Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars

The Curious Science of Life in the Void

By Mary Roach

W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393068474, 334pp.

Publication Date: August 2010

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.

About the Author
Mary Roach is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. She lives in Oakland, California.

Monday, Aug 2, 2010

A manned mission to Mars would take a minimum of two years from lift off to homecoming, but the most difficult engineering problem isn't how we get there; it's what we do once we're on our way. Mary Roach, author of Packing For Mars, explains why we can't take beer into space and other challenges of space travel. More at

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Packing for Mars


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