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

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Staff Reviews

In Packing for Mars, Mary Roach takes on the science and psychology of space travel exploring the many elements, quotidian and odd, that go into sending a crew into orbit. Funny, quirky and almost the ideal guide to a subject that could otherwise be somewhat dry, Roach shares her zeal for discovery while effectively arguing her point that, “Space doesn’t just encompass the sublime and the ridiculous. It erases the line between…”

— Matt, Los Angeles

Mary Roach has taken on a new subject with her own stylistic writing approach - Space Exploration. Mary sets the pace of this book by informing us of fascinating and humorous adventures that have been accomplished by companies and individuals throughout history. You will feel proud at times reading about compelling personal struggles, and then laugh out loud at the human absurdity behind them. By blending wit and reality in such a perfect way, space travel will never be looked upon in the same way again.

— Mike, Albuquerque


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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393339918
ISBN-10: 0393339912
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 4th, 2011
Pages: 334
Language: English