Space is devoid of the stuff humans need to live: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh veg, privacy, beer. How much can a person give up? What happens when you can't walk for a year? Is sex any fun in zero gravity? What's it like being cooped up in a metal box with a few people for months at a time? As Mary Roach discovers, it's possible to explore space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a 17,000 mile-per-hour crash test of NASA's space capsule (cadaver stepping in), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of living in space.
Mary Roach is the bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. She has written for The Guardian, Wired, GQ, Vogue, and many other publications. She lives in California.
"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
"Terrifically witty [...] On almost every page she tells you something to make you gasp aloud or snort with laughter."
"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
"Irresistible [...] cheerfully scatological, cheekily sceptical."
– Observer Review
"A bold, tenacious, and insatiable reporter, Roach [...] could make an earthworm evisceration riveting and a hemispherectomy seem downright jolly."
"Well-tuned to humour and absurdity [...] A delightful, illuminating grab bag of space-flight curiosities."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Roach is an original who can enliven any subject with wit, keen reporting, and a sly intelligence."
– Publishers Weekly