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I suppose science and religion do not mix? Don’t tell that to Martian scientist Reverend Pamela Conrad

I suppose science and religion do not mix?  Don't tell that to Martian scientist Reverend Pamela Conrad

When Reverend Pamela Conrad looks up at the sky, you are actually looking up at the sky.

At night and at odd times during the day, Conrad shines as a scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington as a member of the Tactical Operations Team at The permanent Mars probe missionResearch associate in two sets of scientific tools that collect and analyze data, and collaboration in team planning, z Colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and other science institutions around the country.

During the day, the 68-year-old is a bishop who leads worshipers at St. Episcopal Church. Albana in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

It has always been wise that science and the humanities, not to mention science and religion, are two fields that one does not understand and look at completely different problems. This idea has weakened in recent years as academic disciplines have given way to interdisciplinary approaches.

Conrad was educated as a geologist, among other things, he had other ideas.

“There is no conflict between science and religion,” she said. “Both look at the wonders of the world and our place in it.”

rocks and people

Overcoming these disciplinary limits was not easy, at least not for the pioneers who had to overcome a great deal of institutional resistance.

“The academic system forces students to be scientists or humanists. And what I don’t realize is that the same spirit and some of the same technologies underlie both art and science,” graphic designer and computer scientist John Maeda, former professor at MIT Media Lab, once told me.

“Our goal should be to create Renaissance people through an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, da Vinci people who are interested in everything and can do anything.”

“I studied everything,” Konrad said. A quick look at her credentials reveals that the person Maeda was talking about is.

She got all her degrees from George Washington University in the US capital, got her start as a musician, discovered geology along the way and fell in love with it. In the first year and a half, I participated in many scientific courses Before receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Music in 1974, she earned a Master’s degree in Music Composition – I wondered about the career of an opera singer – in 1987 she returned to science, and in 1998 she defended her doctorate in geology.

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The basis for this “ultimate” degree was an interest in how life forms in unpromising situations, such as thermal holes in the depths of the ocean floor. With one of those moments in the right place, at the right time, she says, she met famous director James Cameron, who made an income from films like Titanic and built a submerged research ship. Thanks to the deep-sea footage that Cameron filmed for IMAX 3D, footage he later used in the sci-fi movie Avatar, Conrad was able to examine the thermal stacks in more detail than any researcher.

A year after she received her doctorate, NASA — which was looking for scientists to work on the geological aspects of Curiosity — appointed her as A contractor at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, operated by the California Institute of Technology.

We are trying to understand whether the processes that made life on Earth grow and develop took place on Mars. And if so, we want to know if life exists — and if it doesn’t, why not? She recently told a journalist from Alumni magazine. It’s a question she has continued to answer as actively as she was when she was hired in 1999.

The first experiments I helped design weren’t selected — as she explains, there is stiff competition among NASA scientists to get their equipment on this, after all, a very small ship. However, it persisted. Conrad resigned from her position at JPL in 2010 and took a full-time research position in the civil service. NASA Goddard Space Flight Centerرحلات in Greenbelt, Maryland by 2017. As Assistant Principal Investigator for Sample Analysis at Mars, she has worked on curiosity to travel Request and other projects as you refine the questions that you’ll discuss later.

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Back to Soul – Back to Mars

only later in her life that Conrad din took. Having experienced an Epiphany on a windy day on a business trip to Antarctica, she joined the Episcopal Church in her youth and then entered Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She graduated from Divinity in 2017 when the school became affiliated with Union Theological Seminary in New York. Shortly thereafter, she assumed leadership of her diocese in Maryland.

When NASA heated up the Mars Perseverance Rover mission at the same time, one of its experiments was chosen for inclusion. That device is a toolkit called SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Luminescence for Organics & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) which she said was “not mature enough” to find a place in the earlier missions.

It aims to search for microbial life with instruments including a seismometer that can identify minerals and organic molecules found on Mars, such as hydrogen and carbon, the building blocks of life on Earth. It also includes two high definition cameras.

“It’s all brought together a great team of people and I’m just one person on that team,” she said.

However, the search for life on Mars is no longer a top priority for her.

“I want to make it very clear,” Conrad said. “My first job and first responsibility is now the pastor of the church. What you see on Sunday is only a part of it. I have responsibilities to my parishioners and their needs, and in the end, people should come first, people are more beautiful than rocks.”

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However, she earned many hours in her role now part-time He’s been working on Mars affairs in his home office since the Covid-19 pandemic. The schedule is fast and of course includes two jobs It can be a little stressful.

Whether you’re tired or not, there are lessons you’ll want to teach while working as a priestess. Conrad insisted, above all, on the sanctity of everything.

“Understanding this is just one of the tools people need to lead a decent life, to live in a community and to treat each other well. My second lesson, I think, is the virtue of walking gently, of living a calmer and more thoughtful life.”

He adds that the pandemic was an excellent opportunity to reflect on this and deepen your mission with these lessons in mind.

to the stars

If Konrad regrets something, they focus on her early life – for how long The John Glenn Mercury spacecraft was launched into the sky in 1962She was nine years old and her greatest desire was to become an astronaut. Women have been denied this path for decades and had to content themselves with the distinctive and varied path they took. Though brimming with honor and intellectual excitement, it keeps her in touch.

His realization expanded, adding a biblical role to his scientific role: the question of whether life could exist on other planets was reconstructed into something like: “If God can create life here, can God create—and create—life in where?” Elsewhere??Conrad said the answer to this question is simple: “Of course.”

She added that this life is likely to be infectious and simple, not aliens in our imagination. But this will be life, and this is the journey that always keeps Conrad excited and busy.

But will you go to space? Don’t rule it out.

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