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 (3100 )
5 star
 (1211)
4 star
 (1153)
3 star
 (541)
2 star
 (139)
1 star
 (56)
Overall
4.1 (2205 )
5 star
 (937)
4 star
 (793)
3 star
 (357)
2 star
 (86)
1 star
 (32)
Story
4.2 (2212 )
5 star
 (1002)
4 star
 (760)
3 star
 (327)
2 star
 (90)
1 star
 (33)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    T. Schram Dripping Springs, Texas! United States of America 08-12-15
    T. Schram Dripping Springs, Texas! United States of America 08-12-15 Member Since 2012

    I presently live in Central TX after spending 35 years in S FL. I was born and grew up in NW LA. I have been a reader my entire life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting for some, probably not for all"

    Having read/ listened to many of Ms Roach's books, I was looking forward to this one. It was interesting, but not as engrossing as GULP! Overall, I think this report would be interesting to a specific subset of readers, and some parts of the story were sort of off putting. I can see many readers who are not particularly strong stomached putting it down and never picking it up again (I don't think it is widely known that Yuri Gagarin, and the first Russian Cosmonauts were given one liter enemas prior to their missions, because there were no bathroom facilities in the capsule he rode in. A condom catheter worked for liquid body waste, but there was no provision for the other, so the objective was an empty colon, not needing to be evacuated until the cosmonaut was back on earth. All of the tidbits like that were interesting, although I'm not sure they would be to everyone. All in all, the book was very revealing to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Wylie, TX, United States 08-09-15
    Amazon Customer Wylie, TX, United States 08-09-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book"

    Half of the references could be removed. Often repetitive. Great topic and well intention work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John L Hardy 08-06-15 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book!"

    This is the third book of Mary's I have listened too and could not stop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harley Dog 08-02-15
    Harley Dog 08-02-15

    Kanine since 1962!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A disappointment after Stiff"

    Couldn't decide if it wanted to be non-fiction or entertainment, but fell flat at the latter. More facts and details would have been nice. Instead she filled in the lulls with potty humor and overly long segments. Definitely could benefit from better editing, but overall a passable weekend listen during yard work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Olivier de Vezin 03-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some useful bits, much to wade through though"

    I had to suffer through vast stretches of blah to get to the bits and pieces that I found interesting. It often felt like the target audience were Cosmopolitan readers or those who want schtick. The last chapter was good and there were some interesting glimpses at space travel and space life but generally not my thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Johnson Tallahassee FL 03-03-15
    Glenn Johnson Tallahassee FL 03-03-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Deep inside the biology of space travel."

    Maybe more than you want to know about the planning for space exploration. The narrator drove me crazy saying "eva" instead of E.V.A.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    zamorri85 02-05-15
    zamorri85 02-05-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Fantastic read"

    I didn't want to stop listening to it! I will be reading more of her work and works that are similar to this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josiah 01-31-15
    Josiah 01-31-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An enjoyable nonfiction listen about being human."

    Parts get a bit crude in a way that's a bit unnecessary. I have a degree in propulsion and listened to it on my way to Johnson space center for meetings with astronauts, including a discussion about toilets. I enjoyed the way it focused on the early Mercury and Gemini missions. The performance grates at you a bit at first but by the end it feels like the correct tone.

    Some of the parts were more speculation, than historical research, but I thought the book did a good job of coming clean on this fact.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    life-long student NYC 01-16-15
    life-long student NYC 01-16-15 Member Since 2013

    -Shlomo

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The sense that humor was awesome"

    I sort of expected it to talk more about the feasibility of Mars colonization. The book is mostly about the details of going to space. I have absolutely no regrets though! I am so sad that this book is over! And again hopefully I'll forget it soon and I can listen again…
    -Shlomo

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 01-06-15
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 01-06-15

    And Buffalo George

    HELPFUL VOTES
    116
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    728
    252
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Who Knew?"

    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

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.