Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Packing for Mars

As I suspected I might when I put Packing for Mars on my Wishlist, I just loved this book. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach is funny, interesting and informative.

Packing for Mars is about what space agencies (mostly NASA, but Europe, Russia, and Japan's agencies as well) do to put humans into space. Launching a rocket seems like the easy part in comparison to figuring out how to get a toilet to work in zero-G. Roach clearly did her homework; she talked to both scientists currently working and those who have worked on these issues for previous missions. Her research took her from simulated missions in the arctic to the infamous "vomit comet" (the parabolic flight that simulates zero-G).

As you can imagine, coming from the author of a book about dead bodies (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers), there are some gnarly bits in this book. There were a few passages, particularly the ones dealing with the corpses space agencies use to test crash safety, that tested my resolve in reading. But Roach handles even these parts with humor and grace.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science or space. Roach is a terrific science writer and I really enjoyed Packing for Mars.

Buy Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void on Amazon.


  1. Thanks for the review, this one has bee on top of my "to read" list for a while.

  2. Can I borrow this from you? I know that I am supposed to buy it myself but . . .Thanks.


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