrate on ouput rather than learning.

A teaching institute of higher learning, as we know it on Earth, might start developing after a couple of decades as young people come to Mars on extended stays.  Taking a semester at the University of Mars might become financially viable (from the point of view of the University). The young people might not have all the skills Mars requires but they (or their sponsors) will pay for their education and life support on Mars and could also contribute part time to the development of Mars by working for instance in the agricultural habs or elsewhere, on lower grade work.  It might only be 200-500 people to begin with but there will be tremendous cachet to attending the University and no doubt big firms keen to attract the biggest talent will use this sort of placement as bait to beat the competition.

But it is really only with successful procreation on Mars that we can expect to see a really large university on Mars develop. I am sure nearly all children on Mars will be educated to a very high standard and so university attendance will probably cover 90% plus of the population.

It's almost inevitable that STEM will dominate Mars but I am with you - we want to give Mars the best of human culture, so one hopes that the University will have a wide curriculum.



IanM wrote:

I wonder to what extent the University would or should be associated with the surrounding society. I think associating the University administration with that of the colony/settlement as a whole opens the door for much abuse and curriculum manipulation, but going off knightdepaix's concept of a state college it might very well receive funding from the Martian taxpayer. Going off that concept as well I think Martian residents and settlers should get a discount of tuition compared to Terran students. Then again, that itself raises questions as to the concept of tuition and other sorts of fees/expenses once the University evolves from being purely research to include teaching. While STEM will almost certainly be a large part of the curriculum I would hate to deprive Martians of an education in liberal arts and the old "sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt" of Latin (and other languages). But teachers for such courses would certainly be determined by the budget.

Once children start being born and reared on Mars I also wonder when/if the primary and secondary educational infrastructure becomes separated from the University.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#12 2018-12-17 19:34:45

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,173

Re: The University of Mars

Louis wrote:

I see the University of Mars as a way of drawing in funding from Earth - no need for Mars residents to fund it.

I think for the first few decades it would be largely a post-grad research facility with some advanced teaching going on.

I see that as only possible if they want the research that you generate from the education.

The way to look at this is in the eyes of the person recieving the education for how much it pays them to have gotten it for what it costs them. Every day I do research for my self to educate myself at the lowest cost possible as thats what I can afford. I do it to be able to conversate with all of you so that the topics can progress to getting meaningful work from them that will effect the future of man.

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#13 2018-12-18 05:56:25

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

The USA, China and EU spend between them about $1,300 billion per annum on research and development.

So the questions are (a) how much does  University of Mars establishment need and (b) how much of that $1.3 trillion could it divert to Mars research.

To get a post-grad research facility going on Mars (once you have you settlement base established) with maybe up to 40 people would probably take less than $500 million over 10 years, about $50 million per annum. I think that sort of sum could easily be covered by a consortium of leading universities from the USA, Japan and EU.

But is it unreasonable to think that such an establishment might divert a lot more from Earth's R&D budget?  0.1% of the overall Earth R&D figure is $1.3 billion per annum.   I don't see why that sort of sum wouldn't be coming into R&D on a whole new planet. A University of Mars would take a large share of that, I feel.

And of course a lot depends on what we find on Mars when we get there. If any fossils or life forms are found, there will be a research "Gold Rush" I would predict.

Labour and advanced technical skills will be in very short supply on Mars.  In that context, I think Mars students can expect to have their education paid for them, including at tertiary level (it is in any case an oddity that in most advanced countries secondary education is free but tertiary education is not). I would expect the Mars Republic to agree something like a corporation levy/sales tax to contribute to  funding the University and people's attendance there.


SpaceNut wrote:
Louis wrote:

I see the University of Mars as a way of drawing in funding from Earth - no need for Mars residents to fund it.

I think for the first few decades it would be largely a post-grad research facility with some advanced teaching going on.

I see that as only possible if they want the research that you generate from the education.

The way to look at this is in the eyes of the person recieving the education for how much it pays them to have gotten it for what it costs them. Every day I do research for my self to educate myself at the lowest cost possible as thats what I can afford. I do it to be able to conversate with all of you so that the topics can progress to getting meaningful work from them that will effect the future of man.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#14 2019-01-10 04:21:24

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,122

Re: The University of Mars

Louis. Institutions like Universities or learned societies have many competing calls on their money. They must decide what to fund and to what level; and what not to fund. The exception to that is when a donor such as the government or someone's executor specifies what the donation is to be used for.
Note that the British Antarctic Survey is government funded. Although its HQ is in Cambridge, it isn't paid for by the University, and the budget (appr 48 million pounds) would severely shrink if it were otherwise.
I don't think you can rely on non government organisations to come up with the sort of research money you will need for a Mars version of BAS.

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#15 2019-01-10 06:08:08

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,918

Re: The University of Mars

This is true but the following is also true:

1. Universities compete with each other just as strongly as Ford and Toyota compete .Even when there is no immediate and obvious commercial advantage these mega companies compete with each other to stop the other one getting ahead in some as yet unforeseen way.

2. You mention donors. Benefactors want to ensure their name is recognised in posterity.  Being first is key to ensuring your name is up there in lights, as Dr Harvard will tell you. You telling me there would be no billionaire bidders to get their name on the first University of Mars building?  I'd say the going rate would be $300 million, minimum.

3. 5000 people on Antarctica every year. I'd be surprised if it cost less than $300 million per annum to get them there and keep them alive and fund whatever it is they are doing.

4. The idea that astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, sociology and other departments won't be diverting funds to Mars based projects I find unlikely.



elderflower wrote:

Louis. Institutions like Universities or learned societies have many competing calls on their money. They must decide what to fund and to what level; and what not to fund. The exception to that is when a donor such as the government or someone's executor specifies what the donation is to be used for.
Note that the British Antarctic Survey is government funded. Although its HQ is in Cambridge, it isn't paid for by the University, and the budget (appr 48 million pounds) would severely shrink if it were otherwise.
I don't think you can rely on non government organisations to come up with the sort of research money you will need for a Mars version of BAS.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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