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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
2,6962173,265 (3.98)394
  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 394 mentions

English (218)  Dutch (1)  All languages (219)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
This book is by a favorite author of mine (who wrote Stiff - you must read it). Roach delves this time into the world of space travel. She asks the tough questions like "What happens if you throw up with your space helmet on?" "How do you survive a year without walking? Regular food? Sex?" "What is it like to hit the ground at 15Gs?" She interviews several people from NASA and Wright Patterson to learn what it is really like to travel in space.



I liked this book. Roach does get a little more technical than I would have liked, which made me skim a few parts, but for the most part, it was good. She gets a chance to experience weightlessness, what it is like to have a BM in space, how they decided to package food for space travel, and much more. Things you would never think of. Like - they don't take carbonated beverages into space because astronauts cannot burp. They have people who volunteered to lay 3 months FLAT in bed to test what would happen to astronauts muscles in space. The astronauts are put through isolation chamber test for 3 months at a time. Then their are psychoanalyzed - everything from how they set the table to how much food they left on their plates. Every thing has to be considered because space travel is so dangerous. It cost billions of dollars to send people into space and sometimes it takes 6 years of prep to get them there. They even analyze what happens to astronauts who can't take a bath for long periods of time since they really can't have water bathing on a ship in space.



I can say I learned a lot and have a lot more respect for the space program and what some of the greatest minds in the world come up with to keep space travel safe. I recommend giving this book a try. The humor and information you will know far outweigh the few sections that were a little more in depth than I felt they needed to be. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Who knew that a book about space travel would teach you so much about what it means to be human.

Roach writes with a light, humorous touch and peppers the data with anecdotes and the commentary of a layperson, fascinated by this highly-controlled insulated world of space travel, all of which make for a fun and informative read. I, in turn, peppered the margins of the book with many a HA!s and GROSS!s. As with all pop-science books written for general audiences, this is perhaps not a book for the space experts, but is highly enjoyable for those of us not in the know. My first Roach and it won't be my last.

Highly recommend: reading it on a plane (if reading in zero-G or desolate isolation is not possible).

Aside: I love her home. ( )
  kitzyl | Sep 11, 2018 |
Once you have read one of Mary Roach's books, I dare you not to read another. Whatever subject she tackles, she brings her scientific mind and brilliant with to bear. You'll learn and laugh at the same time. ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
While written in her same style as Stiff, Spook and Bonk I did not find this book as captivating but it was a requirement for my collection. ( )
  ksmedberg | Aug 15, 2018 |
The book has very little about Mars. It covers aspects of the Space program that we don't hear about. I have a new respect for those people who have been a part of the program, not only astronauts, but people who volunteer to undergo trials to get the data needed to develop what is needed for those astronauts. Parts of the book are pretty unsavory. The presentation of the information has quite a lot of humor as well. The author did a lot of hands on research such as taking a trip up for a parabolic flight sequence to try out Zero G. She talked to some very interesting folks and found transcriptions of some rather fun astronaut dialog. I suppose there is an emphasis on some pretty gross stuff, but my opinion is that this book is first rate. It is well researched, interesting, enlightening, and for me it was a new perspective on the topic. This is not just a scientific endeavor. This is a human endeavor. It does make me wonder if humans really should push through what it would take to go to Mars. If they had to do it under the conditions of the first astronauts, it would be insanity. It will not be easy to do and it will not be easy on those who do it. This is an extreme sport, I guess I'd say. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (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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Dedication
For Jay Mandel and Jill Bialosky, with cosmic gratitude
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COUNTDOWN
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?
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)

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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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