First problem with the entire movie and the book plot:
Are there any glaring scientific inaccuracies in the book or movie?
The biggest one is the sandstorm at the beginning. It’s not realistic
Mars does get 150 km/h winds, but the atmosphere is so thin
that the inertia behind the wind is super gentle: it would feel like a
slight breeze. It couldn’t knock anything over or cause damage.
this when I wrote it but I decided, screw it—this is more exciting.
It’s a man-versus-nature story, and I wanted to make sure nature got
the first punch in. There are some things we now know are inaccurate
which we didn’t know when I wrote the book.
In the last six years
we’ve actually learned a lot about Mars. There’s a lot more water in
the soil than we suspected. Every cubic meter of soil contains about
35 litres of water as ice. So all Mark would’ve had to do was take the
sand and heat it up to boil the water out. No need to do the dangerous
Another issue that I kind of skirted is the
radiation in space. On earth we’re protected by the magnetosphere and
the thick atmosphere. But on the surface of Mars there’s a thin
atmosphere and no magnetosphere. It would be a very serious dose of
radiation for him to be on Mars for 500 days. The kind of dose where
you definitely get cancer.
I have two paragraphs in the book where I
was just like, everything is shielded somehow. Turns out there’s no
such thing as thin light flexible radiation shielding. It takes a
centimeter of lead or 10 cm of water or a full meter of rock to
protect you from galactic radiation. So I made up a fake material that
doesn’t really exist. I actually calculated the orbital trajectories
that they needed to take to get from Earth to Mars. That’s a real
thing that would work. But the movie changed how long the crew spent
on the planet for a funny reason.
In the book they left after sol six,
but in the movie they leave after sol 18. Ridley wanted Mark to stir a
nice big bucket of shit when he was creating the fertilizer for the
crops. Ridley said, after only six days of six people shitting that’s
36 packets. He wanted them to stay longer, so that the bucket of shit
could be full.
Says Andy Weir, the author of the book.
But if we are thinking in movie-verse, it was not just a simple storm. The storm was way too strong (and unexpected) for the mission and the equipment. They could leave immediately but they wait for Mark and the storm gets too strong for them to not surpass the tipping point.