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Steve Squyres
ATHENA Science Team Principal Investigator
Cornell University, NY

P2K: The RAT is being built a few blocks from the World Trade Center. The development of the mission is taking place in a world full of terrorism, war in Iraq, and you're going off to explore a planet far away. Why do that at a time when there is so much turmoil, so much stuff that could engage bright people in solving problems down here on Earth?

Steve Squyres (after a long pause): Why keep painting paintings? Why compose symphonies? Why continue to do any kind of scientific research? Why keep playing baseball? We keep doing all the things that humans do. Yeah, the world's got its problems right now. But the worst thing that I can imagine doing in the face of the threat of terrorism would be letting it change what we're about as a nation, what we're about as a people. It'd be the worst way to react to this. We keep going.

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