Johnson recalls in new book how the Red Planet drew her to become a scientist
“Mars has been our mirror, our foil, a telltale reflection of what has been deepest in our hearts,” Dr. Johnson writes in the book’s forward. “We have seen in Mars a utopia. A wilderness. A sanctuary. An oracle. With so few landmarks, guideposts, or constraints, all is possible; without data that could be used to cabin our inquiry or limit our imagination, Mars has been a blank canvas. And tenderly, our human seeking has rushed to fill it.”
The book is also a coming-of-age story for Dr. Johnson and a new generation of planetary explorers. In the next half-century, their machines are likely to determine whether anything like life as we know it resides elsewhere in the solar system.
Read more from The New York Times review of the book