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Packing for Mars

The Curious Science of Life in Space

Mary Roach

What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? When you can’t have sex? Or smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles an hour?
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.

  • Publication date: September 1, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781851688234
  • RRP: £11.99
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication date: September 1, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781780740874
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 312


"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." *****

BBC Sky at Night

“Behind the witty mouth is a smart mind that finds out how rocket scientists organise their hardware around irritating organic human needs.”

Saga Magazine

“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.”

Fortean Times

“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.”

Belfast Telegraph

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.”

The Times

“Well-tuned to humour and absurdity…A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-fl ight curiosities.”

Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Mary Roach “Irresistible…cheerfully scatological,cheekily sceptical.”

Observer Review

Praise for Mary Roach “A bold, tenacious, and insatiable reporter, Roach…could make an earthworm evisceration riveting and a hemispherectomy seem downright jolly.”


Praise for Mary Roach “Roach is an original who can enliven any subject with wit, keen reporting, and a sly intelligence.”

Publishers Weekly

Praise for Mary Roach “Roach marries enthusiasm and curiosity with unflagging humour.”

Independent on Sunday

Praise for Mary Roach “Even if there were thousands of science-humour writers,[Roach] would be the sidesplitting favourite.”


Mary Roach

Mary Roach is the New York Times-bestselling author of several popular science books including Packing for Mars and Gulp, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton prize. Grunt was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book Prize. She has written for the GuardianWiredBBC FocusGQ and Vogue. Her most recent book is Animal, Vegetable, Criminal.

Author page

More books by Mary Roach

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