Packing for Mars

I recently read an excellent book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, a Christmas gift from my brother. The book goes over everything from cultural differences in picking astronaut candidates (Japanese candidates have been known to be asked to fold 1000 paper cranes while under observation), the history an engineering of human space exploration, to practical challenges of human beings in space: weightlessness, space-sickness, hygiene, food, etc. Mary Roach is an amazing writer, clearly spent a lot of time in the field and even on a zero G flight researching the book, and is both incredibly frank and downright hilarious. These qualities are definitely appreciated as she explores with ease topics such as defecation and sex which rarely appear in glossy NASA or ESA press releases and her writing style makes the details of her research anything but dry.

For a gift or for yourself, I can highly recommend the book. I have indeed already packed my suitcase.

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