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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Paul Rosiak (02/11/04)

Within what initially appears to be a long two and a half hour seminar, we discussed such a wide range of topics so intensely that it made that allotted time go by in an instant. We discussed anywhere from the religious aspect to the actual discoveries being made on Mars. I feel that the discussions we had dealing with the many outside aspects of Mars were very important to discuss so that we understand that such aspects even exist. As much as I feel those points are important, I believe that the actual data, theories, and history of Mars should be discussed more as opposed to the latter. We are amidst some of the earliest stages of Mars terrain exploration and we should focus on what we are actually seeing and try to understand what it means if something is a certain way. For example, what does it mean when we find these hematite-rich craters and terrain?

In part of some of the outside aspects we discussed, I found our talk about the human fascination for Mars's and how it possibly affects our perception about it to be very interesting. I feel that topic was boosted when a classmate mentioned Percival's Arizona surroundings and how it could have affected his drawings and mappings of Mars. It just brings up the point where it may be that even our present surroundings may have a significant affect of how we view Mars. If so, how are we being affected? Is it in a positive or negative way? As it was in the past, technological barriers and surroundings affected what we looked for. When canals really started making a larger appearance during the Industrial Period with Schiaparelli, all of a sudden we started finding these canals on Mars. Furthermore, people started to believe that these canals were a sign of advanced beings and life on Mars, all because of what we saw currently in our surroundings.

Following that topic leads to the discussion about what we believe to be necessary in order to have life, water. Maybe if we knew more about the bottom of Earth's deepest oceans, we would have an enhanced or changed view of Mars. Say for instance, we find bacteria deep in the Earth's crust or ocean floor that thrives off some certain substance and does not require water. I think this would do wonders for the Mars Exploration program. All of a sudden, more people start believing that it is possible for life to exist on Mars. With more people interested, NASA would get more attention and ultimately more funding. Obviously with more funding, NASA can thrive off of bigger and better research and more ability to find out more about what we don't know.



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