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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach


I love Mary Roach’s books. In fact, I think Packing for Mars is back up to her previous high point of Stiff. I’ve never had so much fun learning science.

My favorite parts are the footnotes. I’m even a little bit sad when I turn the page and I see no footnotes. It’s amazing the people she can get to talk to her, and about things they don’t want to/have been told not to discuss.
This book is ostensibly about preparing for the possibility of a future NASA trip to Mars, but it's more about the history of the space race and previous runs, from early Mercury and Apollo, through the space shuttle. The amount of information we did not know about space and its effects on the human body when we first started exploring it, are staggering. Of course we don't know a great deal more now, except through trial and error. Sometimes despite vast efforts and research, we just had to wing things. That's the bravest things our astronauts do.
Thoroughly entertaining, this was a fast read. If one is easily squeamish this might not be right for you, but anyone with even the vaguest interest in science would likely love this book.

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