Roach has a penchant for the gross and macabre aspects of life. NASA, she learns, doesn’t expect a celibate Mars crew, but one that will “mix and match or whatever.” Roach persuades a Russian astronaut to explain ground control’s reason for nixing his request for a blowup sex doll: “We would need to put it in your schedule for the day.” And a bone-loss-study participant, forced to lie in bed for three months to simulate the effect of weightlessness on his skeleton, divulges where and how study participants conduct their autoerotic lives. In the way of Starbucks, where a small is termed a “tall,” the men’s devices come only in L, XL and XXL. Yes, those who have flown in space are happy to talk about the experience, the thrill of seeing the Earth from space, and the wonders of weightlessness. For those who prefer the latter on that subject, as well as other issues of living in space, Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars provides an entertaining and educational look at some of the little-appreciated hazards of human spaceflight. The Gemini 7 mission, he says, was “like spending two weeks in a latrine.” Roach appears to have combed every mission transcript from the 1960s and ’70s for scatological references. The strongest parts of “Packing for Mars” chart the American space effort during the cold war. Yet compared with the irradiated void of space, a frozen rock in the High Arctic is as cozy as a baby’s crib. Roach takes, if not a lighthearted approach to the subject, certainly a witty, if not downright snarky, view on life in space. (Although that chapter is more about the lack of sex in space; she thoroughly debunks several of the more well-known claims of zero-g sex, including one adult film that claimed to have scenes filmed in a aircraft flying parabolic arcs to provide brief moments of zero-g.) Roach may be new to space but she’s done her homework: her book takes her to NASA centers, Star City in Russia, Japan, and Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic; she also gets to fly on a NASA zero-g aircraft flight. Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2011. Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not represent the official positions of any organization or company, including the Futron Corporation, the author’s employer. While we may snicker at some, these are aspects of the human condition which are glossed over as we defiantly insist that we will conquer other worlds. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach W.W. Norton, 2010 hardcover, 334 pp., illus. Anyone who thinks astronauts ply a glamorous trade would do well to read Mary Roach’s “Packing for Mars.”. - Powells.com, recommended by Rico Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Here's the lowdown. Happily, Roach does not dwell on Lisa Nowak, the astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida, allegedly in diapers, to confront her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. For those with an inquiring mind or who want to learn more about a trip to Mars p, this is an excellent book. Packing For Mars Written by: Nicholas Fazio Explosions. - Packing for Mars - book review - Astronomy at BellaOnline Violently ill, they have had to be belted into their seats. Many pages are devoted to topics such as feces and vomiting. They are a potent combination of scopolamine (an anti-emetic sedative) and dextroamphetamine (a stimulant). Soon, however, Roach has left all decorum behind. the things you REALLY want to know about space travel, Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2013. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Roach eases us into the story, with an anecdote that reveals the cultural differences among spacefaring nations. But over the parabola’s crest and during the half-minute journey downward, fliers “rise up off the floor like spooks from a grave.” Having taken Scop-Dex, NASA’s anti-motion-sickness drug, Roach is euphoric. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Mary has a delightful inquisitive mind and she is funny as heck! “I thought it would be another interesting subculture that a lot of people aren’t familiar with,” she said. Roach takes, if not a lighthearted approach to the subject, certainly a witty, if not downright snarky, view on life in space, not just in the main text but in frequent footnotes. She does, however, point out that male astronauts have a diaper alternative that fits directly onto their anatomy. Time Travel. Anyone who thinks astronauts ply a glamorous trade would do well to read Mary Roach’s “Packing for Mars.” The book is an often hilarious, sometimes queasy-making catalog of the strange stuff devised to permit people to survive in an environment for which their bodies are stupendously unsuited. What starts out as a curious focus later becomes an obsession with details of the elimination of body wastes in a weightless environment. At the book’s end, after more than 300 pages of debunking the romance of spaceflight, Roach herself buys into that idea, making a misguided, emotional pitch for a $500 billion human Mars mission — at the expense of cheap, reliable, robotic missions. Let’s go out and play.”. “I’m always writing about the human body in unusual circumstances,” she said. Packing for Mars, though, is about far more going to the bathroom in space. Fortunately, I am not beyond deriving some pleasure from middle-school potty humor on the written page - especially when it applies to the awkward existence of humans, and perhaps any terrestrial animal, in space. This author has a practical, tongue-in-cheek but factual and very funny style of writing that I really enjoyed. Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2019. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Just as Roach refuses to grapple with grief, she also plays down spaceflight’s greatest danger: radiation, for which no cost-efficient shielding has yet been engineered. Quoting the astronaut Jim Lovell, Roach exposes NASA’s untold sanitation woes. “It’s like the Rapture in here every 30 seconds,” Roach declares. Take, for example, her description of the feeling of weightlessness after her trip on the NASA aircraft: “Weightlessness is like heroin, or how I imagine heroin must be. A few years ago when I saw Mary Roach on John Stewart's Daily Show talking about her (at the time) new book, Packing for Mars, she was so entertaining and funny that I thought I've got to read this book. Black Holes. In contrast to excrement and sex, which have dedicated chapters, radiation surfaces in a scattershot, piecemeal fashion. Read 4,563 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The story of her journey of discovery resulting from her interest in the nuts and bolts of what it takes to make people a space-faring species, this book is must-read for anybody looking to know more about critical peripheral aspects of life off … Given all of the challenges of keeping humans alive and in good physical and mental health she elucidates in the book, you might think she would be skeptical about such exploration. Roach presents them here. Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2019. W.W. Norton, 2010 Mary Roach is an excellent author who does deep research for her books, and this is no exception. There's a problem loading this menu right now. (Not all the book, for certain, is fun and giggles: she writes about having a conversation on Devon Island about the Columbia accident with Jon Clark, only to realize partway through the conversation that he was married to one of the astronauts on that mission. We get a travel log of Mary's travels while preparing the book and yes, her writing is entertaining but it is not informative. The body waste elimination discussions left me with an impression that I was overhearing a group of mothers of 1 and 2 year olds obsessing over the bowel movements of their charges. This book might have been titled something like, "Bodily functions in weightlessness" or something similar. It's just that they don't make for good PR. I don’t know what the hell gives them to me.” Roach devotes careful attention to the design of Apollo’s “fecal bag,” a clumsy receptacle into which germicide had to be manually massaged. The astronauts in “Packing for Mars” don’t say prim things like “Houston, we have a problem.” While on the moon, sitting inside the Apollo 16 lunar module with the astronaut Charlie Duke, John Young blurts: “I got the farts again. Is being an astronaut really work all the trouble? Totally worth it. He also operates the Spacetoday.net web site and the Space Politics and NewSpace Journal (formerly Personal Spaceflight) weblogs. If you think you might enjoy stories of turds in space, NASA fanny cams, and what practical lessons fictional three-dolphin-sex might hold for human exploration of the cosmos, then this book might be for you. In a wonderfully slapstick scene, Roach describes the engineers’ efforts to insert a freshly thawed cadaver into a spacecraft mock-up: “Think of wrestling a comatose drunk into a taxicab.”. Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2016. By M. G. Lord. A good read that’s entertaining, funny, and educational. You can still see all customer reviews for the product. It's all here: food, sex, personal hygiene, motion sickness, claustrophobia, physiological changes, defecation. What followed was tenacious and through investigation of what will be needed to leave earth for years at. I admit I'm a geek and I love this stuff but this really is a book for all audiences. Roach is a newcomer to space, but the author of previous books on cadavers (Stiff), the afterlife (Spook), and sex (Bonk), said during a panel at the SETICon conference in Santa Clara, California, over the weekend that writing about spaceflight wasn’t a big departure for her. Jeff Foust (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor and publisher of The Space Review. I have worked for two government labs in the duration of my scientific career, and the first was as a summer intern in Johnson Space Center's Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory. If she wrote it, I’ll read it. Roach strips away the glamor and heroics to offer us a look at the grittier, and messier, aspects of space travel as it relates to the human body. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. The heroin imagery, I suspect, has as much to do with the motion-sickness meds as with the microgravity.
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