Mary Roach - Packing for Mars

The human exploration of space is fascinating, not only for the discoveries we make about the cosmos but for the logistics that have to be overcome and the research that has to be done about even the most minute and seemingly trivial of human physiological functions.

We've glimpsed before how astronauts have to deal with their own processes of excretion, for instance, but before we ever made it into space, it was a genuinely open question what would happen to the human body as it reaches a zero-gravity environment. Would blood coagulate? Would the eyes be able to focus? Would muscles deteriorate? Would balance and proprioception be preserved? Would we be able to sleep?

And then there's the logistics of having to plan missions into outer space that have to last anywhere from a few days to a couple of years in relatively small and definitely isolated capsules. In the following entertaining and informative talk, Mary Roach describes some of the fascinating and crazy research that has gone into getting humans into literally alien environments... and why, despite how much you may love America, you'll probably want to go out in a Russian mission :)

There you have it, real thinking out of the box requires that you eat the box :)
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