I recently received a package at my private residence on Titian (I’m still scratching my head as to how they got the address. I mean, this place is exclusive) containing a book about space travel, called Packing for Mars. Usually, I just toss these things aside; if anyone knows anything about space travel, it’s me. But then I noticed it was by Mary Roach, who I recently saw on the Daily Show with John Stewart. So I cracked it open and started to read.
It’s a pretty darned good book, if not a little behind the times (I mean, Mars? That was so three decades ago). I could really relate to the stuff about the chimp and the troubles of vomit in the space helmet (not that I’ve ever done anything so amateur). Here – the publicists say it best:
The best-selling author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Better yet, Roach is coming to Seattle on her book tour. She’ll be at the University of Washington, Kane Hall (Room 210) on Wednesday, August 18 at 7 pm. Tickets are free with the purchase of Packing for Mars from University Book Store; otherwise tickets are $5. Books and tickets available at the University Bookstore (NOT the GSTS) beginning August 2 .
The best part? The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. will be on hand to sell a selection of space travel supplies for all those aspiring astronauts. *
See you there!
- The Captain.
* Well, maybe not “the best part,” but we are pretty darned excited.