Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

So the clip below (and many other places) will have you believe that the best part of this book is the part where she talks about pooping in space. But seriously - that's just one chapter and every part of this book is golden. (Although every time anyone says the word "residue" I will think of poop.)

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NASA, apparently, is responsible for many, many daily enjoyments. In a footnote, there is a list. It is not a small one. For example: Natick purees. They were one of the options for food in the space. Puree everything and stick it in a pouch with a spouty-thing at the top. It messed with the astronaut's heads, but I know some toddlers who love their puree pouches when they're on the go. Also: freeze dried ice cream is now "yogurt melts" and available at your local baby food store.

We saw Mary Roach speak at SetiCon (because we are that kind of nerdcore) and I have to say that I'm not proud of my behavior when given the chance to chat with one of my favorite authors. (She on my Dinner for 8 list.) We were sleep deprived and I was more worried about losing my dignity in a word-vomit-explosion of gooeyness.  So instead I clammed up and we exchanged some pleasant-yet-awkward- drivel I (thankfully) can't remember much of. I know we talked about how my son was probably the youngest attendee. And then she signed the book to Baz (who was sleeping in my Beco) and that was awesome. She lives in the Bay Area, so the chances of my seeing her speak again are fairly high and now that I've read the book I can avoid coming across like the village idiot. I hope.

Anyway, back to the book. Roach is what sports-people would call a Super Fan. She asks the questions that most of us are wondering and then takes it a step further and THEN volunteers for that which would make most people go hmm.... (you'll just have to read to find out what, because any more of a hint than that would be a major spoiler and we all know I'm not that kind of girl.)

Read it. Buy it for the space/science/science fiction nut in your life. Trust me.

I leave you with two photos from SetiCon:

My Husband and my child in space ;-)

And the lovely Mary Roach checking her notes (second from left) in the only picture I got where no one is making a weird talking face and there's not motion blur.
 Next time I will have no shame. I am a super fan and I will take lessons from her: come prepared and ask the questions that make most people pause and wonder just how nutty you really are.


Bethany said...

Love the space baby!

This totally reminds me of a fourth grade assembly with an astronaut and him explaining how you pee in space. Which just leads me to more questions about female astronauts and the, er, biological things they deal with. Do they have tampons on spaceships?

Emily said...

spoiler: she didn't ask that question! But she does get into female biology otherwise. I'm sure there's timing considerations...but on the space station...hm...question to write down in case I bump into her again!

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