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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
3,3052473,191 (3.96)442
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 442 mentions

English (247)  Dutch (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
This is a fun, entertaining and informative book. I did think that some chapters were more intriguing than others, but overall I would recommend it to anyone who likes space. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Apr 29, 2022 |
A pretty good popular science book about space travel. I've not read anything by Roach before but I think she writes a regular newspaper column. She writes with a lot of humor as she tackles such subjects as how to identify astronauts through psychology tests who might be candidates for a years long trip and just how to weightless toilets work. I had seen her on "The Daily Show" and went out to find the book. ( )
  capewood | Mar 11, 2022 |
Once again Mary Roach has composed a well-researched and funny book. She also makes an interesting preposition at the end. Mary suggested that we not cut space exploration programs because the gains and highs we get from the successes are worth the extra cost. And do we really ever spend that cut money on the good things we say we are? ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Very entertaining view of spaceflight and the many quirks/interesting facts related to it. ( )
  Guide2 | Jan 17, 2022 |
One of my favorite authors is Mary Roach and she does not disappoint in this book about the space program and living in space. She discusses the myriad of problems of living in space including living in confined quarters, eating, washing and toilet issues. This still holds up even though it was written in 2010. I would like to see her write another book on the space program since 2010. ( )
  JulieLill | Jan 16, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (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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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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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.

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Book description
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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