Packing for Mars Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars

The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • 4.3 • 432 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) returns to explore the irresistibly strange universe of life without gravity in this New York Times bestseller.

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 Mary Roach 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), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

GENRE
Science & Nature
RELEASED
2011
April 4
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
352
Pages
PUBLISHER
W. W. Norton & Company
SELLER
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
SIZE
1.3
MB

Customer Reviews

StevenNYC ,

Fun and fascinating

Full of interesting tidbits, it's a great glimpse in to the human side of space that nobody talks about. The little kid inside of me now has answers to a lot of questions.

Richard Bakare ,

Failure to Launch

I was really looking forward to reading this one as a big advocate for humanity moving forward with expanded space exploration. This book was not worth the wait. Although it was a quick and sometimes entertaining read it failed to hit the target you would expect from the title. Mary Roach attempted to create a book that provides fascinating insights on what considerations make humans fit and unfit for space exploration.

The flow, however, is stilted in many areas. She inserts a lot of cheeky writing that aims to be clever but is often just cheesy. Additionally, she went a mile wide on topics and therefore some topics get cut off too early while others ran on too long. To her credit the citations and research is exhaustive. So you can bank on the accuracy of what topics you do learn about. It felt like a rushed attempt at the end to pull it all together with a call to dream big.

For each topic Mary Roach identifies lots of problems but offers no firm draft of what a comprehensive plan would look like today. Part of that short coming could be due to the time period in which was written and also security restrictions. In the end, the whole book could have been reduced down to a long form article in Nature or Scientific American. It may actually work better as a short documentary on Nature or NASA’s own channel. Cosmos by Carl Sagan is a more accurate read on mankind’s future in space exploration.

Data Wrangler ,

The Raw Underbelly of Living in Space

Hilarious

Mary Roach goes where no "man" has gone before (well few investigative reporters at least). With eloquent humor she investigates the "ins" and "outs" of eating in space, life without bathing, "space sickness", and all of the the other things seldom discussed by the NASA PR machine.

A good read for space enthusiasts and space history buffs. This book should be required reading for wannabe "space tourists".

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