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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.

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2,2191952,914 (4)348
  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 348 mentions

English (195)  Dutch (1)  All languages (196)
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
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 |
This gets a four star because it's so interesting. But it is a low four star because the interest wasn't a WOW interest, it was a interesting interest. There was a little too much focus on all that defecating and vomiting in space for my like. Interesting. But a little revolting at the same time. There is a lot about space travel that I had no knowledge of so this was a all new for me. I do like that Roach finds curious topics like these and writes books about them. ( )
  Kassilem | Jun 2, 2016 |
I might never have picked up this book if my husband had not been reading it and roaring with laughter. I was intrigued, to say the least, by the idea of a popular science book that's about the human nuts and bolts of the space program that was also funny.

While I might have occasionally wondered, as a SF geek, what sex would be like in space, I never really considered the problems of a long space journey in real life. Basic human functions that we take for granted on earth are much more difficult out there, and the idea of straight-faced NASA scientists chatting with astronauts about bodily functions is comedy... er... "gold."

A few of the chapters are just a bit too detailed for me, but I highly recommend the book. ( )
  tigerb | Apr 7, 2016 |
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach is an informative, engrossing, and entertaining examination of what it takes to actually get humans into space. Roach includes many witty footnotes throughout the text. At the end of the book is a brief time line of space exploration and an extensive bibliography.

In Packing for Mars Mary Roach provides the answers to many of the questions you didn't even know you might want to ask, including the psychological profiles of those best suited for space, zero gravity, space suits, motion sickness, bodily elimination (lots of bathroom talk), hygiene, eating, and, well, keeping the astronauts alive. Although she certainly doesn't even remotely try to provide extensive scientific information about all space programs, what she does provide is a very entertaining look into several different aspect of the space program.

While Stiff had me feeling queasy for much of the book, it was a pure pleasure reading Packing for Mars. Some readers might be put off with all the bathroom talk, but handling bodily functions is, by necessity, a big concern in any space travel. In fact I never personally really seriously considered all the problems that had to be solved in order to even consider a space program.

I found Packing for Mars entertaining as well as informative and would very highly recommend it, but be forewarned about all the talk of bodily elimination - pee, poop, and vomit. Very Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/ ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Roachprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cipriano, EllenDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Druskin, JuliaProduction managersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, JamieCover 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.
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)

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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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