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Event name

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World with Sarah Stewart Johnson


Wed 12 / 15 / 2021
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM


Online Zoom

Who can attend

Open to all

Limited Capacity: 50 spots available



Mars was once similar to Earth, but today there are no rivers, no lakes, no oceans. Coated in red dust, the terrain is bewilderingly empty. And yet multiple spacecraft are circling Mars, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium, and Mare Sirenum—on the brink, perhaps, of a staggering find, one that would inspire humankind as much as any discovery in the history of modern science. In this book talk, Georgetown scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson, author of The Sirens of Mars, will tell the story of how she and other researchers have scoured Mars for signs of life, transforming the planet from a distant point of light into a world of its own. 

Sarah Stewart Johnson is a Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Georgetown University. Sarah Stewart Johnson's research is driven by the underlying goal of understanding the presence and preservation of biosignatures within planetary environments. Her lab is also involved in the implementation of planetary exploration, analyzing data from current spacecraft as well as devising new techniques for future missions. A former Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow, she received her PhD from MIT and has worked on NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers. She is also a visiting scientist with the Planetary Environments Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Harvard Review and The Best American Science and Nature Writing.Her recent book, The Sirens of Mars, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and selected as one of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2020.

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