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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Boyoun Choi (02/11/04)

Among the readings I did prior to the class, I found the one about Percival Lowell most interesting. I was glad to hear about him from Professor Putnam. In the encyclopedia, the first part of the descriptions on Lowell is almost negative. It seemed to provide me more information about how critics viewed his ideas rather than the viewpoint of Lowell's supporters. I think I had in mind that Lowell was a funny and pathetic observer of his time, until I heard more about him directly from the Professor. It made sense that no matter how implausible his drawings and theories were, it stimulated the public as well as the world of scientists. I wonder if same reactions can arise these days when someone like Lowell appears with extraordinary and unproven data about the mysteries.

I also never thought about the opinion of the religious community. It is true that religious people often clash with biological discoveries and new technology. What will the reaction turn out to be if there really is evidence of life on Mars? As I learned from the discussion, the fact that there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe will bring up a big controversy and might question the root of some religions. Of course we know that the form of life will at most be the fossils or microbes, far from the old conjecture about intelligent life forms. However, the thought of non-specialness of our earthly human beings that came out during the discussion was indeed not very exciting. Exploration of Mars will cause both apprehension and bright anticipation at the same time. The more we know, the complicated problems about existence and religious values become.

 

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