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Activity: What Do You Know? What Do You Ask?

Purpose

This activity asks you to decide what kinds of questions scholars from different disciplines might ask about an object or a significant event. In this case, you will think about who is best suited to travel to Mars to find out if the planet could ever be inhabited by humans. The ultimate goal of this activity is to help you solidify your understanding of the different disciplines, but more important, to get you thinking in an interdisciplinary fashion.
"Manned mission to Mars (artist's concept)" created by NASA. Via Wikipedia

Process

Your job is to assemble the best research team possible to most deeply understand if it would be possible for humans to one day inhabit Mars.
1. Come up with the single discipline that you think would be best suited to understand if humans could inhabit Mars.
2. Explain what someone from this discipline would know or want to ask about Mars.
3. Why is your discipline the best for the job?

For Further Discussion

Post your answers from above in the Questions Area below. After posting your own answers, read the others posts and pick a discipline that someone else chose that you think would make your team even stronger. Why would putting these two disciplines together be better than just having one alone? Comment on someone else’s post and share why you think your two disciplines should join forces!

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user Dennis Hall
    The challenge of choosing a single discipline really drives home the point that a project scope of this size really requires a joint effort for success. Having that understanding, I would send anybody up as long as they were prepared and equipped with some of the knowledge and tools of the several disciplines necessary.

    Perhaps I would train McGyver in the basics of botany, engineering, biology, geology, survival, homesteading, animal husbandry, and basket weaving, and then let him fill in the gaps with extreme resourcefulness.
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Jordanh237
    A climatologist would be best suited with their knowledge in how severe, mild, or barren a planet's climate is which would be essential for a permanent settlement on mars. They could find out how hospitable a planet is and whether a potential storm of micro-dust may perhaps clog out an air vent system for example. Climatologists are much best at their job from years of learning and expertise. If given the right equipment and of course a team of other specialists to help could potentially have an accurate idea of how habitable mars could be.
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Anna  Ignateva
    Of course we need the old old wise phIlosopher in such difficult job. He would ask all of interested to keep calm and listen to they inner voice. And I belive what must be will be then.
    (3 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user James Hicks
    I would chose a botanist. and they would want to know if a engineer was going to be available because an engineer would be capable of helping the botanist in the creation of an environment that would make life sustainable.
    (3 votes)
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  • duskpin seedling style avatar for user rlavasseurstudent
    a engineer because he can fix the broken mashines that pump air and help us breath
    (3 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user Mateo Piper
    Biologist hands down. They'll be inclined to ask questions about the likelihood of complex life developing and the factors that need to be present to keep life alive.
    (3 votes)
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  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user Alfred
    The process of travelling to Mars and erecting a structure that would protect the team requires a team of engineers:
    1. Logistics for providing food and water for the team.
    2. Management: how to share the work load equitably.
    3. Policing: how to deal with people who rebel against the society.
    Anyone traveling to Mars in our present time needs to understand how long it would take to get there, how much fuel is needed to propel and guide the ship, and how much food and water is needed.
    How much oxygen will be needed by the crew for the trip?
    Once possibility is to build a vessel large enough to provide for growing food and generating oxygen, a water recovery system, and a waste processing system to recover and recycle human waste.
    A good psychiatrist would also help.
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kihran.Mcferrin
    in my research team i would have a expert farmer they could find ot ways to grow crops, then i would have a group of scientist that have been researching mars or a while, next i would run experiments on mars with crops, animals,and to rest the air, if mars is ok for humans for humans i would establish a small colony of scientist to do more research.
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf yellow style avatar for user Lünee Vrümee #TYllwLf
    Engineer, who would look at available materials for the purpose of construction, and would try to study the effects of sandstorms and other natural "disasters."
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Andy Jimenez
    A biologist would be quite a good choice, they'd be curious enough to investigate how best to live life on another planet.
    (2 votes)
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