Broadcast 1494 (Special Edition)

11 Jan 2011 Mary Roach
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Guest: Mary Roach. Topics: Her book "Stiff" and a discussion of human cadaver scientific testing and its history with human spaceflight. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Noted author Mary Roach returned to the show to discuss her book "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers." This book is available on the One Giant Leap Foundation Amazon Partners page at When you purchase the book through OGLF, Amazon contributes to The Space Show. During this one hour program with Ms. Roach, we not only talked about the scientific impact and usage of human cadavers, we talked about cadaver usage in the space program. Though limited, such research was used in Apollo capsule splashdown tests and in other areas. As you will hear, Mary, with her customary wit and humor, takes us through the various ways cadavers are used for scientific study and the impact these tests have had on safety that impacts all of us. Some of the chapters of Stiff that we focused on had to do with head research as well as what was learned from the TWA 800 plane accident. We were able to extrapolate much of this discussion to human spaceflight safety but as you will hear, for a variety of reasons, some of the safety studies, especially for race cars and automobile accidents don't transfer well to space because of need for severe restraint for safety which is not practical or possible for spaceflight passengers. One of the issues Mary told us about was the concept for how to return a body to Earth from Mars or another space location. Drawing on the Swedish burial system known as Promession to reduce the mass of the body, Mary described the plan on the show. You can read comments about this at Ms. Roach identified the system as the Body Back System. Our topics for tonight's show are seldom talked about let alone on a program primarily dealing with space issues. Despite this, the subject is interesting and has relevance for space issues. If you have questions or comments for Mary Roach, please post them on the blog URL above. You can email Mary through me at



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