C O N C L U S I O N
N A V I G A T I N G
T H E I N F I N I T E C O S M O S
I began my fieldwork for this project in 2009. As I write this conclusion,
more than five years later, much has changed in the field, and much has
stayed the same. The MDRS is still in operation, and its visitors are still
drawing connections between the Utah and Martian terrains. A crew mem-
ber from the final mission of the 2013–2014 season, on encountering a
murky river, has written, “So there it was, water on Mars and in Utah. We
had done it. And for our purposes it’s basically the same place” (Morgan-
Dimmick 2014). Utah continues to be made into a place understood as
Mars. On the Mars on which humans have yet to set foot, though, water
and other signs of life are still being sought. The Mapmakers continue to
serve up images and virtual globes that allow scientists and nonscientists
to engage in remote exploration. Just as the rover Curiosity slowly inches
toward its destination of Mount Sharp, the Mapmakers continue to stitch
new high-resolution images into their quilted representation of a land-
scape, transforming it from the alien to the familiar. Both efforts are aimed
at knowing another world in ever greater detail.
Exoplanet astronomy, a much newer discipline than Mars science, has
moved at a faster clip. With so many known planets there are more data
than ever before, and scientists work hard to analyze, scrutinize, and play
with what can be discerned from dips in light. In 2009 the community felt
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