Tag Archives: The Martian

Will The Martian Have a Message?

The Martian is out, and I’m looking forward to seeing it tomorrow with my nephews here in Florida.  So far the reviews seem uniformly excellent, with the exception of a few claiming that the “geek factor” was too toned down (I’m OK with that, especially if it expands the appeal).

The Martian PosterAs a human spaceflight advocate and Mars enthusiast, my bigger concern is the lasting effect of this movie in stirring public support for Humans-to-Mars, hoping that it will be a positive catalyst.  I had those hopes over a decade ago with Mission to Mars and Red Planet.

I certainly expect this to be better than both of those, but I’m curious what The Martian movie will have to say about why we should go there and why we should stay.  Will the movie leave viewers with a message other than “Bring him home”?  After all, in many ways the story is similar to that of Red Planet, which left us with the less than inspiring line, “F*** this planet!”

I’ll find out tomorrow.  In the meantime, at least it is inspiring some pro-space commentary.

Stuck On Mars With Nothing But Disco

A good column on Andy Weir and The MartianStuck on Mars with nothing but disco: Ars talks with The Martian’s Andy Weir.

What I found surprising was that he actually never worked for NASA – I apparently misread other accounts of his background. I was also astonished by just how much detailed work he put in to calculating orbits and ECLSS functions and such. Sure, it’s clear in the writing that he worked out the math, but when he explains just what went into it behind the scenes his efforts sound like a real design project, the nature of work we did during the proposal phase(s) and initial post-ATP period on Orion.

Reading this reminded me that I need to re-read the book and write up the amusing coincidental points of similarity with In the Shadow of Ares. The most obvious one: disaster striking the third mission of the Ares Project. I’m guessing Weir also concluded that the “first landing” sub-genre is a bit overdone and decided like we did to join the fictional program in medias res.