I have a vague memory of astronaut Johanssen having brought heroin on board as her 'preferred method' of suicide... but haven't been able to find this described in the book. Any help greatly appreciated!


2 Answers 2


Valorum's answer covers The Martian. The confusion comes from Project Hail Mary, also by Andy Weir.

I set the paper aside. “Ilyukhina? How about you?”

She set her beer down. “I want heroin.”


“Heroin.” She shrugged. “I have been good girl all my life. No drugs. Limited sex. I want to experience massive pleasure before I die. People die from heroin all the time. Must be very nice.”

I rubbed my temples. “You want to die…from a heroin overdose?”


The astronauts in The Martian do indeed intend to kill themselves, but only by "taking pills". There's no mention in the book or the film of heroin, so you've likely conflated that with another work.

They picked me to survive. I’m youngest. I have the skills necessary to get home alive. And I’m the smallest and need the least food.” “What happens if the probe fails, Beth?” her father asked.

“Everyone would die but me,” she said. “They’d all take pills and die.

Presumably they'd overdose on the same sort of potent sleeping pills that Watney took later in the book, noting that real-world space missions don't carry suicide pills

  • I always assumed they were cyanide pills or some sort of equivalent, deliberately provided just in case a situation came up such that one or more of them needed a 'humane' death.
    – Tronman
    Jul 25, 2023 at 22:40
  • 1
    @Tronman - See update.
    – Valorum
    Jul 26, 2023 at 7:12
  • In the book, Watney had planned on taking a lethal dose of Morphine if there was no way out.
    – RedBaron
    Jul 26, 2023 at 10:52

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