In the movie, they caused a deliberate breach in the airlock so the Hermes can decelerate. We see that the living quarters and the kitchen werer depressurized and exposed to the cold vacuum of space. And I'm guessing most of the ship became uninhabitable. What did they do for 533 days, stay in the bridge? Was repairing the damage possible?


1 Answer 1


The ship repressurized

It has spare air

In the book, we see that Hermes was capable of recovering from being depressurized:

Once Beck and I got to his quarters, we waited for the ship to repressurize. Hermes had enough spare air to refill the ship two more times if needed.

The Martian

The crew had additional air on hand, which they were able to use to recover their losses.

They only blew up one door

As this answer on Quora notes, there were two parts to the airlock, only one of which was breached. The other was still intact, and could continue to protect the ship from the vacuum.

“We're going to have to literally blow up one of the doors, ” Lewis explained. “I'd rather we kill the inner one. I want the outer door unharmed so we keep our smooth aerobraking shape.”

The Martian

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Here we see the bomb attached to the inner door of the airlock. The outer door is open to space.

Note that they only blew up one of the doors. They could still seal the outer one, and then repressurize the ship with the spare air on hand.

The same is true in the film. The outer door is left intact, while only the inner one is damaged:


LEWIS: Beck -- leave your suit on. Meet Johanssen at Airlock 1. We’ll open the outer door. I need you to place the charge on the inner door....

INT. HERMES - AIRLOCK 2 - SPACE LEWIS (OVER COMMS) ...and climb back to Airlock 2 along the hull.

BECK: Copy. On my way.

Indeed, we see that the crew took particular effort to avoid damaging the outer door:

“One problem, ” Lewis said. “I want the outer door locked in the fully open position with the mechanical stopper in place to keep it from being trashed by the decompress.”

The Martian

And they closed it once they were finished. Both in the novel:

They floated in to the airlock, and Vogel grabbed them. Beck and Watney both reached for handholds on the wall as Vogel worked his way around them and closed the outer door.

The Martian

And in the film:

MARTINEZ, JOHANSSEN, and VOGEL race down from the bridge to meet them. They’re not in suits -- they have to wait for the outer airlock to close. THROUGH THE OBSERVATION WINDOWS: they see Lewis and Mark touch down in the airlock. The outer airlock closes -- WHOOSH -- Mark collapses, exhausted. The inner airlock opens. Martinez, Johanssen, and Vogel race into the room, grab Mark. Supporting him. Holding him.

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