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Turnout for "Mars Madness" exceeds expectations

September 2, 2003

An estimated 1,000 people from the Clarksville-Montgomery County community turned out for "Mars Madness," a celebration of the Red Planet's "brush" with Earth.

On Aug. 28, members of the physics and astronomy departments set up telescopes in front of the Dunn Center, allowing observers to see Mars as it came within 350,000+ miles of Earth, as close as it had been in all recorded history.
September 2, 2003

An estimated 1,000 people from the Clarksville-Montgomery County community turned out for "Mars Madness," a celebration of the Red Planet's "brush" with Earth.

On Aug. 28, members of the physics and astronomy departments set up telescopes in front of the Dunn Center, allowing observers to see Mars as it came within 350,000+ miles of Earth, as close as it had been in all recorded history.

"The turnout was far beyond any expectations that I had," said Dr. Robin Reed, assistant professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department. "My wife estimated that perhaps a thousand people from the community were on campus at some point."

Dr. Jaime Taylor, chair of the physics and astronomy department agreed with Reed's assessment. "I turnout was well beyond anything I had imagined. There was a touch of madness out there!"

The project was a joint venture between the department of chemistry and the physics and astronomy department, and students from both departments played key roles. "The chemistry and physics student organizations pulled the event off almost entirely by themselves," Taylor said.

Both chairs were pleased with the effort and say they look forward to working together on more projects in the future.