Sex in space

Space is an interesting place, but not just for the reasons you think. In Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Mary Roach gathers up all the minutia that goes into NASA and delivers it in the form of answers to questions you wouldn’t think to ask: What causes motion sickness? Why did women take so long to get with the program? How dangerous can a sandwich in space be? Loosely strung together (with some last-ditch transitions between chapters), the book often seems as aimless as floating in zero gravity. But riveting trivia draws fitting analogies between the space program and swimming, sky diving, auto racing and dolphin sex. Plus another animal: the chimp, of course. Who knew our astronauts felt so ashamed to be preceded by a less-evolved primate? As for what the chimponauts did in orbit—it’s almost worth reading the book solely to see chimp sex elevated to a whole new realm.