I think it’s only fair I answer my discussion questions too, so here are my answers! Don’t forget to share your answers after chapter 8 and if you want to join in the next read-along, you can help pick our next read in the September poll 🙂
1. What is your favorite fun fact from the book so far?
My favorite fun fact was about the astronauts who ate the onions intended for experiments and how now only non-food plants are now sent on missions!
2. Are you liking the author’s sense of humor?
Loving it! In Stiff, I sometimes found her humor inappropriate (re: animal experiments), but I don’t remember anything like that in this book. I honestly think Mary Roach could make any topic interesting enough that I’d have fun reading about it.
3. What about the footnotes – love them or hate them?
I’m loving these too. I feel like they help the author share interesting digressions and fun facts without breaking up the story and they often make me laugh.
4.Does the way the author describes astronauts match what you imagine them to be like?
I probably shouldn’t be surprised that astronauts sound more like scientists then cowboys, but I kind of am! I think going to space requires more bravery than I possess and that’s why I still imagine astronauts as lone rangers, bravely flying off into space. It does make sense though that astronauts would need to be meticulous and able to withstand boredom and isolation.
5. Which country’s astronaut selection process do you think you’d be best at? Japan, US, or Canada?
Honestly, I’m not sure I’d be very good at any of them. I don’t think I’m meticulous enough to pass Japan’s crane-folding test. I don’t think I’m brave enough for the Canadian stunts. I might be able to pull off the US one – I’ve done some science and think I could seem sane in interviews, haha. I’m not sure I’d pass any physical tests though. As I’ve mentioned in the google doc, I’m also not sure I’d want be an astronaut anyway!
6. How do you feel about experimenting on animals, such as with the rhesus monkey sent into space? Necessary to preserve human life or unnecessarily cruel?
I have very mixed feelings about this. I would agree that it’s right to value human life more highly than that of animals, but the fact that humans can give consent and animals can’t gets to me. I also feel as though we should be able to find a better solution to this problem than putting animals in life-threatening situations. I’m optimistic that someday we’ll be able to use cell cultures and cultured organs to do testing instead of live animals.