Deliberate mistake: The atmosphere on Mars is only 1% as dense of that as Earth, so 175kph windstorms would feel like a light breeze. They would have very little effect on the astronauts or MAV. The writers of the book and the film were aware of this, it was a small cheat to let the rest of the story unfold.
Factual error: After Watney patches the blow out of one of the HAB's airlocks with plastic sheeting, tie down straps, and duct tape, he pressurizes the HAB and the plastic sheeting pushes out like an inflated balloon. Assuming the plastic and duct tape would hold this is correct, however the plastic would be much more taut given the pressure difference inside and outside.
Trivia: The secret project created to use the Hermes to return to Mars to rescue Watney was called Project Elrond, a reference from the Lord of the Rings (also used in the original book of The Martian). Mitch Henderson, played by Sean Bean, was an attendee at the Project Elrond meeting. Sean Bean also played Boromir, who was an attendee at the Council of Elrond in the LOTR movie.
Question: If the MAV could be blown over by a storm of sufficient force, wasn't it very risky dropping the Ares IV Mav five years in advance of the mission?
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