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 (04/08/04)

I feel that our last discussion was a great way to delve ourselves into the ideologies and issues that we will encounter when talking about our upcoming National Space Plan and the Bush Initiative. I feel that many topics such as the key elements of exploration as well as the inescapable money issues will be points of interest in the debate of President Bush's plan in class. People opposed to the plans and people for it will obviously argue through many different perspectives. Yet there may be a pattern where people opposed will almost definitely argue the money issues while people for the plan would be likely to explain and talk about how exploration is in our blood and how we must feed its yearning.

The exploration discussion we had was excellent in the fact that it was interesting to see how people view it very differently. I noted that some of our main aspects of why we explore were power, competition, curiosity, finding resources, search for answers, etc. It seems to me that individual perspectives of exploration are defined by our own personal experiences of it. It is safe to say that most of us if not all of us have experienced some forms of exploration one way or another; therefore, depending on the perspective and role a person plays in the exploration will affect how he or she sees it.

I personally view myself as an explorer from experiences I had since I was a little one. It was always just my legs, my bike, and me. It started when I was about 8 years old and continued until I was old enough to drive a moped, which opened up my abilities dramatically (same idea of how technological advances open up more doors for NASA). Therefore, my views of exploration are based on the excitement and curiosity of it all. It's just exciting seeing new places and wondering off into the unknown, the thrill always gets you going even when your legs are about to fall off. When I started getting older and stronger, I started venturing off for entire days riding to places about 40 miles away to see far I could go. Then with my moped, those distances tripled despite not being able to drive on highways. With my car? Don't even ask. Yet, I can also say that it was the challenge as well that drove me for exploration. Sometimes I would not drive a motorized vehicle and just ride my bike for the sheer physical challenge of it. Trust me when I say it is a completely different experience between riding a car to a far off place and pedaling a bike. The final result can be much more satisfying. Still, I can easily argue that I drove those distances for competitive reasons and for resources as well (a certain store or haunted house). In the end though, it appears to me that exploration is a combination of all these things whether you agree/realize it or not. It is impossible to say it is just one of those major aspects.

Whether or not it is in our genetics, well that's for the biomedical engineers to find out, but if you ask me I think that it's in our blood. I feel it's a basic instinct feeling just like any other primitive instinct I have. As humans, we have basic instincts like other animals with reproduction seemingly being the most important one. Along with those come territorial boundaries, eating, sleeping, and the long list of things we do subconsciously. I feel exploration in one form or another is one of them and the best explanation I believe I can give is that it's simply something I feel inside of me that I can't change.
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