Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

by Mary Roach


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393339918
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/04/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 58,084
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)

About the Author

Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, 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.


San Francisco, California

Place of Birth:

New Hampshire


B.A., Wesleyan University, 1981

Table of Contents

Countdown 15

1 He's Smart But His Birds are Sloppy: Japan Picks an Astronaut 21

2 Life in a Box: The Perilous Psychology of Isolation and Confinement 41

3 Star Crazy: Can Space Blow Your Mind? 63

4 You Go First: The Alarming Prospect of Life Without Gravity 79

5 Unstowed: Escaping Gravity on Board NASA's C-9 95

6 Throwing Up and Down: The Astronaut's Secret Misery 107

7 The Cadaver in the Space Capsule: NASA Visits the Crash Test Lab 129

8 One Furry Step for Mankind: The Strange Careers of Ham and Enos 149

9 Next Gas: 200,000 Miles: Planning a Moon Expedition Is Tough, but Not as Tough as Planning a Simulated One 173

10 Houston, We Have a Fungus: Space Hygiene and the Men Who Stopped Bathing for Science 191

11 The Horizontal Stuff: What If You Never Got Out of Bed? 209

12 The Three-Dolphin Club: Mating Without Gravity 229

13 Withering Heights: Bailing Out from Space 247

14 Separation Anxiety: The Continuing Saga of Zero-Gravity Elimiantion 265

15 Discomfort Food: When Veterinarians Make Dinner, and Other Tales of Woe from Aerospace Test Kitchens 285

16 Eating Your Pants: Is Mars Worth It? 307

Acknowledgments 319

Time Line 323

Bibliography 325

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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 263 reviews.
angeleyesAS More than 1 year ago
This delightful read will entertain you and keep you laughing out loud and maintain your sense of wonder about space. You don't have to be a space wizard to appreciate this gem of a book. Everything you wanted to know and a lot you didn't, about space programs and the details of space travel from a human perspective. While not just informative, it's a great story and it's so funny!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read that will have you spouting obscure spaceflight anecdotes to friends and family for days. A good excuse for fun lowbrow topics, with scientific data for justification.
Amber__Rose More than 1 year ago
What a fun book to read! I'm usually not one to read a lot of non-fiction, but this one had me laughing out loud with every turn of the page. I love space and science but had no idea what actually went into planning a mission. The best laughs are in the footnotes so don't skip over them! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Every odd question about space you'd love to ask an astronaut while sitting at a bar and drinking with them is revealed.....and things you'd never think to ask.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Filled with fascinating, hysterical and compelling stories about about the difficulties of space travel. Worth the buy just to find out how long your underwear can last! I tell everyone i can. If you are interested in science, or liked any of mary roachs previous books, buy immediately!
Padraic_Israel More than 1 year ago
Mary Roach's Packing for Mars is a must read if you've ever wondered what it takes to go into space. The book is very informative, taking readers through the development of manned spaceflight, answering all sorts of questions from "What is it like to be weightless?" to "How do you go to the bathroom in space?" Mary Roach's writing style is very approachable, and she does a wonderful job of explaining many, many complicated subjects, turning what could be boring technical writing into an exciting and entertaining look at spaceflight. If you're a fan of her other works, you'll enjoy this one too.
WritermomHB More than 1 year ago
What do you think about going to Mars? Mary Roach thinks about the little things as well as the big things. Her research goes all the way back to the beginning of the space program. She quotes astronauts as well as scientists. She talks about the requirements to get into the space program. She asks the everyday questions that "common" folks want to know, even if they don't admit it to others. What about going to the bathroom in space? What about sex in space? She did a lot of research for this book, and presents it in a humorous fashion, so that it can be enjoyed by almost anyone interested in this subject. Sometimes, one might get "bogged down" in reading, as so much information that one never thought would need to be researched is presented, but keep on reading. You will be surprised what you will learn. For instance, did you know that people are paid to lie on their backs for weeks at a time to learn the effects of that on the human body? I enjoyed this book very much and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the space program and/or NASA at all.
JanetOH More than 1 year ago
I loved this book-it's chock-full of things I never knew, from excerpts from transcripts of early space flights, to physiological studies and what kind of food is eaten on space flights. Lots of humor too!
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lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
Packing for Mars is all about space travel, its history, its future, and how getting to space and living in zero gravity affect the human body. I had countless moments of "oh, okay, that actually makes perfect sense" which made me wonder, why have these things never crossed my mind as I watch space shuttle launches or keep up with the goings-on of the ISS? Thankfully, the people at NASA have thought of everything, worked out possible solutions, and tested each one thoroughly. And I do mean everything, thoroughly. Every tiny detail of things we do each day, no matter how trivial it seems, has to be considered, whether it's pleasant or not-so-pleasant. Gravity is far more important than I ever realized (and I held it in very high esteem already!). I love how Mary Roach's personality shines through her writing. She is fearless, covering any and all topics affecting astronauts, even those topics which embarrass NASA and cause them to create ridiculous, goofy euphemisms to ease their discomfort. Roach maintains a light, casual tone throughout, yet everything is extremely well-researched and well-documented. The rabbit trails in her footnotes are a lot of fun, too, sometimes very peculiar and off-the-wall. I loved that. (She really sounds like an awesome person to hang out with!) If you are even remotely interested in the science and exploration of space, Packing for Mars is a perfect book for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Informatve and enjoyable
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marvelous! As a person who reads everyday for enjoyment, I go through ALOT of books. This book has instantly become a favorite that I will be sharing with my friends and family. Who knew that all things NASA could be so fascinating and funny! An absolutely delightful read that I finished in two days. A new favorite author who's series is going in my Nook immediatly. Keep 'em coming, Mary! Do yourself a favor and buy this one, readers of America!!!
Bookie-Book More than 1 year ago
I have to say, this book is both witty and informative. We've all heard the stories about the space program and how all the astronauts have the right stuff. But did you ever wonder about the everyday details? What it physically and emotionally felt like in the initial lift off. Or how one might shower in zero gravity? Or who was the first person to pee on the moon? Well this book gives you the answers and more! I found myself laughing out loud! Yet at the same time taking the content completely seriously. Of you've ever been interested in what it was like to float through space, this is the book for you!
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