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

While working on my Ph.D. I was invited by NASA to go on a 6 month long joint expedition to Antarctica with the Russians. This expedition allowed me to go and explore the last frontier on the surface of the Earth. It was one of the most exciting times of my life and perhaps as close as I will ever get to going to Mars. Going to Antarctica is a lot like going to another planet in terms of logistics, risks, isolation, remoteness, and exploration and discovery. We had to make out our Last Will and Testament before we departed because people still die every year down there. The biggest adventure while down there involved SCUBA diving under the ice-covered lakes. The ice cover was 12 to 15 feet thick, and it required several days of very hard work for us to make our dive holes by hand. I was studying these and other lakes as analogs (ed. Comparison examples) to lakes that may have existed on Mars in the past.

I still continue to go on science expeditions to Mars-like places around the world, like Iceland, and Devon Island in the High Arctic. I also worked on Mars Polar Lander which unfortunately crashed on Mars back in December 1999. Exploration and danger go hand in hand.

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