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Packing for Mars

The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Roach, Mary (Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Packing for Mars
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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.
Authors: Roach, Mary
Title: Packing for Mars
the curious science of life in the void
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 334 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Mary Roach
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?
Summary: 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.
ISBN: 9780393068474
0393068471
Branch Call Number: 571.0919 R6282p 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. [325]-334)
Subject Headings: Space biology Popular works
Topical Term: Space biology
LCCN: 2010017113
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Opinion

From Library Staff

What variety of deli sandwich was smuggled aboard the Gemini III capsule, resulting in one senator's accusation in Congress that the wayward astronaut had made a mockery of the entire space program?

List - Michele's list by: multcolib_tamaf Jul 02, 2014

Mary Roach writes armchair science like no one else. She's smart, she's funny, and she'll try anything once. She has the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy, so if you have a low gross-out factor you are forewarned. And Shelly, she was born in our year. I loved this book best of all but take a lo... Read More »


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Sep 24, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Quirky, fascinating and funny: I wish everyone else would write about science that way that Mary Roach does!

Nov 17, 2012
  • Christopher A Procter rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is the space stuff that isn't written down for science (or, if it is, the stuff that doesn't get repackaged for the public). It's about all the tests that you have to do beforehand, and about exactly why taking a corned beef sandwich in to space is a bad idea.
Written in an engaging way, at least half will be new to the most avid space enthusiast. A really fun read!

Sep 18, 2012
  • tocch101 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A good read that was fun, discusting, and entertaining. The questions remain relevent, but due to the high rate of space exploration, it seems, at time to be out of date.

Sep 04, 2012
  • Quimeras rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“Packing for Mars” was informative and funny. It exposed the not-so-glamorous side of space travel and it definitely gave me a new appreciation for gravity!

Even if you don't think you'd be interested in this topic, you will find it facinating reading. And a very humorous book to boot!

We currently take space station travel and life on a space station as everyday unremarkable. We give little thought the the idea that at one time scientists were not even sure that the human body woukd operate in zero gravity. Ms. Roach begins her story with early experiments to explore such fears and continues to explore the challenges for longer and more challenging questions of travel to Mars: how will we feed the crew given the weight of needed food? How will (and have) they deal with human wastes? What are the psychological problems with a small crew in confined spaces for long periods of travel?

Jul 02, 2012
  • Ana55 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This was informational, educational, and just plain FUN TO READ! I enjoyed being a shameless voyeur of all that goes into space flight and the preparation for it, and the aftermath. It wasn't full of science-y language nor hard to understand terms and equations, it was a lot of what I enjoy in this kind of book. I was loaned this book by a friend and would recommend it to anyone who is as interested in "all things space" as I am. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

Jan 05, 2012
  • BPLNextBestAdults rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As you read this, the Curiosity rover is travelling towards Mars, and is expected to arrive next August. If there were humans aboard, things would be even more complex. Our bodies are not designed for weightlessness, or extra gravitational forces. We need to bring our air along with us. We may not get along with one another if we’re confined in close quarters for too long. Using extensive interviews with astronauts, cosmonauts, scientists and NASA officials, science writer Mary Roach has a written a gossipy history of space flight, while describing the anticipated problems of future space flight.
San Francisco's 'One City One Book'

Nov 29, 2011
  • jasonruhl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mary Roach's brilliant sense of humor and wit make this an engaging, delightful, and memorable read. Also by her are Spook, Bonk, and Stiff whcih I recommend as well; though Packing For Mars deals with lighter subject matter than her other three books.

Aug 18, 2011
  • GVPLfan rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A delightfully entertaining, well written book on some of the less glamorous aspects of space flight.

Mar 06, 2011
  • Aualtima rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very entertaining read about the space program.

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Mar 06, 2011
  • Aualtima rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Aualtima thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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quotes Mary Roach as saying "Space doesn't just encompass the sublime and the ridiculous. It erases the line between."

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