Monday, March 03, 2014

Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void Mary Roach

So, this is the first Roach I’ve read. She’s been on my radar forever, but I finally picked some up, and I’m very glad I did. Hilarious and smart writing about science-- sign me up. Packing for Mars is part astronaut history, part space travel technology, and part looking at what we’ll have to figure out what we need if we’re ever going to get to Mars (beyond Congress approving NASA’s budget.)

Along the way she explores the challenges of pooping in zero-gravity (apparently Gemini had a lot of, uh, fecal matter, floating around in the capsule with them) and how to design a really safe seat for take-offs and landings. Not to mention how to find appetizing food (turns out most early space food was designed by veterinarians) and how disorienting bobbing around in zero-gravity is (or how disorienting it is to have OTHER people bobbing by you). And she looks at the differences between a short 2-week max mission (like Gemini and Apollo) to months-long (like ISS stints) to the years it would take to get to Mars.

Very readable and enjoyable (I laughed out loud A LOT, even though I was often in public and got some looks) it’s also a great look at where we’ve been, where we could go, and why we should go there.

I highly recommend, and it is an Outstanding Book for the College Bound.

Book Provided by... my local library

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