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

If I had been alive 500 years ago I would have been jumping on board the ships of Columbus, Magellean or da Gama as they set off to explore the unknown world. I believe that if the great explorers of history were alive today they would be exploring space, which is literally full of new worlds to explore. This common link through the mists of history is one aspect of my job that provides me with a thrilling sense of purpose and perspective of our place in the Universe.

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to commit my life to the great adventure of exploring space. I have been interested and dreamed about exploring space ever since I was seven years old. I have never really wanted to do anything else with my life. I remember my father taking me out to watch meteor showers as a young boy. As I lay on the hood of his truck gazing up into the dark night watching meteors glowingly zip by overhead it dawned on me that space was a real place to go and explore. It wasn't some "fantasy land" that existed only in your dreams or storybooks but it was, in fact, somewhere we could go one day to explore all its glorious mysteries, and I wanted to be part of it. Growing up I naturally built and launched countless model rockets, wrote letters to astronauts, looked through my telescope, and read as much as I could about space exploration.

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