When I was a kid, I was a little bit of a space nerd. I didn't have access to a lot of information about space travel or anything like that, but I learned all I could about the stars themselves, had a subscription to Astronomy
, stayed outside for meteor showers, tried to make a thrift-store telescope work, the standard stuff. I didn't go to space camp because I freaked out at the thought of all those strangers . . . so I probably wouldn't have made it as an astronaut, realistically, but I did love the idea in the abstract.
I haven't felt that crush on space in years, but Packing for Mars
brought a lot of it back. Roach's style is chatty and informal and funny and I like it. I think it makes the material more accessible, and her enthusiasm for the subject comes through clearly.
The first part of the title might be a little misleading -- I expected way more pages of the book to be devoted to Mars missions than, you know, pooping in space, but Roach covers pretty much everything related to putting bodies in space, from the obvious, like effects of zero gravity, to meals and ways to deal with human waste.
Throughout the book, Roach talks to some very interesting people, and I looked up quite a few of them online to find more of their stories, which is how I found out that Felix Baumgartner
hasn't made his jump yet. Exciting! Well, I was excited about it, at least, and that probably has a lot to do with Packing for Mars
reanimating some long-dormant space nerd section of my brain. I couldn't be happier.