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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Voidby Mary Roach
If you like your science served up with a side of humor and a little bit (okay, sometimes a lot) of the gross-out factor, Mary Roach is the lady for you. In Packing for Mars, we explore the less-discussed aspects of space travel and how the astronauts are affected by things such as shuttle bathrooms and their lack of privacy, not being able to shower for the duration of the flight, and less-than-mouth-watering meal options. (There's no pizza or beer in space, guys, so think twice before signing up for flight...) We also get to learn about the tests that are conducted right here on Planet Earth before we ever even leave the ground — like the study that tests what lying on your back for three straight months would do to your bones (nothing good, by the way, but the cash incentive for participating in these studies draws people in every time; some even come back for more).
Mary Roach never fails to teach us something new while simultaneously making us laugh. Packing for Mars will delight even those only mildly interested in space travel.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[Roach's] style is at its most substantial — and most hilarious — in the zero-gravity realm that explores....As startling as it is funny." Janet Maslin
"Roach's strange enthusiasm for all things oddball...makes Mars a more than worthy destination." Time
"Cool answers to questions about the void you didn't even know you had." People
"An utterly fascinating account, made all the more entertaining by the author's ever-amused tone." BookPage
"An impish and adventurous writer with a gleefully inquisitive mind and stand-up comic's timing." Booklist
"It's all about those things NASA doesn't delve into at press conferences." BoingBoing
"A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-flight curiosities." Kirkus Reviews
"A more realistic view of life in space than we have ever gotten from a NASA broadcast." The Daily Beast
"The author's writing comes across as reportorial, but with a clear sense of humor; even the footnotes are used to both informational and comedic effect." Time Out New York
"America's funniest science writer" returns to explore the irresistibly strange universe of life without gravity in this bestseller.
About the Author
Mary Roach is the author of four previous books: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She lives in Oakland, California.
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