Julie Spector (03/10/04)
I thought yesterday's class was the best we've had so far this semester. Of course, this may be due to the fact that I'm highly prejudiced towards discussion of science! What I found the most interesting, perhaps even the most startling, is the lack of plate tectonics on Mars. I don't have much geology experience beyond the oceanography course offered here, and I assumed that all planets underwent plate tectonics (which is so incredibly silly of me now in retrospect). To imagine a planet without that seems….alien. And alienating in a way more pressing than the possibility that life may have existed at one point on Mars. I suppose it is because I expect there to be life elsewhere in the universe, whether we find it in this solar system or not. I've never really confronted by own perception of what the Earth is like--what it's fundamentally like--and to so suddenly find out “no plate tectonics here!” makes me want to frantically assess my own geological understanding of Earth.
Another element of yesterday's material that struck me is the importance of position from the Sun. Go from Mercury to Venus to Earth to Mars: total lack of atmosphere to greenhouse effect to lush earth to desolate (but most likely and hopefully water filled) Mars. It makes me wonder about other systems throughout space, with a similar sun…if they by chance have planets at roughly the same positions from the Earth as our terrestrial ones do, how similar do you think they are to ours? I know there a million factors out there, but the universe is pretty big. I bet it can encompass each potential system.I want to find out more about complexity theory and chaotics studies on Mars.