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The Sirens of Mars


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About the Author

Sarah Stewart Johnson is an associate professor at Georgetown University, where she teaches astrobiology and planetary science and leads a biosignatures laboratory. A former Goldwater, Truman, and Rhodes Scholar, as well as a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, she received degrees in PPE and in Biology from the University of Oxford, and a PhD from MIT. She worked with President Obama's science advisor in the White House, and now serves on the science team for NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover.


Beautifully written, emotive - a love letter to a planet -- Dermot O'Leary * BBC Radio 2 *
Elegantly written and boundlessly entertaining * Sunday Telegraph *
Beguiling * The Times *
Johnson's prose swirls with lyrical wonder, as varied and multi-hued as the apricot deserts, butterscotch skies and blue sunsets of Mars -- Anthony Doerr * New York Times Book Review *
The inside story of the exploration of Mars. A young woman scientist shows what it is like to be in the thick of exciting and ground-breaking research. -- Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford
Exhilarating, informative, always engaging... beautiful in its descriptions -- Andrew Crumey * Literary Review *
This elegantly crafted book conveys what it's like to be a young scientist involved in the quest. -- Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and author of On the Future: Prospects for Humanity
A celebration of human curiosity, passion and perseverance. Superb in its storytelling, majestic in its vision, The Sirens of Mars will give readers a new appreciation for the preciousness of life in the cosmos. -- Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams
The Sirens of Mars provides the prospect of great discovery, and an introduction to a writer of the first rank. -- Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
There's no better guide to what NASA's various Mars missions have revealed ... A true love letter to geology, on this world and others * Nature *
A must-read for fans of our Martian neighbour and humanity's longstanding search for life elsewhere in the Universe * BBC Sky At Night *
Mars is an exceptionally inhospitable place. The coldest Antarctic winter, the windiest Everest December - each is as nothing compared with an unremarkable day on the red planet. That is precisely why Mars is such a good place to look for life. If it exists there, Sarah Stewart Johnson writes, "the smallest breath in the deepest night", then the only conclusion is there must be life throughout the universe. This beguiling book is about the search for life on Mars - from those who thought the planet was criss-crossed with canals to those, like the author, who just hope for a microbe or two. * Times (best books of the year) *
Brilliantly realised... Full of joy and existential curiosity, the book's images and metaphors take up residence in our minds and burn there, connecting scientific inquiry with deep questions about human existence. In every line Johnson makes us feel the passion for discovery and the desire to connect * The Whiting Award Selection Committee *

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