Packing for Mars is an exceptionally fun listen; it's fast-paced and well narrated, and all in all, a great book.
It's less about Mars than it is about space travel in general, and the intricacies of day-to-day life aboard a spacecraft, and sheds a lot of light on all the things one never really thinks about when they think of astronauts.
I enjoyed this book and it's unique look at the mundane aspects of space travel. However, the title is a tad misleading as the book deals primarily with previous space missions and really speaks very little about aspect particular to a manned mars mission. While still enjoyable I would have like to hear more specifics about future mars missions.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
The book was pretty much in line with some of the other books authored by Mary Roach. She really can make a technical subject more interesting than expected.
However, this one was very preoccupied with the astronauts bodily functions. So kinda cool, but it became a bit of more of the same after a while for me. It was okay.
It could be dangerous because the narration is sooooo boring and robotic you may fall asleep. It's too bad because the content of the book is pretty good, but the narration is just horrible and near impossible to withstand for more than a few minutes at a time.
I've already replayed the section on zero-gravity toilet facilities for my son. It's very informative and also hilarious
Well, I'd never thought about the fact that a person's internal organs are suspended in the body. Gravity significantly defines our figures. So in zero gravity, the organs tend to float upwards, leading to skinny waists and bloated upper bodies. There are lots of other things to think about, like zero-gravity bone loss or motion sickness and what to do if you vomit inside your space suit. You can't reach up and wipe your face, and with no gravity to keep the puke at the bottom of the helmet bowl, it can be a real hazard. Fascinating.
I don't remember. I can say, though, that after listening to this, I was about to get "Spook," Roach's book about scientific experiments on the afterlife. Another subscriber had commented that the reader there was too heavy-handed, loading up Roach's writing with her own overdone delivery. So I didn't order that.
I think the best approach with most good books is to get out of the way and let the story tell itself. This reader did seem to enjoy the material, but she had the good sense not to get in the way.
I laughed a lot. I can't say that I was absolutely moved by Roach's concluding chapter, where she makes her case for spending more money on space exploration, but that's because it was so little poetry and so much just good solid reasoning. It left me thinking not, "This is inspirational," but "This is our job. This is what we need to put our money into, to make sure we do it right, because our future depends on it."
One of the nice things about this book is its commonsense foundation. It treats space exploration as something we are going to do, something practical, not some romantic once-in-a-lifetime movie but real, day-to-day work, carried out by human beings, something we can all have a part in. It made me think of the Vikings pushing off for Greenland, or of people like Magellan. By showing the practicalities of life in space, many of which are similar to the inconveniences and compromises and seamanship of shipboard life on the ocean, Roach helps to advance the public discussion of day-to-day space voyaging.
Very, very occasionally, Roach makes one joke or pun too many and I think to myself, "oh, come on. This is funny enough on its own." But that's a very small objection.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Mary Roach explores everything from sex to bowel movements in her outer space travel guide, “Packing for Mars”. Roach participates in some NASA training to get a first hand experience of what it takes to be a space traveler. She experiences weightlessness in 22 second intervals. She floats like a butterfly while some of her space mates puke breakfast and lunch.
Roach does use humor to explain what space travel takes but looking past the humor one is overwhelmed by the gap between current science and technology and human travel to other planets.
I really enjoined this book, it was entertaining and informative. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars is that Roach goes off on some tangents in this, I mean she really gets to the bottom of stuff - almost to a fault.
I expected to learn a lot, but this book is not really geared for engineering and science types. More discussion about vomit and astronaut toilet activities than I expected or wanted.
A lot of the vomit and 'ejecta' talk.
Should really be called "Gross Astronaut Trivia for Non-Scientists".
There were a few interesting tidbits in this book. It is ostensibly a serious book about space travel and going to mars but it felt more like a book written for teenagers. To that point, the author is fascinated with 'poop', 'pee' and sex in space. Clearly these are topics that are important, especially if you are planning a long term trip in outer space, but I was looking for something with a little more substance. I'll categorize it as recreational reading where you gain a few answers to trivial pursuit questions.