The crew of the Ares frequently adds, “we’re scientists” into conversations. They never fail to remind themselves of the scientific background that unites them as a group. The repetition of this phrase or variations of it seems to make it into a theme. Robinson seems quite interested in the concept of placing scientists into positions they normally are not in, namely politicians and colonists. I think the reason for this is because scientists are considered to be people dictated by reason – to be people most informed – to be people that can make the most logical and unbiased decisions. However, the crew of the Ares has shown that despite the scientific adhesive that unites them they still make many mistakes – they are still quite fallible. I think Robinson does this to humanize the crew of the Ares – to show that they are still human and subject to the conditions that come with humanity.

The ongoing “love triangle” between Maya, John, and Frank shows that emotions still are a big part of the human condition. No amount of education or intelligence can prevent them from having feelings. They have just as much emotional drama in their lives as the lay people on earth. Some of the crew of Ares seems to look down on drama, namely Nadia. She is always disinterested in Maya’s drama. In fact, she thinks that Maya often makes this drama worse than it needs to be. There may be truth in that. Nadia really dreads being the “go-between” of Frank and Maya. The moment in which Maya told Nadia that she could not be seen talking to Frank was such a high school moment.


“…no spore falling out of space, no touch of a god; whatever starts life (for we do not know), it did not happen on Mars” (p. 96)

This quote was quite interesting. The confidence in which the crew of the Ares reminds themselves of their profession as scientists implies that they can solve anything. Because they are the intellectually elite, enough thinking can resolve any issue. However, the quote above reminds the reader that, though the crew of the Ares is indeed scientists, there are still plenty of things they do not know. Undoubtedly, what starts life is one of the most desirable things to know; yet it still eludes science. This gives the novel a subtle sense of the supernatural – or the unexplainable. This coincides with the earlier debate about God.