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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Julie Spector (02/04/04)

I'm Julie, and I'm from Savannah, GA. I want to be in this course for several reasons. I've loved astronomy and the cosmos since I was a little girl. I took my first science class in ninth grade (late and strange, I know). It was a physics course, and it was then that I began to question religious teachings I had since I was two. Yet I remained interested in the idea of God, as well as spirituality and religion, though for some time I felt this curiosity was antithetical—not to mention hypocritical—to my desire to become a physicist. Luckily, coincidentally—some would smile and say blessedly—choose your adverb, I chanced to learn about chaos theory and read Carl Sagan's Contact in the same time frame, and I began to see that these things were not so antithetical, nor did one hamper the other. I believe that the questions and trickiness that belief, faith, and science provide ultimately collapse into the same inquiry.

How can we not travel to Mars? Humans owe it to their sense of inquiry, desire for truth and explanations, the ability to ask why and to possess or dispossess a faith, to believe in something (science, God, yourself, art, who cares), indeed we owe it to ourselves to travel the universe. I can't wait to look at the Rover data!!! I think the CAVE is going to be so cool! I'm also hoping we study some planetary science, perhaps different theories of planet formation. And I'm a sucker for Olympus Mons. I'd also like to use a telescope at some point in the class. I'd like to use physics, and I hope I can contribute that. I'm also curious as to the discussion of life in other worlds. I believe the universe would be an awfully lonely place if Earthly species were the only species. I want to discuss this primarily biologically and chemically (but philosophically as well)—does life have to be in our Earthly constraints? Couldn't there be non carbon based life, life that doesn't require deoxyribonucleic acid? The universe is big; there are scores of possibilities out there. Mars is the first step in discovery.

 

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