Doing Dewey’s Nonfiction Book Club – Packing for Mars Part 2!


One of my favorite things about being part of this community is joining with other bloggers to participate in a challenge or read-along or some other sort of bookish project. I especially love read-alongs because they often expand my reading horizons and I get to answer discussion questions. I love discussion questions! This month over at Doing Dewey, we’re reading Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars.

If you want to read my discussion answers for the first half of the book, check those out here.

Do you have a favorite fun fact from the second half of the book?

Right now, I’m suffering intense lack of memory. I think the second half of the book was so disgusting that my brain has blocked everything out!

On second thought, I definitely didn’t know that Felix Baumgartner’s famous jump from space was actually a test of some equipment for NASA. I thought it was just a world-record attempt and a plug for Red Bull. It’s very cool that he has that sort of job, but also very scary!

Other than other people, what do you think you’d miss most if you had to spend an extended period of time in space?

Gaming. Can you imagine trying to play Smash Up or Ticket to Ride in zero gravity? Also, I frequently use video gaming as a release of anger or other pent-up emotions. Sometimes there’s just no better therapy than logging on and slaying some dragons or sailing the high seas or clearing a hard level. So everyone would suffer from my lack of outlet.

Do you think you’d be good at the meticulous planning required for a mission in space?

Yes. My roommates frequently tease me about how I live my life according to lists and plans. When we go on trips, move to new apartments, or even make weekend plans, it’s usually me doing the logistics. I thrive the most when my life is structured and orderly. Actually, this may be the only thing I would be great at!

Do you like that Mary Roach asks the questions no one else asks (body odor, sex) or would you rather just not know?

Both, if we’re being honest. She certainly doesn’t shy away from the unpleasant topics, and it is rather fascinating to think about these aspects. I mean, I’ve never really seen documentaries or read other books that think so comprehensively (and weirdly) about the topic at hand. But I’ve really learned not to read her books while eating food of any sort. It’s just hard to snack on a delicious chocolate Blizzard while reading a chapter on the problem of defecation in outer space, okay?

Would you be willing to stay in bed for months if someone paid you your current salary to do so?

I can’t remember – does the subject have to lie down the entire time or can they sit up in bed? If I could sit up in my bed, then yes. What better way to catch up on stacks of reading and my backlog of video games? If it’s lying down for months and months, no. I would get so bored…and my salary isn’t that good anyway.

Do you think NASA should be able to recruit astronauts based on their genetics?

Yes, to a degree. I think at the very least it should definitely be a consideration and potential astronauts should be genetically tested. What if something is lurking in a potential astronaut’s DNA that could wreak havoc later due to the effects of space travel?

Also, I think one could take this question deeper – just because I want to be an astronaut doesn’t mean I get to be an astronaut. I think we live in a society where we are told that we can be whatever we want, and that just isn’t true. Genetics obviously have a very real impact on our lives and futures, but what we do also plays a large part. You know, the whole nature vs. nurture debate. So yes, if I have some sort of genetic thing that could be a hindrance to the mission, don’t let me be an astronaut. Sorry, was that too harsh?

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

As always, thanks to Katie for hosting! I’m having a lot of fun and reading things I might never have gotten around to otherwise!




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8 responses to “Doing Dewey’s Nonfiction Book Club – Packing for Mars Part 2!

  1. I love read-alongs too. I haven’t read Packing for Mars, but I can imagine what my responses would be to some of these questions. I would be a terrible astronaut! I’m afraid of heights, and I’m terribly disorganized (well, at least compared to others in my professional sphere; people always think I’m going to be better organized than I am! I rely too much on my memory).

    I would never want to stay in bed for any extended period of time… bed sores, muscle atrophy… ugh. However, I suppose I’d do it for the right price! It would have to be much more than my current salary. 🙂


  2. I haven’t read this one, but I certainly believe that Roach leaves no stone unturned! I was really fascinated by everything I read in Stiff.


  3. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | Jancee's Reading Journal

  4. Haha, some of this was pretty gross, but interesting! I made the mistake of eating breakfast while reading Stiff and I definitely regretted it. I hadn’t thought about gaming, but I’d miss that too! Much harder to take with you than books or music. I’m envious of your organizational skills! I’m working at being more meticulous but by nature I’m not very detail-oriented.


    • I learned very quickly not to touch food while I was reading. Turns out, I have a pretty weak stomach and some sections just turned me off eating for several hours.

      And it’s okay. We need people of all types. My roommate Jerelle isn’t organized at all, but she brings a level of spontaneity and fun to my life that I wouldn’t have ordinarily. 🙂


  5. Pingback: Nonfiction November – My Year In Nonfiction | Jancee's Reading Journal

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