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Gravitation is the Lust of the Universe

September 29, 2011

For those of you not yet familiar with the writing of Mary Roach, she has an inimitable way of bringing the most arcane scientific knowledge to life. In this case: gravity.

“Gravity is why there are suns and planets in the first place. It is practically God. In the beginning, the cosmos was nothing but empty space and vast clouds of gases. Eventually the gases cooled to the point where tiny grains coalesced. These grains would have spent eternity moving through space, ignoring each other, had gravitationa attraction not brought them together. Gravitation is the lust of the cosmos. As more particles joined the orgy, these celestial blobs brew in size. . . . Eventually stars were born, objects big enought to pull passing planets and asteroids into orbit. Hello, solar system.”

For the rest of the story, not about the formation of the universe but about every animal aspect of human life that you always wondered about how it could be managed in the confines of a space capsule or a space suit for that matter, you’ll have to read the book:

“Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void” by Mary Roach. Available at your independent bookseller right now.

And when you’re done with this one, don’t miss her enquiries into the world of the dead (“Stiff”), the afterlife (“Spook”), and the one you know you’re most interested in–sex–in “Bonk.”

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