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Searching for Life on Mars

Evening Program

Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0376
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.


NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launched last summer on its journey through space toward a planned February 18, 2021, landing on Mars. Utilizing the latest advancements in engineering, science, and human ingenuity, its mission is to collect samples and return them to Earth, where they’ll be scoured for signs of ancient life. Since humanity first became entranced by a red star in the night sky thousands of years ago, we have looked to Mars for answers as we’ve struggled to fathom our place in the cosmos. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why is there something and not nothing? And did that something from nothing happen once, or time and again?

Georgetown University planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson has spent her career seeking answers to these questions. Drawing on her new book, The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World, she recalls the work of other contemporary seekers and that of the pioneers in the search for life on Mars—and the setbacks, the advances, and the unanticipated breakthroughs they experienced. Johnson elucidates how the quest to bring this distant planet into focus, pursued on the frontiers of technological innovation, has been about much more than scientific knowledge: it has been a deeply human endeavor to defy our own isolation in this universe and discover—once and for all, if we’re lucky—that we are not alone. 

Copies of The Sirens of Mars (Crown) are available for purchase.



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  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
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Inside Science

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.