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Dr. Jim Rice
Arizona State University & Participating Scientist
Mars Exploration Rovers project

I was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a fairly small town located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I am the oldest of five children. I have two brothers and two sisters. All five of us obtained our degrees from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. The name "Tuscaloosa" was derived from the Creek and Choctaw Indian words for an Indian Chief whose name means "Black Warrior." In 1540 Chief Tuscaloosa encountered the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto. De Soto would later discover the Mississippi River.

I have always been interested in science and the great explorers of history. Exploration is the life blood of a civilization. It provides new frontiers and challenges that stimulate both its people and technology. Exploration is crucial for a civilization's survival. Civilizations that cease to explore expire. The lessons of history are full of examples of this very fact and America needs to maintain its space superpower status or we will falter and slip into the backwaters of history.

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