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29 May 2013

Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach explains the difficulties of life without gravity - from the fascinating to the disgusting.

Roach guides readers through the history of space exploration - from the theory that without gravity the human body would not function (perhaps the heart needs gravity to circulate blood) to the preparations NASA is making to send people to Mars for the first time.

Life in space is difficult due not only to physical constraints, but psychological ones. All of that will be compound for the Mars trip by the fact that the shortest trip will still take 500 days. 500 days of being trapped in a small space with the same people. And due to the distance, if the math is off the ship could miss Mars all together.

Roach is a great writer who does not shy away from the gross. Her style is engaging and readers will learn a tremendous amount without even trying. I loved the chapter on what amounts to extreme skydiving.

Roach, Mary. (2010). Packing for Mars. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

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