Mars College

Mars College is in its infancy, and the program structure is evolving. We have scheduled January 2021 to bring an initial batch of students to start an academic quarter, subject to limitations due to COVID-19. We are also open to a small number people to join us early this fall to help us prepare for the first quarter and begin building out Mars.

How it works

Mars College is a free program for a limited number of people. There is no fee to live here or participate. Instead, we ask members to commit to a long-term stay and help develop the program, by contributing to the study groups or helping us maintain camp.

Location and lodging

Mars College primarily takes place on Mars, our off-grid campus in the desert roughly 1 mile away from Bombay Beach, as well as on our compound in-town Chatsubo.

We design and construct off-grid architectural projects using pallet racks and other cheap reusable building materials. We work with solar energy and are investigating geothermal, wind, and other renewables, as well as beginning experiments with horticulture, composting, aquaponics, and other ecological projects.

For shelter, we are building out a campsite which will provide water, weather protection, electricity, and high-speed internet. We have free tents, sleeping bags and blankets, materials and tools for fabricating hexayurts or other kinds of more robust shelter, as well as space for people to scale up their living situations with our support. We are fans of the vanlife and tiny house movements, and are able to facilitate the buying, loaning, or refurbishing of vans, RVs, and trailers. We endorse the autonomous lifestyle enabled by having a personal shelter, vehicle, and workstation hybrid, and we revolve most of our interests around ways of supporting and improving the experience of that lifestyle.

Timeline and calendar

Our admissions are anchored to the main quarter, which runs for the first three months of the year. The quarter culminates in two exhibitions, one at the half-way point in mid-February, and a final show at the end of March, roughly coinciding with the Bombay Beach Biennale.

We are prioritizing applicants who will commit to the full three months, although we will consider exceptions for those who can only stay part of the time on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, we have a warm-up period before the main quarter, and a wind-down period in April following the final exhibition. We are looking for a small number of applicants to join us early for the warm-up period and help us prepare for the main quarter. During this time, we are smaller, more informal, and mostly focused on infrastructure projects and building out Mars. During the wind-down period, we gradually take everything down from Mars and disengage. This is also a good time to take road trips and explore the surrounding area. At the end, Mars will have no trace of us and we will disband for the summer.

How we are dealing with COVID-19

We want to make Mars College a COVID-19 green zone, so that all members are virus-free. We are following CDC guidelines, and will limit new entries to mitigate the pandemic as it evolves. We plan to quarantine, monitor, and test every new entry for 14 days before they join the green zone. During this time, all the camp resources are provided free and they interact with everyone else outdoors with social-distancing and masks. We will scale this strategy up or down in accordance to the current severity of the pandemic and consensus of the current residents.

Apply now

If you are interested in joining us at Mars College, start by reaching out to us through the application form below or at this link. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis, and will respond to you to arrange a video call to meet you and talk more details.