Students will get a comprehensive look at life in space during the semester. Students will get a comprehensive look at life in space during the semester. Students will get a comprehensive look at life in space during the semester. (Photo: Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock)

Here's what you can learn at space summer school

From tweeting to treaty-making, students will learn the skills necessary for life beyond our planet.

It may be summer, but school is now in session.

The France-based International Space University is hosting its annual summer Space Studies Program beginning today in Israel. The graduate-level eight-week course will be held at the Technion Institute, one of the most innovative universities in the world.

Hundreds of people from countries like the U.S., Spain, France and Canada have flown to Israel for this special summer semester. So what will these students learn? One class teaches them how to tweet from space. Others discuss how to become a space entrepreneur and how to conduct surgery in outer space. There's also a visit to a hyperbaric chamber and an elective on how to start your own space company.

There are several divisions within the university. The Space Humanities Department, co-chaired by professors from Ireland and Canada, will focus on the nexus of pop culture and space endeavors. As part of this track, students will take a course in filmmaking and create their own three-minute space movie. A course in social media teaches participants how to create a viral campaign from the dock of a spaceship. This section also hosts classes on space art and music in space.

"Our activities are specifically designed to take you on a journey of inspiration, creation and reflection," the class description notes. "Through interactive discussions and workshops, we will gain an understanding of the role of culture in affecting the next generation of space doers and dreamers."

Other courses around the university include: Space psychology, medicine in space, high altitude balloons, astronomy, space robots, rocket design, space mining and game theory. Oh, and don't forget about the Mars treaty-making class. Yes, it's a real thing.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin shows off his mission to Mars T-shirt at the space conference in Israel.Astronaut Buzz Aldrin shows off his mission to Mars T-shirt at a space conference in Israel last year. (Photo: Courtesy)

Special lectures will be given by distinguished guests. NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman will speak about the Hubble Telescope. Canadian astronomer David Levy will give a talk on his decades-long search for asteroids. And legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who serves as chancellor of the university, will talk about his goal of colonizing Mars within his lifetime.

"It is in our DNA, our makeup as human beings, to have a curiosity to expand our knowledge and to explore beyond the present limits," Aldrin told From The Grapevine. "It is an inevitable mark of progress." This is the second time Aldrin has been in Israel in the past 10 months. In October, he was the keynote speaker at a space conference held in the Mediterranean country. (While there, he also went scuba-diving in the coastal city of Eilat.)

"The pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay," said Aldrin, who earned his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT. "They didn't wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement on Mars."

The summer semester is taking place in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa, which is home to one of the world's most gorgeous gardens. That will provide the perfect backdrop for the end-of-semester event: a rocket launch competition, which is open to the public.


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Related Topics: Space