Staff Picks: Education & the Martian Frontier


"From the summer of 2017 to spring, 2018, the Gottesman Libraries Education Program staged Mars Mission, “an out-of-this-world immersive experience” in the Smith Learning Theater. The 70 minute production simulated a mission to the Red Planet during which participants, divided into teams, worked together to solve problems of human settlement on Mars, from the scientific to the technical. While the idea of travel to (and visits from) Mars has long been a staple of fantasy and science fiction, recent developments have brought that prospect closer to reality. Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit, made international news in 2013 when over 200,000 people submitted applications for 100 places on a one-way trip to the planet. NASA’s “Moon to Mars” initiative aims to send at least one man and one woman to the Moon by 2024 in order to “[establish] sustainable exploration” for settlement on Mars. Among the private enterprises collaborating with NASA on that initiative is SpaceX, the company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk with the mission of enabling the colonization of Mars.

Like Gottesman Libraries’ Mars Mission, media coverage of the prospective colonization of Mars has considered the issue as largely a set of scientific, technological, and funding problems. But histories of colonization on our home planet point to deeper questions about the philosophy and morals of colonization itself. This collection looks at literature about Mars alongside literature about colonial education to more fully consider the implications of human settlement on Mars."

-- Anika Paris, Library Associate

Staff Picks is curated each month by the Gottesman Libraries' staff to highlight resources on educational topics and themes of special interest. Education and the Martian Frontier is on display through December.

Cover Image: The Planet Mars, from The Ziegfeld Collection of International Children's Art, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries, Teachers College, Columbia University


To request disability-related accommodations contact OASID at, (212) 678-3689, or (646) 755-3144 video phone, as early as possible.

Last Updated: 10:57 pm, Tuesday, Dec 1 , 2020