We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Packing for Mars Audiobook

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Regular Price:$20.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Audible Editor Reviews

Anyone searching for a laugh-out-loud selection should look no farther than Sandra Burr’s performance of Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars. Those who have enjoyed Roach’s previous books (Stiff, Spook, and Bonk) will not be disappointed by this latest offering. Packing for Mars presents listeners with the quirky realities of space travel usually left out of NASA press releases or articles celebrating the latest accomplishments of space missions.

Sandra Burr captures the humorous, sometimes snarky, but always fascinating bits of information that up to now most of us have managed to live without. For example, while we all know that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted an American flag on the moon, Packing for Mars tells us how folks at NASA figured out how to pack the darn thing. We also know that astronauts have ways to answer nature’s call while in space, but from Roach’s book we learn of the experiments that went into perfecting the winning contraption to allow such activity.

Burr’s recitation of Roach’s footnotes is especially entertaining. In these asides are gems of arcane knowledge, including talking toilet paper dispensers at NASA, why there were no “chimp-o-nauts”, and the cocktail party conversation-starter that rabbits and guinea pigs are the only mammals not to suffer from motion sickness.

Throughout Packing for Mars Sandra Burr give lively readings of conversations between astronauts, either from their interviews with the author or read as bits of dialogue from space mission transcripts. Burr’s tone when expressing astronaut Jim Lovell’s irritation at the mission nutritionist’s poor packaging of messy space food should amuse listeners. Equally fun is the depiction of the back-and-forth between Command Pilot James McDivitt and Astronaut Ed White as McDivitt tries to coax an unwilling White, outside of the space module for the first US “space walk”, to come back inside before his oxygen runs out.

Burr’s talent is in full force when she is interpreting the author’s descriptions of pre-spaceflight training. “Weightless Flight Regurgitation Phenomenon” is discussed in detail as is the too-much-information quality of the Soviet’s “Restricted Hygiene Experiments”. From “space euphoria” to “the space stupids”, Burr’s presentation of Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars will cause chuckles that will necessitate explaining to those in close proximity that you are listening to a really funny book. —Carole Chouinard

Publisher's Summary

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

©2010 Mary Roach (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2903 )
5 star
 (1112)
4 star
 (1095)
3 star
 (505)
2 star
 (136)
1 star
 (55)
Overall
4.1 (2033 )
5 star
 (849)
4 star
 (752)
3 star
 (321)
2 star
 (80)
1 star
 (31)
Story
4.2 (2038 )
5 star
 (914)
4 star
 (705)
3 star
 (298)
2 star
 (89)
1 star
 (32)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Yodelaheho 12-30-14
    Yodelaheho 12-30-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to not swallow puke in space"
    What made the experience of listening to Packing for Mars the most enjoyable?

    I had such a good time reading this book. The kinds of things NASA had to think of and create solutions for, that wouldn't even cross a normal person's mind like "What happens if you puke in your helmet" had me reading this book well into the night. So cool and a must for any "space junkie" like me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Packing for Mars?

    The list of problems we need solutions for (for the long flight and safe return home of humans) still sticks with me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yon 12-02-14
    Yon 12-02-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and humorous"
    Any additional comments?

    Mary Roach does not hold back and I love it! And space travel has always fascinated me. She tells all the interesting details about space travel in general that I never would have learned anywhere else. And there were a couple of times that I laughed my ass off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt UK 04-19-14
    Matt UK 04-19-14

    Matt

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring Boring Boring"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Sandra Burr’s performances?

    No way. Narrator was boring . She should record "Put to sleep" books instead


    Any additional comments?

    Boring Boring Boring .. just like this review you are reading...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 03-20-14
    George 03-20-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    248
    197
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well Researched"

    The author does a good job describing the preparations that must be made for a trip to Mars. Everything from food to poop is covered. She had amazing access to the astronauts, NASA staff and other researchers...even the "three dolphin club." I think that I'll read another Mary Roach book, but not for awhile.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen Falls Church, VA, United States 03-03-14
    Kristen Falls Church, VA, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny, Interesting & Informative"
    Would you listen to Packing for Mars again? Why?

    Great job exploring the challenges of space travel. Sandra Burr's narration really brought to life Mary's funny questions and observations. Book kept me interested and amused.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry WORTHINGTON, OH, United States 02-28-14
    Jerry WORTHINGTON, OH, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insightful, highly entertaining, well-researched"
    What did you love best about Packing for Mars?

    An endless trove of behind-the-scenes stories, highly personal details and quirky humor. The reading captures every nuance of the authors wit and snark.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Plenty of snippets of transcripts from various missions, crisp descriptions and concise writing.


    Have you listened to any of Sandra Burr’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Multiple LOL moments in here. This will be worth listening to again.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have liked a little more forward-looking material, but I suspect she feared it would make the book out-dated. BUt overall, an excellent book and a fine performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keli 08-24-13
    Keli 08-24-13 Member Since 2015

    I'm a humble Public Servant working for county government. I enjoy futuristic Sci fi, murder mysteries, Tim Dorsey, & dystopian genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    153
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why did I buy this?"
    What would have made Packing for Mars better?

    The beginning was really slow. A nice "punch" to get it going would have better held my interest.


    What was most disappointing about Mary Roach’s story?

    It really didn't make a lot sense from the get go. I read a lot of Sci-fi, which is why I reached for a new author. This story never hooked me.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator could have used more emotion; but I doubt it would've made a difference for me.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Unfortunately, no.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was not for me. I took a chance and came back with nothing. However, I will continue to look for new & different authors to try. That's why books are so great. Everyone has story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Vancouver, BC, Canada 08-03-13
    Julie Vancouver, BC, Canada 08-03-13 Member Since 2016

    I'm a writer and a yoga teacher with a Masters in English Literature.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Space is more disgusting than you ever imagined"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would, because I think Mary Roach is funny and I have a new perspective on space travel now. It's taken some of the romance out of Star Trek, though!


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Basically the book is about the human body, not about space. We learn a lot about how the body works by considering what will happen to it in space and in anti gravity. The chapter on poo was way too long, and followed by the chapter on vomit--it was sort of interesting, but just disgusting and not always worth listening to. I guess I wanted more fascinating aspects of space, but I got a lot of poop jokes instead. I didn't like that aspect. I preferred Mary Roach's book about sex, and I want to read the others of hers (I tried listening to Spook, but the narrator made the book sound incredibly racist, so I couldn't finish it).


    Was Packing for Mars worth the listening time?

    Yes, definitely worth the listening time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christy Plano, TX, United States 06-28-13
    christy Plano, TX, United States 06-28-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    189
    77
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Laughed until I almost PEED!"

    Not only did she research "private" areas about space travel, but it was hysterical. Everyone thinks of space as this clean, zero-gravity container. But it can be totally disgusting! I have a new respect for astronauts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jenn 06-07-13
    jenn 06-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mary Roach is always worth a listen."

    i really enjoy Mary Roach's writing style and the subjects she tackles. therefore i would almost blindly recommend her to anyone who enjoys learning while being entertained. as i am studying, and usually taking very challenging classes it usually takes me 2 or 3 tries to get through one of her books. this is because her books draw my attention from what i am doing and i find myself just listening if i am doing something deeper than folding laundry. if you are mentally taxed right now you may not make it through the first time, but it won't be due to lack of interest. (note: if one is attempting to dissect human cadavers for future classes to study, this is not the book to listen to while doing so. one's quality of work decreases.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.