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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Michael Frederickson (02/04/04)

My name is Michael Frederickson and I'm originally from Pembroke, Massachusetts. I'm currently a computer science concentrator, and am focusing on 3D computer graphics. I plan on working in the computer animation field, focusing on research and production.

I chose to take this course for a variety of reasons. Despite having little previous experience with astronomy outside of working briefly with a star observation journal for a class in high school, I thought this course would be a perfect opportunity to explore a topic I've always been curious about but didn't originally foresee myself studying. The class also has an added degree of excitement in that it covers topics so current that we'll be able to study and discuss data only days old, an exciting change from classes in which the texts may have been established for decades. My previous experience and research in rendering and animating in 3D really drew me to some of the visualizations of the current rover missions, and helped spark my interest in Mars exploration in general.

I was particularly interested by the portions of the course focusing on whether or not further space exploration would be a lucrative process. Following the recent Columbia disaster, the media tossed around the idea of further work in space being fruitless and even dangerous, and I'm interested in discussing the future of exploration and what different people believe we will learn from it if we continue. In addition, the opportunity to explore the surface of Mars in an alternative environment like the CAVE is particularly exciting. I think that learning in such a cutting-edge and innovative way will be very beneficial.

I plan to actively voice my opinions, as well as take the time to consider contrary views. I hope that working with such a broad variety of my peers will allow me to take away a varied but cohesive understanding of Mars and space exploration, as well as the process of developing and evaluating ideas as a team. Overall, I'm extremely excited about this course and the opportunity to discuss such engaging and timely material in the seminar format.


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