Kate Edwards (04/14/04)
Talking to Jim Garvin on Monday was certainly a wonderful experience. I saw him quoted in Popular Science last month, and now I've had the opportunity to talk to him! All in all, the discussion was very similar to much of what we have been studying throughout the class. In his presentation there was a visual timeline of all of the explorations that needed to be done until the year 2020 or so, and I found this incredibly useful in piecing the project together in my mind.
One question that I wanted to ask that didn't get answered was about his discussion about the “follow the water” iniative. In class we have talked about the possibility of finding life on Mars that is not water/oxygen based and might be unlike anything we have ever seen on Earth. I wanted to ask him if the people investigating Mars had thought about that prospect, because he seemed so focused on following te water in direct relation to finding life.
His presentation was really helpful in explaining some of the direct goals of the current exploration program. The questions the class asked were certainly probing as well. Garvin was very prepared to answer all the questions, but as we discussed in class he was very diplomatic about the questions concerning the politics of Mars. I would have like to ask him outright that he thought about Bush's program. However, I suppose that this is a great approach to take, as it is a shame that space exploration has become a partisan issue.Tackling this issue of politics will be the next step, but unfortunately we might have to wait several years to discover true motives and governmental plans for NASA.