Mars College

Mars College is anchored to a 3-month program, during which a cohort of 30-50 people build up a temporary village on a 20-acre stretch of open desert in Southern California we call Mars. During the quarter, we live, work, and study together on Mars. At the end, we dismantle the village, leaving no trace, to await the next season.

The next Mars College session will take place Q1 2023. It will be our third session overall, following the first two in 2021 and 2022. Mars College grew out out of a precursor in 2020 called BRAHMAN.

If you're interested in joining us, please read on for more info about the main program. A contact form is at the bottom of this page.

The main program

In the beginning of the quarter, we'll build an off-grid village on Mars that we call Chiba, using low-cost and reusable building components. We'll setup an electrical grid from solar power, connect to our high-speed internet network in town, and begin a rotation for managing food, water, waste, and composting/gardening. More info about the work that goes into Mars College.

Once Chiba is built, we spend our time organizing educational and creative activities on Mars and in Bombay Beach, including workshops, study groups, and some invited talks. We also have some meals together, film screenings, yoga, group bike and electric unicycle rides, and other fun stuff. We also setup some communal areas for co-working. More info about our activities.

The main quarter culminates in two exhibitions that we organize together, one at the half-way point in mid-February, and a final show at the end of March, coinciding with the Bombay Beach Biennale.

Before the 2023 quarter begins, we will have an informal warm-up period from Nov-Dec 2022, during which we are looking for a small number of people to come early and help us prepare for the 2023 quarter. During this time, we are smaller, more informal, and mostly focused on infrastructure projects and preparing the build on Mars.

After we take everything down from Mars, the wind-down period in April starts. We continue some activities in town, as people slowly trickle out. At the end, Mars will have no trace of us and we will disband for the summer.

Location, lodging, and logistics

Mars College primarily takes place on Mars, our off-grid campus in the Sonoran desert roughly 1 mile away from Bombay Beach, as well as several locations in town. For housing options, please see the Live page.

What we ask for

Mars College is a free program, with some basic amenities provided. There is no fee to live here or participate. Instead, we ask Martians to commit to the following:

Can I come to Mars College while maintaining a full/part-time job?

Yes you can. We are supporters of the work-from-home life, and we have high-speed internet and communal work spaces to support you. As long as you can still contribute to the program and be present, you should be able to keep all your obligations and still be part of Mars College. The only catch is that we prioritize the space/housing that we have access to for people who are the most present. If you have a full-time job while at Mars College, we may ask you to bring your own accommodations (like a van or RV) or arrange a rental in Bombay Beach.

Get in touch with us

If you are interested in joining us, or learning how you can participate, we'd love to hear from you. Please fill out the form below or at this link.

If you're interested in or have questions about any of this, or just feel like saying hi, we encourage you to reach out to us by e-mail, twitter, or instagram. You can subscribe for announcements on our newsletter.