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Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void
Mary Roach
Adult Nonfiction QH327 .R63 2010

Comments  Summary  Reviews  Author Notes

From Publishers' Weekly:

Roach explores the quotidian aspects of space travel for humans with her usual aplomb. She reveals the everyday concerns and aspects-physiological, psychological, and emotional-of long-term space immersion. Sandra Burr proves a great complement to Roach's prose. Her character voices are distinct, and she executes the jargon and technical aspects of space life with a clear and emphatic tone, helping listeners with more complicated passages. She has a matter-of-fact tone with a hint of a wry smile when she explains, say, sex in space, and she is unfailingly clear and affable. A Norton hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This completely awesome book's awesomeness is so awesomely awesome that it's difficult to get across just how awesome it is. It's a fun, intelligent, and engrossing read, something that a dude can get excited about. As a bonus, it considers sex in space, something I think only Kim Stanley Robinson and Barbarella have done. Space work-as in orbiting Earth, going to the moon, or getting to Mars-is quite romantic in the abstract. Think of relaxed, competent Bruce Dern in Silent Running or George Clooney in Solaris. In reality, space stuff is smelly, hot, and gross. Roach insightfully researches and chronicles all sorts of topics, like what happens when you sneeze in a space suit or how NASA uses cadavers to test how crashes affect the body. Roach's greatest plus is how quickly she gets to the proverbial donkey punch on the varying experiments. For example, when NASA tested astronauts' ability to withstand a 20-day mission, they put men close together in a room with no bathing. They found that after about day eight, astronauts' noses sort of stopped working-it went beyond "smelly." Roach tells readers why: B.O. combines with "bodily emanations that have built up on the skin: grease, sweat, and scurf, to be specific." Scurf? It's shed skin. Nice! (See also LJ's review in the July issue, posting 7/15/10.)-Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," BookSmack! 7/1/10 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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