The Martian

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. The real mistake is later in the scene during a sand storm the plastic flops in and out. The plastic would remain tautly inflated, since the inside pressure is much greater than outside, and since the HAB is airtight the storm would have no equalizing effect to cause the plastic to be sucked inward.

Factual error: Lewis replaces Beck on the EVA to rescue Watney. On a NASA mission, each crewman is a specialist in several areas. While all of the crew have trained on EVA, Beck is the specialist for Ares III meaning he practiced EVA protocol and maneuvers 2-3 times as much as any other crew member. So while it is a nice dramatic moment for Lewis to replace him, a real mission commander would trust the best trained personnel to do their jobs, as she is actually lowering the chances of success by replacing Beck.

Grumpy Scot

Factual error: When Commander Lewis in the tethered MMU jet-pack-chair is catching Mark Watney flying Iron-Man style via air jets from the hole in his glove, Mark misses Lewis' hand and grabs the tether, with some angular velocity relative to Lewis. As Lewis pulls the tether hand-over-hand to bring Mark closer, the angular momentum should spin them faster and faster like ice skaters pulling their arms in or Argentinian bolas (weighted balls connected by a cord) winding faster and faster around a target. Only when solid contact is made would Lewis' MMU be able to counteract the spin. The expected rotational speed-up effect is not seen.

More mistakes in The Martian


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.

Blathrop

Mark Watney: I don't want to come off as arrogant here, but I'm the best botanist on the planet.

Mark Watney: Fuck you, Mars.

Mark Watney: I admit it's fatally dangerous, but I'd get to fly around like Iron Man.

More quotes from The Martian


Question: Exactly how long has Mark Watney been alone on Mars during the course of the movie?

Chosen answer: In the book, he's stranded on sol 6, and leaves on sol 549, making it 543 sols (554 days). In the movie, he's stranded on Sol 18 and leaves on sol 561, making it 542 sols.

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?

Chosen answer: Yes, it is very risky unless the new Ares MAV is in an area with much calmer weather patterns.

Question: Why would NASA decide to send a botanist on a mission to Mars? A planet where no plants can grow.

Chosen answer: Part of his job, aside from also being a mechanical engineer, was to use soil taken from Earth to Mars, mix it with Martian soil then grow seeds in it to see how Martian soil is for growing crops. This would be preparing for a longer term mission where growing full crops to feed the crew would be part of the mission.

Answer: Botanists going to mars can study the ground and the dirt so they could make life on mars. Botanists are also helpful due to oxygen in space, he grows plants on the spacecraft for the oxygen that they give off.

More questions and answers from The Martian


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