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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of…
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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

by Mary Roach

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9322243,213 (3.98)417
The author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.… (more)
  1. 41
    A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin (Othemts)
  2. 64
    The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (Othemts, nessreader)
    nessreader: The shift in corporate mentality in NASA between the testosterone drenched fighter pilots of Wolfe's era and the team orientated and PR-paranoid present is instructive. The terrifying discipline required seems equal; in any case, interesting to compare.
  3. 10
    What's It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There by Ariel Waldman (bragan)
    bragan: Packing for Mars is definitely the book to read if you're interested in the odd quirks of life in space (at least if you're OK with reading about bodily functions), and What's It Like In Space? makes for a fun little companion volume to it.
  4. 10
    Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane (itbgc)
  5. 10
    The Martian by Andy Weir (sboyte)
    sboyte: One is fiction and one is nonfiction, but the subject matter is similar and I think both will appeal to anyone who enjoys science with a dash of humor.
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» See also 417 mentions

English (223)  Dutch (1)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
Just when you think every aspect of spaceflight has been covered, along comes Mary Roach to provide comprehensive (and humorous) analysis of things like Japanese astronaut selection criteria, motion sickness researchers, and "terranauts." Great read for anyone interested in the odd, obscure, and overlooked aspects of NASA and space history. Definitely recommend this one. ( )
  FooBoo732 | Jun 5, 2020 |
Mary Roach is a funny woman. I guess that's what you get when no subject is taboo and she has the charm to pull it all off. :)

What does she pull off? A full, scientifically accurate look at the little stuff in life. Astronauts living in space was rather more the focus. That's okay. We're not quite ready to go to Mars. But at least we're ready to drink our pee! Yay!

Seriously though, beyond the last quarter of the book being devoted to floating poo in a very fun and educational way, the whole book is a serious work of scholarship, investigation, and interview. We can throw out a lot of the myths and add a whole lot of true facts to our bags thanks to this non-fiction.

I honestly had a great time reading it. And since this is my second Mary Roach, I think I may be plunging ahead to read more. :) Yay! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
It's horrible and terrifying, but so funny. ( )
  Wanda-Gambling | May 9, 2020 |
Humanizes the astronauts' story. Recommend highly, because it's such a different take on the usual astronaut stories. Has the usual defects of a Mary Roach book: there are some dumb jokes (as well as some quite funny ones), and she occasionally comes across as awfully credulous. ( )
  themulhern | Mar 9, 2020 |
I learned way more about pooping in space and pooping in general than I ever wanted to know. That and a lot of other random facts about space, astronauts, and the history of the space program is what makes up this book. I'll remember the pooping stuff and the tidbit about how the biggest challenge we face in space is the effect that unfiltered radiation has on our bodies. Worth a read for the curious. ( )
  debs4jc | Feb 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roach, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cipriano, EllenDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Druskin, JuliaProduction managersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garrett, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nickolls, LeoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiemer, FredCopyeditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Jay Mandel and Jill Bialosky, with cosmic gratitude
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To the rocket scientist, you are a problem.
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If you stumbled onto Building 993 at Ellington Field airport, you would have to stop and wonder about the things inside. The sign on the front is as evocative and preposterous as the engraved brass one that says Ministry of Silly Walks in the Monty Python sketch of the same name. This sign says REDUCED GRAVITY OFFICE. I know what is in there, but even so, I have to stand for a moment and indulge my imagination, through which coffeepots are floating and secretaries drift here and there like paper airplanes. Or better still, an organization devoted to the taking of absolutely nothing seriously.
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Contents:

He's smart but his birds are sloppy: Japan picks an astronaut -- Life in a box: the perilous psychology of isolation and confinement -- Star crazy: can space blow your mind? -- You go first: the alarming prospect of life without gravity -- Unstowed: escaping gravity on board NASA's C-9 -- Throwing up and down: the astronaut's secret misery -- The cadaver in the space capsule: NASA visits the crash test lab -- One furry step for mankind: the strange careers of Ham and Enos -- Next gas 200,000 miles: planning a moon expedition is tough, but not as tough as planning a simulated one -- Houston, we have a fungus: space hygiene and the men who stopped bathing for science -- The horizontal stuff: what if you never got out of bed? -- The three-dolphin club: mating without gravity -- Withering heights: bailing out from space -- Separation anxiety: the continuing saga of zero-gravity elimination -- Discomfort food: when veterinarians make dinner, and other tales of woe from aerospace test kitchens -- Eating your pants: is Mars worth it?
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393068471, 0393339912

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