Mines becomes first school to offer minor in space mining

School also introducing new programs in biosciences and teaching

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/24/21

Colorado School of Mines graduates have gone on to engineer mines around the world. Now the school is hoping to set up its students to do something out of this world. Next school year, undergraduates …

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Mines becomes first school to offer minor in space mining

School also introducing new programs in biosciences and teaching

Posted

Colorado School of Mines graduates have gone on to engineer mines around the world. Now the school is hoping to set up its students to do something out of this world.

Next school year, undergraduates at the school will be able to begin taking classes toward a new minor in space mining, the school announced on Feb. 15. That minor, which the school said it believes to be the first of its kind in the world, is one of four new degrees the Golden college is introducing.

According to a press release from the school, the new minor will “allow undergraduate students at Mines to get a flavor of what is to come in both mining and space exploration.”

Jamal Rostami, an associate professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at Mines, said in a press release that the success of space missions depends on the ability to use materials in outer space.

As space travel continues to develop, the school expects there to be demand for mining engineers who can travel on space missions and help space travelers get access to extraterrestrial materials that can be used for several activities, including the fueling of spacecrafts.

“Design of mining operations in space requires some out-of-the-box thinking and emphasis on automation, safety and remote operation,” Rostami said in the release. “The Space Mining minor can facilitate this transition between the current state-of-the-art mining techniques and the operation of mines in the future both on earth and in space.” 

Here are the other major and minor degree programs Mines announced it will be implementing this fall.

Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering

According to the release, this bachelor’s degree will “prepare students to harness the power of biology and mathematics to address the next generation of challenges in health care, energy and the environment.”

Students in the Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering program will receive a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and engineering, in addition to core courses in the fundamentals of biology, cell biology and physiology, genetics, biochemistry, quantitative biology and microbiology, the school said.

Electives are designed to support students with interests in a particular area of biology, such as ecology, biology systems or molecular biology, along with critical quantitative skills. Students will then be able to go into careers in biotechnology and biomedicine.

“Graduates of the Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program will be uniquely equipped to tackle the challenges we will face today and in the not-too-distant future, including the impact of the data revolution and Big Data,” said Brian Trewyn, associate professor of chemistry, in the release. “Simply put, there is a need for graduates who can both use a micropipette in the laboratory and write code at the computer terminal.”

The degree will also offer students a unique path to medical school. Provost Richard C. Holtz said student demand for an undergraduate biology program at Mines has steadily grown over the years as more students became interested in pursuing jobs in both traditional medicine and biotechnology.

“We are excited to launch the Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program at the undergraduate level and provide students interested in bioscience and engineering careers with a distinct education they cannot get anywhere else,” Holtz said in the release.

Mines also launched a graduate degree in Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering in 2018.

Teaching Minor

This new minor will build on the existing Teach@Mines teacher prep program to prepare students for careers teaching math and science at the K-12 level. Students will take teacher prep courses and get K-12 classroom experience.

“Mines is working hard to help solve the nationwide STEM teacher shortage by providing pathways for Mines graduates to enter the classroom where they can prepare and inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Wendy Adams, Director of Teach@MInes, in the release. “The new Teaching Minor is the next step in this effort providing Mines students an opportunity to explore and learn more about the teaching profession.” 

Aerospace Engineering

The degree is intended to make Mines students more competitive for careers in the aerospace engineering field, which the school says now employs half of all mechanical engineers in Colorado.

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