Mission to Mars

Factual error: Gary Sinise looks at a computer screen with a short section (about two full twists) of DNA on it and proclaims that "This DNA looks human." He could have been looking at DNA from any single-celled organism and it would have looked just as human as what he was looking at. All mammals have 90+ percent of their DNA in common, he would have to have sequenced the entire DNA strand (something like 3 billion pairs of nucleotides) to identify it as human, something that would be totally beyond the capacity of anything but a well-equipped genetics lab, something they show no sign of having.

Factual error: The crew of the rescue mission abandon ship after the engines explode. They then rendezvous with a supply module that's already been in Martian orbit. The problem is that the engines exploded just as they were attempting an orbital transfer a from solar orbit to a Martian orbit. As they were unable to make the necessary burns to slow down and correct their angle to complete the transfer, they wouldn't stay in the vicinity of Mars for very long at all.

Factual error: Their complete and utter disregard for the most basic scientific facts in this movie is amazing. It's already been said that Gary Sinise couldn't possibly have recognised the DNA sequence as human (that segment may have been enough to produce a single protein common to any lifeform). The thing that gets me is that he recognises that the DNA is missing a couple of "chromosomes" to complete it. DNA is made of units called nucleotides (remember A,T,C,& G?); chromosomes are formed by huge strings of DNA wound together (not the other way around). You don't need a degree in Biology to know this, you just need to have stayed awake in high school.

Factual error: The atmosphere pressure of Mars is 0.07 Bar, Earth is 1 Bar, about 14 times greater. Yet the plastic covering of the greenhouse is shown flapping with the outside breeze. With the inside of the greenhouse having an Earth-like environment its plastic covering would have been inflated like a balloon against the weaker Mars atmosphere.

Factual error: The young guy builds the "woman of his dreams" with M&M's in that space ship. The double-helix rotates around its own axis, though it wouldn't do so - even in zero gravity.

Plot hole: When Tim Robbins is floating away in space his wife could have easily saved him. She could go out a little further, use the grappler to catch her husband, then use the fuel she has remaining to halt their acceleration towards the planet and return them partway to the necessary orbital altitude/velocity to rendezvous with the resupply module. Then, Gary Sinise could come out partway to them using his thrusters, Connie could shoot the grappler out to him, and he could reel both Connie and Tim Robbins back in to the resupply module.

Factual error: There are scenes showing the astronauts battling against a fierce Martian wind. In fact the atmosphere is so pathetically thin on Mars that even a 200mph wind would feel like nothing more than a gentle breeze.

Continuity mistake: The computer terminal used by Don Cheadle's character has a grey cable connected but the connector appears damaged - twisted out of alignment. A few seconds later the same cable appears connected normally then, a few seconds after that, it is damaged again. (01:13:00)

Continuity mistake: At the moment where you can see Gary Sinise is standing in the white surroundings filling up with water (he's going to be drowned), you can see the camera team reflected in the little mirror.

Continuity mistake: When the three astronauts move from the "white room" into the viewing room, they all take their helmets off and carry them into the viewing room. They watch the whole 3D show while holding their helmets, but when the show ends, they are no longer holding them, and when the countdown starts, all three helmets can all be seen on the floor back in the white room. (01:26:40)

Factual error: Ship explodes. Crew evacuated to the REMO, but Tim Robbins slips from the REMO after attaching the lifeline. They tell his wife she has insufficient fuel to reach him. Velocity is determined by fuel, not distance. She could have used 25% of remaining fuel to reach him, 25% to arrest speed then 50% to get them both back to the REMO. It's not like a car - once in motion, you remain in motion.


Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: It's not saying that she has insufficient fuel to reach him. It's saying that she has insufficient fuel to reach him, arrest them both, and get back to the REMO before they are caught in the Martian gravity well.


I disagree. Had she not used thrust (wasted fuel) to stop and shoot a line (wasted time) she would have continued her velocity, arrested at rendezvous and could have saved him. They never inferred the decision was based on time, nor would that have been valid.


Continuity mistake: In the scene where they have first entered "the Face" they realize they can take off their helmets. Before they do so, you can see there are tubes going from the backpacks to the helmets, but when the view changes to an overhead shot, the tubes are nowhere to be found.


Factual error: The supply vehicle landed by a parachute as it is seen deployed on the ground. Mars has an atmosphere that is approximately 1% as dense as that of the Earth. The parachute shown is nowhere near large enough to slow down the landing. In fact, it is greatly smaller than a chute needed to land even in earth's atmosphere.

Continuity mistake: How could Gary Sinise see the reflection of Don Cheadle's hand in the water, when they first met in Mars? Don Cheadle was two or more steps behind his back, so it could never happen that way, unless Don was in the roof, jumping over Gary Sinise.

Factual error: When with the alien inside 'the face' and looking at the solar system, the solar system is rotating backwards or clockwise. Our solar system rotates counterclockwise.

Factual error: When the fuel leaks out of the fuel line, why does it freeze when it should turn to vapor? Liquid does not instantly turn to ice in a vacuum (big thermodynamics issue there), but does the exact opposite due to the lack of pressure.

Factual error: The ship is hit by micro-meteors, and a major fuel line is ruptured. Yet this loss of fuel goes completely unnoticed by the crew or by the computer. And the fuel is typically binary (fuel and oxidizer are separate), so a leak of one of the components wouldn't cause an explosion like that in space.

Factual error: When the micro-meteors penetrate the skin of the ship, the ship's computer starts failing, seemingly in time with the loss of atmosphere. Once the atmosphere loss is stopped, a simple reboot restores the computer to functionality, despite the damage.

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