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Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  91 reviews
In 2013, Kate Greene moved to Mars. That is, along with five fellow crew members, she embarked on NASA’s first HI-SEAS mission, a simulated Martian environment located on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawai'i. For four months she lived, worked, and slept in an isolated geodesic dome, conducting a sleep study on her crew mates and gained insight into human behavior in tight qu ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Petra X is enjoying a road trip across the NE USA
Jul 24, 2020 marked it as 1-awaiting-review-but-read
The author doesn't seem to know what to concentrate on. She is less than expansive about life in the geodesic dome - I know what they eat and where they sit, but what do they do for fun? Similarly about her marriage that is breaking up. I know who she is married to and where they live(d) but not really why they've broken up. Then there is her brother who is disabled from birth but it didn't stop him at all. But all I know of him is how she describes him and mostly his illness, I don't know him a ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Quantum mechanics backs this up. What if time is less a fundamental property, and more an emergent one, arising from its interactions with other aspects of the universe? In other words, what if time’s forward march of cause-and-effect is just dependent on your perspective, the way the night lighting in a room makes it look like a monster in the corner when it’s really just a pile of clothes? (c)
Time, and the related perception of space, is relative and evolving. (c)
That’s memory, which can
Connie G
Kate Greene, a science journalist and physicist, and five other people spent four months living in a geodesic dome on the red, rocky slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. They were chosen to participate in a NASA-funded 2013 research project which simulated some of the challenges faced by astronauts in a Martian environment. The participants had to wear space suits if they ventured outside the dome. There was limited electricity and water in their tight quarters.

They were surveyed each day
Katie Long
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a collection of essays organized around themes inspired by Greene’s time as a volunteer in one of NASA’s simulated Mars missions. Since the experiment itself was mostly focused on the dietary needs of a Mars crew, it would have made for some pretty dry reading if she had chosen to go with a straightforward memoir but, while I appreciated her conversational tone and clear enthusiasm, the structure felt a little messy. The anecdotes and observations within each essay shared a common theme, ...more
Brian Clegg
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The easily-overlooked key words in the title of this book are 'Once Upon a Time'. Because Kate Greene's memoir is doubly redolent of that fairytale opening that puts us in a world that is somewhat removed from reality. First, her book is concerned not (of course) with actually living on Mars, but spending four months in an environment that partially simulated what it would be like to be on Mars (but was actually on Hawaii). And secondly, although there is quite a lot about what happened on that ...more
Di Maitland
Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars has whetted my appetite for space-themed non-fiction. In twelve essays, Greene discusses everything from food to isolation to space funding, pulling material from her own experiences and other literature to create a very readable book.

A career in science journalism aside, Greene’s credibility comes from taking part in the 2013 Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS). For four months, Greene lived in isolation with five other pseudo-astronauts on
Natalie (CuriousReader)
Review first published on Curious Reader!

In this freshly published essay-collection, Kate Greene takes her starting point in space exploration in general as well as her own experiences from being part of an experiment simulating Mars on Earth. This environment is pretty much as close as you can currently get to actually being on Mars, as Mars exploration has long been in the planning stages but not yet been realised (will we see this change in the next decade?). The essays often open with discus
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kate Greene was one of six people who spent four months living in a geodesic dome in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, simulating a Martian environment. The 'almost' astronauts were human guinea pigs in the Hi-SEAS project focused on the domestic challenges of privacy, food, and shared resources in space.

This book is the result of Greene's struggle to find a way to talk about those months and how they changed her.

Greene travels across a broad range of philosophical questions that arose from her experience, dis
Feb 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
In this under-edited memoir, author Kate Green describes her experiences as a test subject for NASA, living in a simulated Martian colony for several months. This would have been fascinating if not for Greene's self-pity and her repetitive laments about the end of her marriage and search for self following her break-up with her wife. Greene's account skips from topic to topic, not all of which she makes relevant or interesting in relationship to the rest of the book, and her apparent lack of int ...more
Kara Babcock
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Ever since I was a child, space has captivated my imagination. I love space. I love space science. I love science fiction. I have literally spent months of my life by this point, I would estimate, with the crews of the various starships Enterprise, Voyager, and the station Deep Space Nine. Yet never have I really had much desire to go to space. It seems like a cold, forbidding place, and the cost of getting there—monetarily, but also physically, is so much! Also, I’m a tall witch (192 cm), so th ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, e-book
Who doesn’t love a bit of Space exploration? The idea of human habitation on Mars is such an intriguing and interesting prospect, and the research going on into how humans may manage such a feat is beyond amazing.

I loved reading about the authors experiences on her 4 month long habitation on ‘fake mars’ (or the Hawaiin volcano Mauna Loa), living the life of extreme solitude and difficultly on the HI-SEAS project. The author also touched on her own life throughout, making it a very personable ac
Laura (crofteereader)
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'll preface my review by saying that I've never read an essay collection before and I read very few memoirs (and somehow none of them have been about space) but space travel, space technology, the politics of space, and honestly just space in general are deeply fascinating to me (duh, I'm a huge science fiction nerd).

With the choice to tell this story in a series of themed essays (rather than a chronological memoir or something similar) I personally felt a little unmoored. I couldn't get a hand
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the topic around which the book revolves. It is about a scientific study which involved people mimicking the life they would lead if they were stationed on Mars. Recently, I have come across many videos of this concept in the media and thought this would increase the information I have about it.
In a way, this book did give me a whole new view into what such a scenario would entail, but it was more than that. It is a personal narrative with the author's emotions and life reflec
Veronica LaFemina
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
***I received an e-arc of this book from NetGalley.***

What child doesn't dream of one day becoming an astronaut and exploring the expanses of space? In Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars, Kate Greene shares her experience of what it was like to be an astronaut... almost. Her participation in an earth-bound mission in Hawaii designed to test menu fatigue in astronauts gives all the rest of us earthlings a brief glimpse into some of the social, emotional and physical challenges of a space crew as th
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Really interesting! Discussed really important topics of isolation, family, loneliness, and friendship. I will say I wished I read it rather than listened to it, because I had a hard time with the audio narration.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced digital copy.

Thank you to for an advanced listening copy.

Being completely honest, I would have DNF’d this book if I did not have the audiobook to accompany the text. I found a lot of the material to be long-winded and uninteresting. However, there were some chapters (such as “On Boredom,” ironically) that I did find interesting. There are a few small clips that I would share with students since I think they could be great t
This was good and pretty interesting but didn't blow me away with any insights or the writing itself. There was something more in terms of emotional resonance and character that I wanted from this true story about participating in a NASA-funded 4 month experiment meant to simulate life on Mars. This definitely felt like a book written by a science journalist rather than one by someone used to writing about her personal life--not a bad thing necessarily but not the style of writing that moves me ...more
Charlotte Jones
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A mix between science writing and general life experience, Kate Greene manages to weave advice for everyday living with an account of her four month experience in a Mars-like habitat in Hawai’i.

The writing was very readable and the scientific aspects were not too complicated, meaning that I didn’t have to look anything up or feel lost at any point. Greene clearly has journalistic experience and I think tha
Olga Zilberbourg
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kate Greene is a journalist and a poet who, in 2013, spent 4 months in a NASA sponsored simulation of life on Mars, living with 5 other people in a remote dome. The main subject of the study had to do with food and the astronauts have reported experiencing food fatigue during long missions on the ISS. Greene reports on the study itself, but the book is less a story about the single study as a personal narrative about her journey through and after it. Greene examines her own desire to participate ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it liked it
The author was telling a bit of a fib – she didn’t actually live on Mars. She lived in one of those claustrophobic habitats on Earth where they keep people confined for months to see what they do.
I was hoping for some lurid tale of how the people in her dome reverted to tribal savagery like Lord of the Flies, and they had to send in the police to get the survivors out, but I was out of luck. A peaceful stay in the dome, except that one person kept bumping the author’s leg during dinner.

What real
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
As a series of 12 related essays, the structure of this book is quite loose and meandering, all moving around the focal point of Greene's time in NASA's HI-SEAS project. I think this could be a little off-putting to some but I really enjoyed how meandering it was. It gives Greene the opportunity to talk about a lot of things about space travel/exploration and the history of it that wouldn't necessarily have come up if she'd stuck strictly to her own experiences, but I really appreciated that the ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
If you enjoy books about space, Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars by Kate Greene might be the book for you!

In Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars, Kate explores her life during the NASA’s first HI-SEAS mission, a Martian simulation that took place in Hawaii. She lived, worked, and breathed Mars for four months in a small dome with her crew mates.

During her time in the dome, she got to explore boredom, sleep, emotional ties in tight quarters, and the psychology of isolation. Isolation messes with the
Kerry Hennigan
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easily and happily devoured for a Mars buff or anyone interested in human behaviour under unique circumstances - Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars is about the author's participation, experience and ruminations on the four months she spent living in a geodesic dome on the slopes of a volcano on the big island of Hawaii in a simulation of a Mars expedition. It's not a large book, but encompasses much wisdom and logic as well as the author's personal story. Greene provides some interesting perspect ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting, informative, well-written essays about the author's experience living on top of Mauna Loa in a Mars Simulation. Thought provoking issues she dealt with. A little humor throughout made it an enjoyable read. ...more
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Witty, unique, and perfect for space nerds like me. I did not expect it to also go into more personal aspects of the author’s life such as her brother’s health problems, but she weaves her family life, Mars experiment, her science writing, history and jokes very well!
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This book focuses on Kate Greene’s time in a simulated Mars habitat in Hawaii, as well as other key moments in her life. I really liked her writing style and learning about the Mars simulation. I wish she would have included more detail about this experience.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC.
When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Once Upon a Time I Lived on
I really enjoyed Greene's essays about space, time, and family. For the most part, the framework is a research study she participated in that attempted to replicate the effects of monotony in food diets on astronauts by assigning team of individuals to live in a bio-habitat in Hawaii for a four-month period. But within that framework, Greene explores the nature of time and distance on human relationships; the human desire to explore and to find a home; the ethics of funding space research and tr ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
**e-arc received from netgalley**

I probably wouldn't recommend this book to people picking it up, hoping that the majority will be based on the mission and about 'life on Mars', as you will be disappointed. Unfortunately there isn't that much (maybe half?)

The portions of this book that are based on the mission simulation are absolutely fascinating! The pre-mission, the recruitment process, the actual time spent in the dome - fantastic! I only wish there'd been so many more pages written about it
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Part memoir, part essays, this book chronicles loosely the months the author spent in a simulated Mars environment recreated as best as possible in Hawai’i.

It’s not so much an exact chronological memoir, than a series of musings and thoughts about loneliness, learning to live in limited space with other people, relationships (inside and outside of the dome), personal reflections… which was both a good and a bad thing as far
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