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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Kate Edwards (04/08/04)

The question of what the nature of exploration is really interested me. The word is something we usually just take at face value, and it was great to see the class's perception of its true definition. Personally, I believe exploration is driven by the desire for power. Whether through prestige or wealth, most explorers wanted something to gain other than just their personal curiosity.

I'm not sure whether or not I believe curiosity and a desire for knowledge is innate. This is an argument that would be incredibly difficult to prove, and seems unlikely, unless one could find a “curiosity gene” that would suggest otherwise. I am not willing to rule out this possibility entirely, but I am skeptical.

An interesting point that was brought up in the class was the fact that people distinguish between personal and physical discovery. When asked if they felt if they were explorers, most people in the class said no, but I would say that most of them actually are. I'm not sure I'm willing to distinguish between, say, exploration of the moon, and exploration in a lab that increases scientific knowledge as a whole. Aren't both exploration and discovery?

Another great argument was the relationship between exploration and religion. Are they mutually exclusive or supportive of one another? Would we consider religious beliefs “discovery?” I think that while most religious people would, most non-religious people would not. This brings a spin to how we perceive and interpret modern-day exploration and discovery. Why is it that some people (like myself) are so skeptical of religion and such believers in science?

I am personally a major proponent of discovery of any kind. I have always wanted to know about the world around me, and this desire definitely spreads to other worlds as well.
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