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The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on…
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The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World (edition 2020)

by Sarah Stewart Johnson (Author)

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746285,123 (3.96)1
Member:awrittentool
Title:The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World
Authors:Sarah Stewart Johnson (Author)
Info:Crown (2020), 288 pages
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The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson

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I've read a few books on Mars exploration, so this was somewhat familiar territory, but I found the author's deeply personal perspective to be very illuminating and pertinent to the subject at hand. Also, the writing was quite fine. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Feb 20, 2021 |
I have recently read a number of science books by women scientist. They each have their strengths and weakness but The Siren of Mars is the best of the lot is one is interested in the science of searching for life on the planet of Mars. The book contains 80 pages of notes that are as interesting as the book itself. She also provides some details of er personnel life; however it does not dominate the book itself. In many ways she was lucky that she had supportive parents and understanding professors. This does not mean that she did not face hurdles to the advancement of her career, because she did; however, in her mind she was able to overcome them and was able to become a successful scientist. Just keep moving forward. Definitely a must read book. ( )
  BobVTReader | Jan 27, 2021 |
An unusual book, a mixture of science history and the author’s personal journey both professional and personal. She conveys her own sense of wonder throughout, even when she’s describing quaint early theories of a superior civilization having constructed Martian canals, or attempts to listen to Martian radio signals by ascending in balloons. The book gains traction though when the first missions start to reach Mars, as crude images are painstakingly transmitted back from orbiters bit by bit, and speculation begins to be supplanted little by little by evidence. ( )
  Matt_B | Jan 25, 2021 |
I've long been interested in books about Mars and space exploration in general. I saw a favorable review of this book in New Scientist magazine but probably would have picked it up anyway.

The author starts by reviewing early exploration of Mars, of course, through telescopes. Although I knew about people like Schiaparelli and Lowell whose early work popularized the idea of canals on Mars, I had never given much though about the size of the images they were looking at. They were drawing detailed maps of Mars from images that were maybe half a centimeter across!

Johnson also gives a good review of the various space craft visiting Mars, from craft that vanished because the programming confused English and metric systems, to landers which roved around giving excellent data. These space craft changed our view of Mars in the pre-visit days of a planet with water and possibly life, to the extremely arid, dust storm ridden and crater filled planet we know today.

She also does a good job, mostly, of bringing her own personal growth, from a farm girl in TN to a world renowned planetary scientist. She also highlights several other women in the space program, some of which were her own mentors. Inspiring stuff. Fits in nicely with "Rise of the Rocket Girls" and "Hidden Figures".

My main complaint about the book is it's lack of illustrations. A couple of maps and some photos of rovers would have made the book much more alive. Especially a map which showed the relative locations of the landers.

My other, and more minor complaint, is her timeline. She jumps around a lot, which is OK, but I got confused a few times when trying to relate one event to another. Especially with regards to her own story. A couple of dates thrown in would have helped. ( )
  capewood | Sep 21, 2020 |
A stroll round the investigation of the planet Mars from the early years of optics to the latest Mars rovers, interspersed with sections on the author's life and work. I found it a bit scattergun but quite interesting. ( )
  SChant | Aug 7, 2020 |
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