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September 12, 2011
By Mike Wolterbeek
Take an entertaining trip into the science of life in space with best-selling author Mary Roach in the first presentation of this year’s Discover Science Lecture Series at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The writer and humorist will focus on her latest book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, in the free Sept. 13 lecture.
Knowing that space is a world devoid of the things we humans need to live and thrive—air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy and beer—Roach, a popular-science writer, delves into the unanswered questions, and often unasked questions, of life in space. How much can a person give up? How much strangeness can a person endure? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year or 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 fascinating and bizarre space simulations – making it possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth,” Roach said, “which is more or less what I did in researching Packing for Mars. From the space shuttle training toilet, to a simulated Mars mission in an isolation chamber in Moscow, to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule that used a cadaver as a crash test dummy, I undertook a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.”
Packing for Mars came out in August 2010 and was immediately recognized in “Amazon’s Best Books” of that month and quickly became number six on the New York Times bestseller list. It covers both the comedic side and scientific side of space travel. Roach appeared on The Daily Show on Aug. 2, 2010.
The lecture on the University of Nevada, Reno campus will start at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13 in the Redfield Auditorium at the Davidson Mathematics and Science Building. As this is a free event, attendees are advised to arrive early to ensure a seat.
Roach is also the author of several other books, including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Following the lecture, Roach will be available for book signing. A selection of her books will be available for purchase prior to the lecture. For more information, contact Melisa Bell at (775) 682-8796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free parking is available in the three lots designated as "Silver 12" off Evans Avenue at Ninth Street on the south end of campus. Overflow parking is also available in the Brian J. Whalen Parking Garage on Virginia Street next to Lawlor Events Center.
The Discover Science Lecture Series continues Nov. 10 with Dr. David Dawe, Senior Economist with the Agricultural Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.