Thursday, March 6, 2008

Exploration on Mars

There’s been some talk recently about Mars - although strangely enough I can't find the all the links right now - maybe Mars is being talked about because it’s in a very close position to the earth, or maybe because of the landslides.

Here's an opinion: I think it’s about time that we sent real geologists to Mars, the Moon, and anywhere else we can get to, and see what is really going on. I suppose our unmanned probes are getting better, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing like a real person for making observations and testing hypotheses. As geologists, we are trained observers, as my dad likes to say, and so I’d say we should get into the field Out There.

Once upon a time, I thought I might be one of the ones to go into space to explore, because when I was young, I really though we would be colonizing other planets or going on long space treks to other solar systems, soon, Any Day Now. That’s what I thought—maybe it was a Star Trek thing, maybe it was an Isaac Asimov thing. By the time I was 18 or 20, however, I could see that we would probably not take to space in any meaningful way in my lifetime, or least not until I was probably too old to be considered for colonization or exploration. So, I’ve stuck to exploration here, on this planet.

And that’s worked out well for me, overall.


Anonymous said...

One of my geological heroes is Harrison Schmitt, still the only geologist to do fieldwork off-planet. It is a shame he is still the only one.

Silver Fox said...

You know, I hadn't even thought about Schmitt and the collection of moon rocks. And it was so long ago.

The Lost Geologist said...

Mars sounds pretty cool even though I have to admit the travel time is a awfully long for a field trip. But finding the first martian fossil would be pretty awesome - though I doubt we will ever find something at all. Perhaps maybe some dead microbes.

The Moon however looks like an ideal adventure. Can still see and call home but plenty of interesting geology and landscapes. I can't hide my special interest and have to wonder again if there are worthy mineral deposits to be found!

Chuck said...

You're jumping the gun, Silver Fox.

With all this humming and hawing about salty ground water on Mars, what we really need to do is fly EM.

Silver Fox said...

Yes, no doubt our geophysisicts and black boxers would want to get in on the game first - but hey, wait, they're already using a kind of black box, a roving metal one!

Maybe we should send a engineer first?