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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Jonathan Russ (02/04/04)

My name is Jonathan Russ; I am a freshman currently living in Keeney. I am originally from Long Island, though I attended the Groton School in Massachusetts for my four years of high school.

I decided to take “Exploration of Mars” primarily because of how current its subject matter is. Having the opportunity to take part in original, groundbreaking research of such import without years of education and work experience is quite incredible. Furthermore, I wanted the experience of a small class to stand in contrast to the three large lecture classes I am taking this semester. I have always had some interest in astronomy; this seems like the perfect course to pursue that interest.

As a likely International Relations concentrator, I believe that I can contribute a political perspective on space exploration. Specifically, I am excited to analyze President George Bush's plan to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars and to try to figure out where this plan fits with the rest of his agenda. I am also interested in the Soviet/American relationship during the Space Race of the 1960s, and how scientists from two polarized states came to collaborate on missions to outer space. On the science side, I have some experience with physics; I took Physics 7 (Classical Mechanics) last semester and am continuing this semester with Physics 8 (Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity). What knowledge I have may help my classmates and I understand the process of sending spacecraft to Mars.

In this course, I hope to gain a multifaceted understanding of space exploration; in fact, one of the reasons I am looking forward to taking the course is that this subject crosses disciplines as diverse as hard science, politics, and philosophy. I am particularly interested in the question of life on Mars and how organic matter would be detected as well as the processes necessary to get a spacecraft to Mars in the first place. Moreover, I am very excited to be able to participate in research and perhaps make discoveries that have some impact. And the CAVE sounds like a lot of fun.
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