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Education will be essential to the continued viability of any permanent settlement. Even if there is a constant influx of educated colonists from Earth, the long term health of the colony will depend on a continuously educated population. Skilled workers are needed for equipment maintenance and engineering. Health workers and specialists need to keep up with progress in their field of expertise. Continuous education will be an important part of the settler's life. Example of this are the continuous education of military personnel on ships during long postings, or the modern emphasis on continuous education in professions such as engineering and medicine.

Earth based lectures may be possible, but face an important limitation due to communication latency. The round trip delay of 8 to 30+ minutes will make interactions practically impossible. Pre-recorded lectures will be available as with modern university services.

Children's education will require live teachers. Daycare will be required for parents who have to work in settlements that need to maximize their human resources.

Education represents 10 to 15% of the public spending in developed countries, and Mars will have the same costs or more.


As the settlement(s) grow education will require schools and other educational facilities. To keep the Martian population on Mars will require higher education, and eventually universities. In fact, universities may be some of the first educational facilities built on Mars, as Students from Earth and graduated colonists seek degrees and continuous education. The number of settlers with college and university degrees should be very high, and a Martian settlement may be one of the most highly educated societies in the solar system.

Alternate modes of education

A Martian settlement may present an opportunity for different kinds of educational systems. Automation of production may change the relation of the settlers with the work required, and may change the type of education that the colonists want for their children. A case can be made for both a more rigid school system to implement safe attitudes in a complex technological environment and a highly flexible and creative education system to increase creativity and self reliance in an environment where boring jobs are all done by robotic systems.