Results for: Explorations of Mars

KNOW 36070: Explorations of Mars

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department:
  • Year: 2020-21
  • Term: Spring

Jordan Bimm

Mars is more than a physical object located millions of miles from Earth. Through centuries of knowledge-making we have made the “Red Planet” into a place that looms large in cultural and scientific imagination. Mars is now the primary target for human exploration and colonization in the Solar System. How did this happen? What does this mean? What do we know about Mars, and what’s at stake when we make knowledge about it? Combining perspectives from history, anthropology, and sociology, this course investigates how knowledge about Mars is created and communicated in science and technology fields. A major focus will be learning how Mars has been embedded within wider social and political projects including theological debates, Manifest Destiny, The Cold War, and the commercialization of spaceflight. Through reading-inspired group discussions and instructor-led experiential projects, the course will move from the earliest visual observations of Mars to recent robotic missions on the planet’s surface. In doing so, this dynamic research group will critically grapple with problems posed by the potential discovery of extraterrestrial life, the organization of future Mars colonies, and evolving human efforts to make Mars usable.  

This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge