Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
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The author 's writing comes across as reportorial, but with a clear sense of humor; even the footnotes are used to both informational and comedic effect. --Time Out New York
[Her] style is at its most substantial and most hilarious in the zero-gravity realm that Packing for Mars explores. As startling as it is funny. --Janet Maslin"
Truly funny.... Roach's writing is supremely accessible, but there's never a moment when you aren't aware of how much research she's done into unexplored reaches of space travel. "
This is the kind of smart, smirky stuff that Roach does so well.--Geoff Nicholson
Cool answers to questions about the void you didn t even know you had."
An utterly fascinating account, made all the more entertaining by the author s ever-amused tone."
An impish and adventurous writer with a gleefully inquisitive mind and stand-up comic s timing."
The author s writing comes across as reportorial, but with a clear sense of humor; even the footnotes are used to both informational and comedic effect.--Time Out New York"
A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-flight curiosities. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What happens when you vomit during a space walk?
The bestselling author of Stiff explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity
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Top Customer Reviews
Maybe it is my sense of humour or maybe Roach has turned too cutesy to be compelling, just found myself struggling after half the book. The scatological curiosities are courageous, but with Roach as the only constant character through tortuously connected chapters teeming with new answers, angles and scientists, the endless bookmarking of every expert quote or interaction with her "witty" quip made it a real slog.
On the upside, the initial chapters did pack a punch. I thoroughly enjoyed the way space station scientists, aeromedical specialists and biomechanical scientists have tried solving the physiological and psychological centrifuge that the human body is thrown into once in space. The way the organs take the hit, the way the tissue responds under influence of zero and excess gravity and the way the sanity of cosmonauts is yoked plus the idiosyncratic environment on these celestial bodies being simulated: all of this makes for great reading until Roach inserts herself like an unwanted joker. If only this was a more serious, straight-talking book. It's a pity as I do admire her kind of curiosity and had been a fan of the levity, which now just strikes as frivolous.
Having read Packing for Mars I now think it was a very good thing that I changed my mind! I wanted to be an astronaut because I thought it would be exciting and I would get to discover new worlds (in fact at one point I was determined to try and be the first human on Mars) but from reading this book I've discovered that being an astronaut is 99% boredom, dirt and other excruciatingly embarrassing situations.
For example, Jim Lovell (of Apollo 13 fame) and Frank Borman spent just under 14 days in space in Gemini VII so that NASA could investigate the effects of being in space on humans for 14 days. As Roach tells it the Gemini VII capsule was so cramped that neither astronaut could move much during the time in space and neither could they wash. For 14 days. They weren't even allowed to wipe themselves with a wet cloth. I think Lovell said that this was his most difficult space mission.
And then there's the food, the toilet facilities, the problems of mixed-sex crews. Ugh.
Roach's writing is laugh out loud funny and she certainly doesn't shrink from going into lots of detail about every subject she covers. I enjoyed this book and I am definitely planning to read Roach's other books but I can't imagine reading them back to back. The 'eugh' factor would just be too high.
Roach documents as well (and first-hand) as she usually does the aspects of life in space, which might lead to a mission to Mars. It's captivating, enlightening and permeated by her enviable sense of humor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written and hugely researched book about the human and internal-political aspects of space travel.Published 2 months ago by Mr. D. Walker
A great read, with lots of interesting facts and really dives deep into stuff. Not the greatest book to read if you're tired, as sometimes you have to think with this book or... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A great insight into the early growth and motivation of the Space Age, including some more than every day problems and functions incumbent on designers, managers and astronauts. Read morePublished 12 months ago by K. D. Beestin
A real page turner for a space travel anorak like me. Full of fascinating information about all aspects of spaceflight; I especially liked the chapter on 'going' in zero G! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Graham Sparrow