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I understand that the movie had to change and remove some things from the book in order to make it interesting and well paced and visually nice to look at, for example cutting out the sandstorm and the pathfinder shorting out and the flying around like Ironman at the end.

However, I don't understand why they changed the day they scrubbed the mission from Sol 6 in the book to Sol 18 in the movie?

This change doesn't impact the story in a way that I noticed, and it probably makes it harder for the creators of the movie, as I imagine they'd have to change all the numbers and dates used in the book.

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  • The film didn't bother with numbers at all, so I'm unsure whether this change actually caused any problems. Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 8:49

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Updated with author quote/confirmation*

*From comment provided by Gallifreyan

DailyBeast.com

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.


Reddit comment.

Also Quora (thanks to Gallifreian)

...apparently Ridley Scott changed the abort from Sol 6 to Sol 18, because he didn't think that six people would generate enough solid waste in six days to be believable for Mark's crops.


I imagine they'd have to change all the numbers and figures used in the book.

Apparently, they did...(same Reddit source).

If you've read the book, then you know that there are certain key dates, right? Mission abort on Sol 6, Hab breach on Sol 119, departure for Schiaparelli on Sol 449, rendezvous with Hermes on Sol 549.

But apparently Ridley Scott changed the abort from Sol 6 to Sol 18, because he didn't think that six people would generate enough solid waste in six days to be believable for Mark's crops. That throws off everything, right?

I just realized it doesn't.

The teaser trailer includes a shot of Mark departing the Hab for the last time here; the last date he writes down is Sol 461. The rendezvous takes place on Sol 561.

Essentially: if you add 12 sols to each time-critical event after the abort, they line up perfectly with the timeline in the book, which was determined by Andy Weir's orbital calculations.

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    That's...not entirely unreasonable.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 12:37
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    Ridley's the director...he can make whatever changes he wants pretty much. If the only change to Drew's script is adding 12 to every Sol number...it's a pretty small one.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 12:52
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    Shooting script - s3.foxfilm.com/foxmovies/dev/films/104/assets/…
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 12:55
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    @HorusKol Now you are talking about real-life scenarios which isn't really relevant as such.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 14:05
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    This answer and this link provide a quote from Andy Weir, directly on-topic (see the part about 'inaccuracies'). You can basically delete your whole answer and post that quote alone :D Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 18:33

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