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 (03/17/04)

First of all, I want to say that I really enjoyed going and being able to use the cave. Mars has always seemed like a distant entity, something that was barely tangible and I couldn't really imagine it. Being able to use the Cave made me feel more like Mars was a real place that I could actually imagine going to. I could actually imagine that I was flying over Mars in a spaceship, looking down at all the planet.

The Cave, I feel, is a great way to get people who might not support the space exploration program to be more interested in helping to further it. You really feel a kind of connection to Mars when you're in the Cave.

I think that the Cave is a great idea, but there were a few things that surprised me. First of all, I thought the Cave would be a four sided room. The controller surprised me, but in a good way I really like how you just had to point where you wanted to go.

I think it is crucial for us to work towards the goal of sending humans to Mars. Right now, and probably for a long time, it is not nearly safe enough to even consider sending humans. But I really think humans can do a lot more than robots can. We can use our brains to try to decipher stuff and put together facts that a computer might not be able to do. Like colors or features that might be missed by rovers. But the rovers, I believe, will always serve a very important purpose. They can look at things in much more detail that humans can and they can perform important experiments that humans are not really needed for.

I believe that one of the major questions that needs to be answered about Mars is exactly what happened to all the water where did it go? In order to answer this question, I think we just need to keep doing various experiments and also to keep our minds open, because we are dealing with a totally different planet, and something could have happened that currently seems unfathomable to us.

Another question that really interests me is what Mars was like when it was covered in water. Was it Earth-like, or something totally different? The above approach seems useful is solving this.

Also, the whole deal with plate-tectonics seems really important, and how they evolved both here and on Mars (or didn't) would really help us to understand not only Mars, but all planets, especially our own.

If I were able to go to Mars, I would really want to be able to explore the various places that water may have flowed to examine their properties and see how Earth may or may not look in many years. I would also love to just wander around and see how different the various places on Mars are.
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