We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
 >   > 
Packing for Mars Audiobook

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

Regular Price:£16.59
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Mary Roach (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (111 )
5 star
 (51)
4 star
 (43)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.3 (67 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (31)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.0 (67 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (20)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Pete Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom 18/09/2010
    Pete Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom 18/09/2010 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Unexpected Gem"

    I bought this book on a whim but what a interesting book it goes right into the detail of man space flight and explains a lot of thing the TV never told us, I listen to my books while walking to work but with this one I made up walks just to listen to it!

    I fully recommend it if you have half a interest in space flight

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicola Fern Wolverhampton, UK 01/02/2011
    Nicola Fern Wolverhampton, UK 01/02/2011 Member Since 2007

    multicolouredmaddie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great book, horrible narration"

    Pushes all my favourite buttons...geeky, funny and thoroughly entertaining.

    I got the audiobook from Audible before I bought the hardback, and hated it - the reader they used has such a mechanical, robotic sounding voice and flat delivery that not an iota of humour survived, and it was so monotonous that I couldn't concentrate on it. However, I could tell there was a great book struggling to make itself heard so I bought the hard copy and I'm very glad I did.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 18/02/2011 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "My best audiobook purchase yet"

    Bought this book on a whim, based on another good review, and I wasn't dissapointed. This was a fantastically engrossing book, highly accessible and endlessy engaging.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    StapleRemover 17/10/2016
    StapleRemover 17/10/2016 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stilted at first, gets better"

    The story is amazing but initially the narrator sounds very robot like. Footnotes don't help and break up the narrative. Eventually you warm to the voice. I even laughed out loud on occasions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swati 08/03/2016
    Swati 08/03/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story but a cynical narration"

    I struggled to finish it. mainly the cynical tone of the narrator was not palatable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kelan 21/07/2015
    kelan 21/07/2015 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you're interested in space and like QI this may be your thing"

    I wouldn't normally go for a non fiction audiobook but this book is well worth the break in the norm. It's full of facts and narrated excellently. If you're even glancingly interested in what's involved in space travel & if you like a multitude of interesting tidbits then this is the book for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gordon co.cork, Ireland 19/11/2011
    gordon co.cork, Ireland 19/11/2011 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "My worst download yet!"

    I was looking forward to hearing this but sadly I found it annoying. It was not only the reader's delivery, as another reviewer mentioned, it was the writing. This woman seems obsessed with lavatorial issues and sex. This would be ok it it wasn't treated in such a 'nudge-nudge' schoolgirlish way.. Couldn't wait for it to be finished to be honest!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 04/08/2011
    Janice 04/08/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Packing for Mars"

    I waited for this book to come out for absolutely ages but was somewhat disappointed in the result - too much anticipation, I suppose. There was considerable research, all no doubt solid and reliable, but the author did rather harp on certain subjects to the point of irritation - enough already, move on, I've got the point! There were times, too, when I had to fast forward, such was the graphic nature of the content, but it was all in the interests of science so relevant to the subject matter. It is a little out of date, given the latest developments in space science, but might become a school text book at some stage in the future, now that the space shuttle has been moth-balled. All round, it was interesting, though the narrator's rather high pitched nasal voice began to grate after a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 14/06/2011
    Ann 14/06/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    116
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Yet another great book"

    I can't add much to the other reviews except to say the book manages to walk a fine line between technical explanations and funny stories, and does it brilliantly. It's the epitome of popular science, and very easy to listen to. I was quite surprised by the appearance of Sylvia Saint (well, the mention of her - she didn't agree to an interview) but am impressed by the author's dedication to finding out everything about the indignities of space flight. The one thing that did drive me a little bit mad was the constant 'note' interruption - I imagine this would have been just as irritating in the print version, but foot notes REALLY don't work well in audio form, not in the middle of chapters. Based on this title, I also read two more of her books and they maintain the same high standard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bob 25/01/2016
    bob 25/01/2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "10/10 wud ign"

    it was so gud it wus sheet. so I change my mind 0/10 wud machinima

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Roy
    Beaumont, TX, United States
    22/09/10
    Overall
    "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"

    Mary Roach has applied her keen research skill and packaged her keen insights, once again, for us in "Packing for Mars." The result is one wild ride through space programs in the US and abroad. Crew compatability, the vagaries of bowel elimination, sex in space, food preparation, and taking (or not taking) a shower is all here. The result is a delightful, informative, thought provokiing insight into space travel, engineering, and human behavior.

    This is a great listen to have on the MP3 on a long drive. It keeps your attention, informs, and makes the time fly by. The writing is good and topically organized. The reading of Sandra Burr is excellent.
    NOTE: There is a section dealing with sexual matters which you may or may not want to play when younger companions are about. If you car pool with sensitive people, perhaps you should listen to that section in a different locaion.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    20/08/10
    Overall
    "What You Probably Don't Realize About NASA & Space"

    I wasn't sure to expect when I started reading this book, so I left my expectations at the cover. Just let Mary and Sandra lead the way. Having finished the book, I can say that had anyone else read it or if I had tried to read it myself, I might have not gotten as much out of it as I did. Sandra does a good job putting emphasis where I think Mary wanted it.

    Prepare to embark on a journey of nausea, potty training, a bit of history, aero- and astrodynamics, and other stuff NASA doesn't like to talk about on a day-to-day basis. Expect to learn more about these things than you ever thought you could or would, and laugh while you do.

    I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in space or aviation. Everyone else would enjoy the book as well, but not as much as someone who has in interest in the subjects discussed. Whether you are drawn to aviation and space, or have a fear of heights, you will still enjoy this book and probably come away with a better appreciation for everyone involved in any space agency.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Kathy
    Bedford, TX, United States
    06/08/10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrific!"

    Mary Roach is smart, funny and a terrific writer. This book was as good if not better than all her others. She has a talent for science writing - explaining complicated science using clear, memorable prose. She asked all the questions of the "Everyman" and a whole lot more! She not only interviewed NASA folks but also Japanese and Russian astronauts giving a still broader view of space flight
    I can't wait to see what she writes about next
    Sandra Burr delivers a spot on performance as well.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Allison
    East Palo Alto, CA, United States
    07/08/10
    Overall
    "Funny and informative"

    Very entertaining and fascinating! Mary Roach explains everything from bone loss to space bathrooms and everything inbetween. I wasn't even that interested in the subject to begin with but like her previous books I found myself completely enthralled.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Marianne Egyud
    27/02/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting facts, boring narrator"

    I liked the book because of some interesting facts in it, but I think, I would've enjoyed it more if the narrator was reading it with some more excitement. For me, every joke fell flat because of her reading and had to listen on twice the normal speed, so it wouldn't seem so slow.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Joshua Kim
    Etna, NH, United States
    10/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some Things We Learn from "Packing for Mars""

    Mary Roach's "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void" is the perfect book for anyone who is curious about the ins and outs (literally) of space travel.

    We learn:

    How astronauts urinate and defecate in space, and how this process has changed from the early Apollo missions to the space shuttle to the space station.

    How sex in space would work, and if anyone has ever given it a shot.

    How space food is produced and consumed, and why we would not want to have NASA take over our campus dining services.

    What an astronaut really does in the 99% of the time she is not in space, and what NASA (and the Russian and Japanese space agencies) look for in a potential recruit.

    How astronauts train, getting used to the rigors of zero gravity, the boredom, and the need to spend 24 hours a day with your co-workers without ever being able to leave.

    Why Mary Roach thinks manned space exploration should continue, and why spending the $500 billion or so to get to Mars is a good investment.

    I'm a big fan of Mary Roach's books. She has covered sex (Bonk), death (Stiff), and ghosts (Spook). The only problem with "Packing for Mars" is that the title is too long.

    And in the category of, "oh what a small world we live in", it turns out that Mary Roach grew up in the small town in which I now reside. Mary, you are welcome to stay at the house if you ever want to come and visit.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • spacecasecake
    west coast, usa
    23/08/10
    Overall
    "Awful narration leads to complete boredom"

    You know that soft, metered female voice that seems to be part of any automated phone service? That's precisely who's reading this book and it dulls down an otherwise humorous and interesting subject.

    Listen to the sample first! This might be a better book to buy in black & white

    29 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    20/08/10
    Overall
    "Bad reader alert"

    Never has the importance of a reader in creating the enjoyment of a book been more apparent than with this book. I listened to "Stiff" by the same author and loved it so much that I raced to download "Packing for Mars". What a disappointment. Sandra Burr was boring and couldn't capture the humorous side of Roach's writing. I'm sure the content of each book was equal but the reading made a gigantic difference in its appreciation. Nevertheless, the book had tons of fascinating information. Mary Roach has the rare skill of taking the most mundane situations of life and addresses their complications when they are placed in outer space. For example, who would think that sex would be so difficult in a space station. How about going to the bathroom? How about not showering for six weeks? Ugh!

    20 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Grant
    NANTUCKET, MA, United States
    02/03/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, funny, worthwhile"

    Mary Roach seems to be able to make the most ordinary stuff sound interesting. Even aerosolized feces in zero-G.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Frederick, MD
    30/10/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some interesting anecdotes, but..."

    Some interesting anecdotes, but mostly very dull, very dull, very dull, very dull, very dull.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.