Packing For Mars : The Curious Science Of Life In The Void / Mary Roach

When humans ventured into outer space, there were a host of questions that needed to be answered beforehand.  What would happen to the human body when exposed to zero gravity for long periods of time?  How would astronauts psychologically cope with the isolation and confinement of a space capsule or space station?  What can be done to prevent motion sickness, and if an astronaut does vomit in their helmet, what then?  These questions and numerous others have been studied by various space agencies over the years.  Mary Roach takes the reader behind the curtain of some of the more bizarre space simulations that have been carried out since the space race began.  While the book is educational, Roach’s use of humor makes sure the science goes down easily.  She focuses on the weird stuff that rarely receives coverage elsewhere.  The topics covered include sex in outer space, space hygiene, bowel movements and the development of a toilet for the space shuttle.  Uncowed by the experts she interviews, Roach boldly asks the indelicate personal questions about life in the void.  Behind the humor there is serious science, and her research is impeccable and well documented.  If you are looking for the technical details of the space program, look elsewhere.  This book examines an even more complicated machine and how it functions in outer space: the human body.

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