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

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
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Jan 16, 2012

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Read in June, 2011

If you haven’t read anything by Mary Roach, I’d start with Stiff, simply because I remember that book changing my entire perspective on science writing. But if you’re already a fan, or are simply interested in (and not terrified by) space, Packing for Mars is pretty awesome. As Roach explains, many of today’s technologies—bulletproof vests, artificial limbs, solar panels, invisible braces, Carnation breakfast formula—were born of aerospace innovation. We’ve long been fascinated by what happens to humans (or dogs, or monkeys) once they’re in space, but far less often do we ponder what exactly got them there. Who figured out how astronauts would eat, drink, sleep, kill time or shower? Who decided how they would live, or what they would wear? At the end of Packing for Mars, you’ll know all of the above and then some. In fact, fueled by a new appreciation for the bizarre intricacies of aerospace research, you may, you just may, try to bring up fecal matter in a dinner conversation. It’s okay, you’ll tell your shocked and mildly disgusted dinner guests as you outline the procedure for intergalactic pooping, it’s science.

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