"We are all Aristotle's children, which is to say children of the universe, not just Earth or Mars, or this system, but the whole grand fireworks."
— Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer
Sarah Stewart Johnson is a planetary scientist whose great love for her work shines through this robust overview of the human enchantment with Mars and the NASA missions to the Red Planet. After Mariner 4 took the first close-up picture of the place, the pace of the scientific research intensified.
One of the remarkable aspects of the quest to uncover the secrets of Mars is the global cooperation among scientists from around the world. However, Johnson also covers the sad ridicule of astronomer Carl Sagan as "a planetary dilettante by some peers who were jealous of his 13-hour TV series The Cosmos which reached almost half a billion people."
It is quite fascinating to read about the different ways that scientists look at Mars. Some see her as a neighbor who deserves special treatment. Others are convinced that she has revealed herself to be "the alien other." By the end of The Sirens of Mars, we were once again impressed with the audacity of scientists to acknowledge the many mysteries of this planet.