Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do Your Ears Pop in Space?

Interesting question? For the answer to this and many other topics involving space travel, I have a terrific resource to recommend.

DO YOUR EARS POP IN SPACE? (AND 500 OTHER SURPRISING QUESTIONS ABOUT SPACE TRAVEL) was written by former astronaut R. Michael Mullane in response to questions he’s been asked about life as an astronaut. Mullane, a veteran of three shuttle missions, published the book in 1997 and though some information was dated--for instance the Columbia disaster had not happened at that point--I didn't find this to be a problem. In fact, I learned some things about Columbia that I never knew. I found most of the content fresh and relevant. After all, the laws of physics, the principles behind rocket propulsion and space flight, and the nature of space don’t change.

Mullane’s straightforward answers regarding some complex issues and his wit throughout were thoroughly engaging. Speaking as a science fiction writer, I found this book a wealth of knowledge, highly entertaining, and a superb muse motivator. I would give it a five star recommendation for anyone interested in space flight or the space program in general.

The layout of the book was especially useful. It’s arranged in Q and A format, with questions grouped by subject area (the chapters):

Space Physics
Space Shuttle Pre-Mission and Launch Operations
Space Shuttle Orbit Operations
Life in Space
Space Physiology
Space Shuttle Reentry and Landing
Astronaut Facts
The Future

For the next few weeks, I'll do a series of articles focusing on a few of the topics in the book and explain how and why these ideas tickled my muse, or how I might incorporate these details into my future science fiction romance novels.


  1. I have to teach a year 10 subject on this exact thing. I love the NASA website there is a trove of information that I'll never get the time to read through thoroughly.

  2. Good timing, then. :) I'd highly recommend this book, Natalie. So much information, well organized and it's easy to find specific questions because they're all in bold print.

    Good luck with your class.

  3. Oh, this is going on my birthday wish list! Thanks for the heads up, Laurie!


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