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Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void (edition 2010)

by Mary Roach

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2,2661982,825 (4)354
Member:bluesalamanders
Title:Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void
Authors:Mary Roach
Info:New York : W.W. Norton, c2010.
Collections:Reviewed, Audiobook
Rating:****1/2
Tags:type: audiobook, read 2012, genre: non-fiction, non-fiction

Work details

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

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    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.
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Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
Hilariously informative and fascinating, as Mary Roach always seems to be. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
Packing For Mars was much heavier on history and narrative than I expected. Roach explores the psychological and physical issues surrounding space travel -- and all the crazy, intense, sometimes nasty experiments that happened along the way.

Like poop. There’s a whole chapter on pooping in space.

I definitely recommend it for fans of space travel who want to know some of the quirkier aspects of the space program. If you’re looking for something futuristic, this definitely isn’t it.

The writing style was conversational, like a PBS documentary or a BBC radio story. ( )
  Andibook | Jul 25, 2016 |
Did you read/watch THE MARTIAN and want to learn more about surviving in space? If so, then this book is for you. From food and digestion, to communication and clothing, Mary Roach does her typical deep-dive into space travel and all its minutiae. Told with Mary Roach's trademark dry wit, this may be the funniest, most heartbreaking space travel book you'll ever read.

Initially focusing on travel to Mars (a trip that would take 250 Earth-days each way), the author spends time discussing the history of space exploration so that the (non-scientific) reader has an understanding of how the methods and practicalities have evolved over the decades. This background information lays the foundation for an appreciation of modern-day space research and applications.

The reader is also introduced to some of the men and women (and animals) who have played important roles in furthering space exploration. They include astronauts, scientists, engineers, and test subjects. Through their anecdotes and stories, the triumphs, hilarities, tragedies, mundane realities, and deep humanity of space travel are presented. This makes for an effective counter-point to the hard science that is prevalent throughout.
  BooksForYears | Jul 3, 2016 |
Mary Roach keeps me entertained and informed at the same time. The subject matter of this one had me breaking out in giggles as I confronted the reality of the mundanes of space travel. How does one use the bathroom? What about B.O. and disintergrating clothes? This was a nice mix of the history of space travel, as well as what we are preparing to undertake. I am now a constant fan of Mary Roach. ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jun 23, 2016 |
I still have lots of questions. And I'm tired of Roach's forced humor - I thought there was enough humor just from the situations and the people she interviewed. But there's some interesting nuggets information in this collection of anecdotes and mini-science lessons, so I don't regret the read.

Roach informs us that wild dogs eat the stomach of their prey first, and that the contents of that herbivore give them their vegetables. Also that methane is odorless. Also that the 'aliens' at Roswell were dummy astronauts re' experiments on bailing out at altitude.

I did listen to some of the audiobook, too, and the narrator did a great job. If you have a choice, go with the audio. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Roachprimary 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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Dedication
For Jay Mandel and Jill Bialosky, with cosmic gratitude
First words
COUNTDOWN
To the rocket scientist, you are a problem.
Quotations
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?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393068471, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2010: With her wry humor and inextinguishable curiosity, Mary Roach has crafted her own quirky niche in the somewhat staid world of science writing, showing no fear (or shame) in the face of cadavers, ectoplasm, or sex. In Packing for Mars, Roach tackles the strange science of space travel, and the psychology, technology, and politics that go into sending a crew into orbit. Roach is unfailingly inquisitive (Why is it impolite for astronauts to float upside down during conversations? Just how smelly does a spacecraft get after a two week mission?), and she eagerly seeks out the stories that don't make it onto NASA's website--from SPCA-certified space suits for chimps, to the trial-and-error approach to crafting menus during the space program's early years (when the chefs are former livestock veterinarians, taste isn't high on the priority list). Packing for Mars is a book for grownups who still secretly dream of being astronauts, and Roach lives it up on their behalf--weightless in a C-9 aircraft, she just can't resist the opportunity to go "Supermanning" around the cabin. Her zeal for discovery, combined with her love of the absurd, amazing, and stranger-than-fiction, make Packing for Mars an uproarious trip into the world of space travel. --Lynette Mong

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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