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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Geoffrey Stetson (03/24/04)

Our talk about researching in Antarctica was awesome. I was very impressed with the talk that was given. I have a lot of respect for the professor who came to present to us. I cannot remember his name, I think it was David something, but I will call him Dr. Boston for this discussion. Anyway, I have a lot of respect for what Dr. Boston does. Seventeen field seasons in Antarctica could really mess a guy up, but he seemed to take everything in stride. He seemed like a very seasoned expert who had this nature about him like he was prepared for anything. He may not know how exactly to work a computer, but I guess that is not actually very necessary out in the field.

Living and working in Antarctica seems like an extremely trying environment. The way a person must change is unbelievable. Just having to live in sunlight all the time must put things in an extremely warped perspective. Other things that might seem very odd are: not showering, putting human waste in a bottle, never changing landscape, living with the same people, and only those people for a very long time, eating the same food over and over. But these things are not necessary out in the wilds of Antarctica. When you're out there it becomes a world of necessity, not desires.

I would love to go on this trip or a trip like it. It seems like a great way to get in touch with yourself. I have a feeling if you had any unresolved thoughts when you left, they would all be resolved when you came back. The trip almost seems like a Native American vision quest, getting sent out in the middle of nowhere, with tremendous amounts of time to think. I would be interested to take one of Dr. Boston's psychological tests to see if I would qualify to go out there with him.

One thing that I wish was covered more in the discussion was the actual work done up there. He never really described what was accomplished up there, just that a lot of holes were dug and that rocks were packed up in boxes. Dr. Boston mentioned that students who went to work with him had to be excited about working in the area and doing the work and not just in it for themselves. But he never told us what they had to be interested in doing.

The discussion about the cancer in the camp was fun to think about. It is the perfect set up for a scary movie, a remote place with very little contact with the outside world. The students come cheery eyed, ready to learn, and ready to get in touch with themselves, but one of them is a little different. Instead of getting in touch with themselves, they get in touch with EVIL! Pretty good movie trailer huh? Anyway, it would be an interesting psychological study. Dr. Boston might consider allowing a psychology major come along with him and work on a thesis out there. It is also very interesting to think of how to incorporate a cancer back into the folds of the Antarctic society.

I really enjoyed the topics covered in the presentation. I feel that living in Antarctica was the main topic of conversation, and not the analog between Mars and Antarctica. Maybe that was the point, and we were supposed to draw the analogies on our own, but overall, I really enjoyed class.


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