Packing for Mars


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Book Review: Packing for Mars, Packed with Fun

Supremely accessible. As a science writer Roach is seriously funny. She asks the right questions and provides answers like the best deadpan stand-up comic. There is no biological situation she will not visualise, no anatomical question she will not ask. So Packing for Mars is as startling as it is funny, even if its strategic aim is to tell you more than you need to know. Oneworld Publications. Search: Search. A surreally entertaining trip into the science of living in space.

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Or smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible to survive a bailout at 17, miles an hour? Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh veg, privacy, beer. Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining voyage into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Reviews "Such grippingly scatological titbits grace almost every page Also by this author Grunt Mary Roach Paperback.

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While some of her stories were fascinating, I often wished she would tie together her points into a more unified story or provide a big picture view. Presenting a trip, like a space flight, purely as a series of anecdotes tends to distort the entire experience as a whole. I have encountered a similar problem when trying to describe my camping experiences.

Customer Reviews

If I only relate the funny bits about finding a mouse in my sleeping bag, killing 30 mosquitos in one swat, or nearly setting a tent on fire, it inevitably leaves the listener with the impression that my vacation was spent in chaos and discomfort. The larger story about awe and appreciation for the natural world is completely missed.

Packing for Mars "Deutsche Fassung"

As a collection of anecdotes, Packing for Mars is a fun read. The stories Roach tells involve people in the American, Japanese, and Russian space programs.

Book Review: Packing for Mars, Packed with Fun – NU Sci

Each chapter has its own theme: the stress of close quarters living, animals in space, food preferences, body odor, vomiting from motion sickness, pooping, and lack of sex. In the chapter on psychological stress, Roach talks about astronaut tryouts in the Japanese space program. Potential astronauts live together in a small apartment under constant video surveillance and are given repetitive tasks on a tight schedule.

While this sounds like reality TV, there are rarely any overt conflicts.


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  • Instead, the observers use other tricks to track the emotional states of the candidates.

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