Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

January Books 23) Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach

This is a great book about the human side of space travel. There are fascinating chapters on how astronauts are chosen (people who are able to keep making decisions and responding to instructions while under extreme stress, and also do not snore) and on the problems of personal hygiene when underwear and room for manoeuvre are limited. The chapter on sex in zero gravity was a bit disappointing because there is in fact no empirical source material. But there is a lot about poo, a recurrent theme throughout the book culminating in a long chapter which answers every question you ever thought you might ask, and many more, about toilets in space.

The book is not quite as entertaining as the same author's Bonk, I guess because sex is a more familiar activity than space flight (for me, anyway); it is also not quite as well edited, with some repetition of anecdotes perhaps indicating that some of the chapters began life as newspaper or magazine columns. But it is great fun anyway.
Tags: bookblog 2012, space, writer: mary roach
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