The College Teaching Students To Become Space Colonizers | Forbes

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Since fall 2018, the Colorado School Of Mining—No. 94 on the Forbes list of America’s top colleges, ahead of institutions like Virginia Tech and Penn State–has offered several degrees in “space resources,” ranging from a post-baccalaureate certificate to a master’s to a Ph.D. The program’s 75 students take classes such as Space Resources Fundamentals, a broad survey course, and Space Systems Engineering, which gets down to building students’ spacecraft and other projects from materials available on the Moon or Mars. Other seminars focus on what economic and legal issues might arise from colonizing the outer limits.

This may sound like science fiction, but the demand for the School of Mines’ graduates is very real. The commercial space industry is a $350 billion industrial giant, propelled by a generation of Silicon Valley-fueled startups such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the Yuri Milner-backed satellite company Planet. Morgan Stanley estimates that revenues from the space industry will rise to $1 trillion by 2040. And in the near term, NASA is awarding billions of dollars of contracts as it aims to return to the Moon—this time, with a permanent human presence. A key part of having a permanent base on the Moon is to reduce the number of supplies that need to be brought there from Earth. “If you’re going to take your family from Denver to New York City, well, you’re not going to carry all the fuel that you need to get there and to come back with your fridge and all the food and everything else,” says Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the School of Mines’ astro-engineering program.

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