Tiffany's Reviews > Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
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Mar 20, 11

Read from March 18 to 20, 2011

My friends really know me. I can't tell you the number of people who recommended, even outright bought me a copy of this book. "Packing for Mars" is a lighthearted, historical and physical investigation of the ins and outs (more literally than you'd like to believe at times) of putting humans and space - and keeping them there. Food, sex, body odor, waste elimination, vomit - Roach takes them all on from the point of view of space agency engineers, testers, astronauts, space historians, and of course NASA's monolithic PR apparatus. So what does all this have to do with me? The author takes time to recount her journey to the Haughton Mars Project on Devon Island in the High Canadian Arctic - and back in 2005, I spent a summer on the crater's edge, doing space protocol research with the *other* group, the Mars Society, that operates up there. So yes, I've wrangled with exploding helmet water inlets, horrifically stinky waste situations, and the remarkable challenge of keeping six adults fed, healthy, and sane for six weeks away from civilization. I'll be rereading "Packing for Mars" - once my stomach settles.
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