Packing for Mars: Book summary and reviews of Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Packing for Mars

The Curious Science of Life in the Void

By Mary Roach

Packing for Mars
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2010,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

The best-selling 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 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Popular-science writer Roach entertainingly addresses numerous questions about life in outer space....A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-flight curiosities." - Kirkus Reviews

"An essential purchase. Roach devotees and science fans will devour this one." - Library Journal

"Previously, Roach engaged in topics everyone could relate to. Unlike having sex or being dead, though, space travel pertains only to a few, leaving the rest of us unsure what it all amounts to. Still, the chance to float in zero gravity, even if only vicariously, can be surprising in what it reveals about us." - Publishers Weekly

"If you haven't read Mary Roach's previous bestsellers Bonk and Stiff (shame on you!), Packing for Mars is as good an introduction to Roach as you'll find. Space travel hasn't been this funny or intriguing since Douglas Adams — and best of all, it's true!" - Powells.com, recommended by Rico

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Author Information

Mary Roach Author Biography

Photo: John Madere

Mary Roach grew up in a small house in Etna, New Hampshire. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and then moved out to San Francisco s. She spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. During that time she wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.

Though she mostly focuses on writing books, she writes the occasional magazine piece. These have run in Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many others. A 1995 article of herse called "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, and in 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest ...

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