Packing for Mars is a fun little book exploring the biggest weakness we have to contend with in exploring space. That weakness, of course, is ourselves. The frail meat bags we call bodies and all its little needs make space exploration difficult, more costly, and quite frankly – gross. Before I read Mary Roach’s most recent book, I had imagined that I might have liked to have been an astronaut. Of course, I would have to be a far different person physically, as well as mentally, but I find exploration and science to be noble pursuits. Space exploration in particular has always had a fond place in my heart. That is until you find out all that goes into it. The sterile environments of utopian science fiction does not begin to describe what is going on up there. Hell, even the dystopian science fiction doesn’t have you randomly encountering floating turds and fecal dust.
Despite having my boyhood dreams crushed, Mary’s sense of humor kept me reading. I even found myself laughing out loud frequently, and usually at very immature things. Who knew that NASA was a good source of fart jokes?
A highly recommended read for anyone with an interest in this sort of thing.