Geo016 - Exploration of Mars

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Geo016 / Exploration of Mars / (M) 3:00-5:20 / Lincoln Field 105 / Prof. James Head

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Alexandra Grassian (02/18/04)

I found our discussion on Monday to be very eye-opening, and people raised many important points that I had never before considered. One of the points that interested me the most was how humankind as a whole would react to the finding of various life forms on other planets. Prior to this, I had always looked at the discovery of life elsewhere as more of a scientific advance than anything else. After all, the complex biological, physical and chemical challenges that could potentially be raised might lead to whole new schools of thoughts in every field of science.

The idea of how humans view themselves as special is so ingrained into our society that it is hard for most of us to even fathom the idea that there could be life elsewhere that could be more “advanced” than ours. The profound social impact that this could have on societies everywhere could really have a drastic effect on the way we think of ourselves and the world we live in. I really do not think our race would be capable of just accepting that there was other sentient beings out there that could actually take charge of us if they so desired. Practically since humans have come into existence, we have considered ourselves to be special – and with this thought, come feelings of power and control, all of which we would lose if more “advanced” life elsewhere were someday discovered.

As to the religious effect, I really think that it comes down to a very personal level. I personally have no problem with different interpretations of the Torah and other Holy texts. The Church, I think, would have to either make profound changes in their teachings, or deny the existence of any life elsewhere.

I am hoping, though, that we will soon get into more of the scientific aspects of Mars exploration.



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