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Review: Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars

Tags: mars review lived

Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth by Kate Greene
My rating: (3.5 / 5)


In 2013, Kate Greene moved to Mars. That is, along with five fellow crew members, she embarked on NASA’s first HI-SEAS mission, a simulated Martian environment located on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawai’i. For four months she lived, worked, and slept in an isolated geodesic dome, conducting a sleep study on her crew mates and gaining incredible insight into human behavior in tight quarters, as well as the nature of boredom, dreams, and isolation that arise amidst the promise of scientific progress and glory.


[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Part memoir, part essays, this book chronicles loosely the months the author spent in a simulated Mars environment recreated as best as possible in Hawai’i.

It’s not so much an exact chronological memoir, than a series of musings and thoughts about loneliness, learning to live in limited space with other people, relationships (inside and outside of the dome), personal reflections… which was both a good and a bad thing as far as I was concerned.

I absolutely loved the parts concerning the mission, its pitfalls and its successes, the people that worked on it. I also found fascinating some of the reflexions, especially when it came to the usual “Earthian” habits (checking social media, instant communication with our loved ones…) getting lost after weeks of isolation. For a real Mars mission would definitely leave its astronauts isolated in that regard as in many others.

I admit I was less interested, though, when reflexions went along other lines than the mission’s. It wasn’t uninteresting per se, but it wasn’t what I came for, so to speak. Had I been in a different frame of mind, perhaps I would’ve enjoyed those more.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars

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Review: Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars


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