Packing for Mars

There are many books about the technology of space exploration. They focus on rockets, landing, heat shielding, and other flashy stuff. This book assumes it all way.

Instead, it focuses on the much messier, and less flashy, side of space exploration technology: living beings, and especially humans. Of all the devices in a rocket, these ones are unique.

People sweat. People feel. People eat. People exercise. All of these things are complicated by zero gravity, radiation, and cramped quarters. Strapping humans to a rocket going to space is hard.

As always, Roach explores the disgusting side of science with an open and frank tone that is hard to match. It is easy to be overly sterile, use euphemisms and technical terms that obscure the emotionality of what’s going on. But it is just as easy to become a shock artist, focusing on breaking taboos to the detriment of the content.

Roach walks a fine line well, and describes the knowns and unknowns related to crewed space exploration.