“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) asks the questions children ask in this young readers adaptation of her best-selling Packing for Mars.What is it like to float weightlessly in the air? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? How do astronauts go to the bathroom? Is it true that they don’t shower? Can farts really be deadly in space?
Gr 5-7--In this trimmed version of her book for adults, science journalist Roach explores the nitty gritty--and the icky, slimy, and stinky--aspects of living in space. Based on interviews with astronauts and NASA researchers, as well as an actual ride (with sound effects) on the infamous "Vomit Comet," and a literal spin on a testing device dubbed the "rotating chair," she describes in rousing detail how some of the less savory challenges of space flight were tackled or endured: finding ways to dispose of body waste and (mostly in a chapter memorably titled "Barfing on the Ceiling") to cope with motion sickness; living for days or weeks in confined cabins with people who can't wash or change clothes; and more. Along the way she acquaints readers with the ins and (unfortunately) outs of NASA's "dreaded fecal bag," explains how gravity affects nearly everything we commonly do, and tucks in details that are likely to be new even to confirmed students of space travel--such as the corned beef sandwich astronaut John Young smuggled aboard Gemini 3, and the stamina of Gemini 7 astronaut Frank Borman, said to have gone nine days in orbit without defecating. An adequate selection of period photos offers glimpses of grimly smiling astronauts of both sexes, as well as clear views of space food, space toilets, and ground-based training facilities. VERDICT Along with plenty of laughter, this work may engender even more respect for the toughness of those first generations of space travelers.--John Edward PetersCopyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.