Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh veg, privacy, beer. To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations, and as Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining voyage into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
"Such grippingly scatological titbits grace almost every page ... Even readers with a long-term interest in manned exploration should find some new information within ... if you like your space science served with emotion, anecdotes, and excreta, this is for you." *****
“Behind the witty mouth is a smart mind that finds out how rocket scientists organise their hardware around irritating organic human needs.”
“Roach boldly goes where no author has gone before to bring us puke, zero-gravity, faecal popcorn and flash-frozen rats... Packing for Mars is delightful, one of those rare beasts; a successful humorous science book. It is also one that throws fascinating light on some of the more obscure corners of space travel. Never mind packing it for Mars; pack it for your next long-haul flight and see if you can manage to freak your air-sick neighbour with one of the many amusing chapters on vomiting.”
“The author of Stiff unravels the scientific hoo-haa and ultimate hubris of the whole enterprise. We all prefer our feet of clay, it seems.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Terrifically witty…On almost every page she tells you something to make you gasp aloud or snort with laughter.”
Praise for Mary Roach “When Mary Roach is seized by a subject, there is no stopping her: she is full-on, hands-on, and her lab coat is unbuttoned.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Irresistible…cheerfully scatological,cheekily sceptical.”
Praise for Mary Roach “A bold, tenacious, and insatiable reporter, Roach…could make an earthworm evisceration riveting and a hemispherectomy seem downright jolly.”
“Well-tuned to humour and absurdity…A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-fl ight curiosities.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Roach is an original who can enliven any subject with wit, keen reporting, and a sly intelligence.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Roach marries enthusiasm and curiosity with unflagging humour.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Even if there were thousands of science-humour writers,[Roach] would be the sidesplitting favourite.”
Praise for Mary Roach “A wonderfully vivid writer…. A celebration of the wide, occasionally crazy spectrum of human pursuit.”
Praise for Mary Roach “One of the funniest and most madcap of science writers"
Praise for Mary Roach “Roach certainly gets full marks for unflinching commitment to the job in hand.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Bonkers, but brilliant.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Funny, inquisitive, and uncowed by experts, [Roach is] the general reader’s ideal emissary to the arcana of serious science.”
Praise for Mary Roach “One of those rare writers who can tackle the most obscure unpleasantness and distil the data into a hilarious and informative package. I would devour every page…I would laugh out loud…I would be able to dazzle and surprise friends with a newfound knowledge.”
Praise for March Roach “She has a huge heart, a strong sense of empathy for the oddball, and she’s willing to go to great lengths to find and report stories from the hinterlands of understanding.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Mary Roach is one of an endangered species: a science writer with a sense of humour.”
Praise for Mary Roach “A joy to read.…wonderful stuff.”
Praise for Mary Roach “Roach is authoritative, endlessly curious and drolly funny. Her research is scrupulous and winningly presented.”
Praise for Mary Roach “A keen eye for observation of unique and ironic details.”
“An often hilarious, sometimes queasy-making catalog of the strange stuff devised to permit people to survive in an environment for which their bodies are stupendously unsuited… Wonderfully slapstick.”
"[A] truly funny look at the majestic aspects of the space program... Supremely accessible."
"Smart, smirky stuff."
“[Roach’s] fluffily lightweight style is at its most substantial – and most hilarious – in the zero-gravity realm that Packing for Mars explores… As startling as it is funny.”
"An accomplished journalist with boundless curiosity, Roach complements her historical research with an equally eccentric investigation of space travel… As funny as Roach can be, she brings serious insight to her subject."
"Like a sassier - ie. ruder - version of Bill Bryson…”
"She has a knack for translating the dry and arcane stuff of science in a way that is eminently readable, informative, and eye-openingly hilarious." *****
"Roach's book details the gritty biological reality of astronaut life."
"It achieves the double whammy of being both entertaining and educational, and though it starts off good, it gets even better as it goes along."
"If you don't already know Mary Roach, famously the author of Bonk and Stiff, don't miss this third outing into space where no one can hear you scream with laughter... As a science writer Roach is seriously funny. She asks the right questions and provides answers like the best deadpan stand-up comic."
"In this often extremely funny book she reveals just what it’s like to be crammed in a space ship with your fellow man or woman - and their various bodily functions."
"As Roach has shown in earlier books she is completely embarrassment-proof. There is no biological situation she will not visualise, no anatomical question she will not ask. So Packing for Mars is as startling as it is funny, even if its strategic aim is to tell you more than you need to know."