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A Biomedical Look At Spaceflight

Book review by Dan Buckland

(Dan Buckland is an editor at Medgadget and an MD/PhD student at Harvard Med/MIT whose thesis deals with diagnosing back injury in spaceflight using ultrasound.)

Mary Roach, author of previous entertaining books Bonk (a history of sex research) and Stiff (a history of cadaver research), has turned her considerable talents in translating decades of research into a readable review of human (and animal) spaceflight experimentation.

The title of her new book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, is a bit of a misnomer — only the last chapter is devoted to the medical advances needed for a trip to Mars. However, it is a great layman’s history of the biomedical results of both the American and Russian space programs.

Through my own research and academic career I’ve been peripherally involved with many of the recent studies she mentions in the book, and I know many of the people she interviewed, so I give her credit for taking some fairly complicated concepts and distilling them to relevant anecdotes and asides. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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