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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of…

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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2,0961903,147 (4.01)336
  1. 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.
  2. 31
    A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin (Othemts)
  3. 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.
  4. 10
    Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane (itbgc)

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Showing 1-5 of 189 (next | show all)
I loved this book! The level of detail and research into the subject is really quite amazing. I love how she explains the mechanics of how we deal with space and all it's quirks. It's great insight into the true costs of the space program and I feel as though I understand a bit better why the time lines for the Moon or Mars or anywhere are so long. The amount of research and testing and just plain inventiveness of the people who work for NASA is just amazing. I also loved the little bits and pieces of astronaut trivia and quotes from missions that show that even through the seriousness of their endeavors, they still had a sense of humor. Some more appropriate than others. The less appropriate ones are far funnier, just so you know!

I also loved that the author didn't limit either her research or writing to just the US Space Program. The interviews and information about the Japanese and Russian programs was fantastic. I loved the Japanese astronaut selection process and frankly even if I were totally qualified in EVERY other way, I would fail the crane test. Origami is just not my strong suit. =)

If you have even http://www.goodreads.com/images/close.gifthe remotest interest in the space program I recommend this book. Especially if you think you know what NASA does with the money it receives. You'd be surprised and I salute the men and women around the world for their efforts to get us out there to see what's going on. Like the author says at the end of the book, sometimes you SHOULD do something just because you can and going into space should be one of those things. ( )
  DuchessofHazard | Nov 29, 2015 |
A fascinating read about the more prosaic problems of going into outer space for prolonged lengths of time. There is actually very little in this book about Mars, but there is a lot about how the American space program figured out the answers to some of the human problems posed by space travel.

She started with animals, and how early experiments used them. The first dog in space, Laika, was put into orbit by the Soviet Union, without a plan to bring her back. We brought the chimps, Ham and Enos, back, and when they eventually passed away, they were buried in New Mexico.

There is talk about simulating zero gravity with parabolic orbits, testing crash landings, testing "bailout" parachutes (remember the Red Bull-sponsored high dive from space?), even an explanation of the Roswell "alien ship". There is also enough talk of food and its results (potty-cam, anyone?) to satisfy any adolescent curiosity.

It was a fun read, with fascinating details supported by interviews with people who lived through the experiences. ( )
  EowynA | Sep 29, 2015 |
This is the first book by Mary Roach that I've read, and she's just jumped to the top of my list of Authors Who Make Me Laugh Out Loud (a list I wish were longer, but one I'm always glad to add to). Despite the title, _Packing for Mars_ is less a high-tech, hard-core-science look at the US space program than it is an exploration of what happens when we have to rely on human beings in all their messy imperfection to operate high-tech, hard-core-science machines.

Ever wonder how astronauts learn to poop in space? Curious about the exact number of days, post-bathing, when the human body reaches its maximum level of stinkiness? Or maybe you just wonder whether Tang and Space Sticks ever actually were part of a spaceman's well-balanced diet (children of the 1970s, I know you know what I'm talking about). My friend, all those answers and more--so much more!--can be found here. Seriously, SO FUNNY. ( )
  rvhatha | Sep 2, 2015 |
A collection of trivia surrounding space travel and the life of astronauts. Some very interesting information here, however I agree with some of the other reviewers here that the writing, at times, comes off as trying too hard to be funny. This grated on me after a while but overall I really enjoyed it. ( )
  LJMax | Aug 21, 2015 |
Another fun and interesting book - tickles my immaturity center without resorting to (too much) potty humor. Really nice work Mary. Here's hoping you are ready for your next project (whatever it may be) - I'll be right here waiting to read it. ( )
  Industrialstr | Aug 12, 2015 |
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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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For Jay Mandel and Jill Bialosky, with cosmic gratitude
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To the rocket scientist, you are a problem.
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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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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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)

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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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2 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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