Packing for Mars
Mary Roach has an ability to take the most complex (and many times obscure) science and make it fun, often funny, and approachable. This book on the history and science of space exploration describes many of the auspicious and not so proud moments in our drive to reach, explore, and inhabit outer space. She asks probing questions like: How did we know space would be safe? How does one use a toilet in space? Is it exciting to spend more than a few days in space? (Spoiler: not so much.) In the quest to get answers she learns of many bizarre and rigorous experiments and trainings, some of which still go on today. As with her other books, she goes straight to the source for answers. In researching this book, she racked up a lot of airline miles, including visits to many NASA centers, an isolation lab in Japan, the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow, and even a trip on NASA’s Vomit Comet, a plane outfitted to simulate the weightlessness of space, right here on Earth. This is a fun read and even the most obsessed space junky will learn something.