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Mary Roach spoke to Googlers in Mountain View on April 22, 2011 about her book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.

About the book:

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. 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? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 4,000 miles per hour?

To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations -- making it 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), Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

"Whether she's "Supermanning" around in zero gravity or investigating the challenges of mating in space, her strength as an author is her ability to insert both herself and the reader into the action." — Williamette Week

"Her style is at its most substantial - and most hilarious - in the zero-gravity realm that Packing for Mars explores...As startling as it is funny." — Janet Maslin, New York Times

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