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 (04/08/04)

Class today seemed like there was a lot more logistical things than usual. There was a lot of preparation for our future classes regarding the teleconferences with the astronauts. This will be an awesome experience that many people never get and I want to make the most of my opportunity. When first considering what I might ask these astronauts nothing profound came to mind. I will work on that, but the question that did come to mind was: if you could keep only one memory from your voyages, what would it be? Or something like, what was the most amazing image that you saw on your trip? I'd assume an answer along the lines of looking back at earth from the moon. I'd also like to see their ideas about their idea for the future of the space program. The Bush initiative seems to be geared more towards intellectual, scientific minds, specifically astronauts. I'd assume the astronauts would feel that the initiative is a very good plan and definitely worth more than the money we are spending in Iraq. They would also have a lot of insight into the debate between automated missions and human led missions. Being actually on the moon, in a foreign environment, they know what men could do that robots cannot. They would know the level of spontaneity that a human can bring to a place like that. They would also know the risks involved in sending a human life into space rather than a robot.

We also spent a while talking about Lillian's spring break. It sounded like an amazing trip. I myself wanted to get away from schoolwork, but her trip seemed like fun work. And she also got pretty messed up, which is always a goal of college spring breakers. I think MTV should consider one of those pressurized chambers for their spring break in Cancun. It would save the kids a lot of money on beer at least.

The most intriguing part to me would be being able to feel all those different experiences. Very few people get a chance to feel weightless, or go in one of those pressurizing chambers. The experiments seemed interesting but I didn't really see a very large significance to optimizing eye drop application in space. I'm glad she had a great time. It sounded awesome.

The other topic that we spent a good deal of time discussing was the nature of exploration. We looked at all aspects including personal glory and genetic disposition, but I feel that it is an innate thing that all species explore. It may not be conscious exploring but rather, expanding. In biology this year, we did a simulation lab in which we looked at evolution of finch populations. The finches were always on an island that was of a limited size. In regards to the island, the smaller the size, the smaller the capacity of the finch population. So it is a natural disposition of animals, when they run out of room to search out new room. Humans haven't really run out of room, but we like to expand what we know, and look for potential new room.
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