228 votes
Accepted

Why does Watney’s notebook in The Martian have four holes?

I've reached out to the film's Prop Master and the film's Senior Graphics Artist who both kindly responded to my (more than slightly odd) email. I assume they won't mind my quoting verbatim. I don't ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
178 votes
Accepted

Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there?

I will begin this by stating that I am a PhD Student in potato post-harvest physiology and the sprouting of potatoes is an aspect that many people that work with this crop find very important. It is ...
Curtis Frederick's user avatar
80 votes
Accepted

What changes were made for the second edition of 'The Martian'?

Chapter 1: No major changes, but all the numericals have been made into words ("200" = "two hundred"), all L's have been changed to liters, all % signs changed to "percent&...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
70 votes
Accepted

In The Martian, how were the crew in the Hermes shielded from radiation?

It was handwaved. “In the book they have this really thin, light, flexible material that blocks all radiation,” says Andy Weir, author of the book The Martian on which the film was based. “There’s ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 225k
70 votes

Why didn't Mark Watney lose all of his water when the hab exploded?

This question on the Space Exploration Stack Exchange about what would happen if you had a pool on Mars and it was exposed to atmosphere has the answer you're looking for. In summary, the drop in ...
Cody's user avatar
  • 1,088
63 votes

Why did the soil go infertile after the hab depressurised?

Explained in the source novel. The farm is dead. With a complete loss of pressure, most of the water boiled off. Also, the temperature is well below freezing. Not even the bacteria in the soil can ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
58 votes

Are "The Expanse" and "The Martian" set in the same universe?

According to the authors, they are in the same universe. There is a tweet by the author of The Expanse series, James S. A. Corey1, where they, possibly half-jokingly, acknowledges the fact (click to ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 20.5k
56 votes

Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there?

From the book: I am one lucky son of a bitch they aren’t freeze-dried or mulched. Why did NASA send twelve whole potatoes, refrigerated but not frozen? And why send them along with us as in-...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 62.3k
51 votes

Why does Watney need an air day every five days or so on his trip to Schiaparelli?

Watney produces carbon dioxide Like most humans, Watney inhales oxygenated air and exhales carbon dioxide. The Atmospheric Regulator then stores this. From the novel: I thought about the ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
49 votes

In The Martian, how were the crew in the Hermes shielded from radiation?

He would die with that kind of protection. There were some inaccuracies in the book and the plot. But it was a great book anyway. That list of doom: 1. Atmosphere On a reddit Q&A, one fan ...
burcu's user avatar
  • 7,944
42 votes
Accepted

Was Mindy Park's ethnicity confirmed in the text of The Martian?

Mindy Park's ethnicity isn't described in the novel. Weir has subsequently stated that he personally thought that she was Korean-American but that the movie casting was perfectly fair and equitable ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
38 votes

What did Mark Watney type about his cussing?

In the source novel it was the text emoticon for breasts. [12:04] JPL: We’ll get botanists in to ask detailed questions and double-check your work. Your life is at stake, so we want to be sure. Sol ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
38 votes

In "The Martian", did the Hermes leave immediately or wait for awhile?

In the source novel we learn that it's standard operating procedure for the ship to leave orbit within 24 hours of dusting off. Presumably their low-consumption ion engines allow a straight shot back ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
31 votes

When Watney used the Ares IV MAV to ascend, he pulled 12 G's. But the crew used the MAV from Ares III to ascend, how come they didn't pass out?

The MAV had been modified Watney removed excess weight from the MAV in order to get it to go fast enough. In the first part of the movie, presumably it did not have to escape Mars's gravity: It ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
27 votes

Why didn't Mark Watney lose all of his water when the hab exploded?

Mark generated his own water, by burning Hydrazine (N2H4). In the film, this initially caused a minor explosion... I can't recall if the same thing happened in the book. Even if all the water he had ...
Mike Harris's user avatar
  • 1,476
25 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Hermes drop the supply probe on Mars?

They didn't have anything that could land on Mars. There was no way for them to drop off supplies to the surface. The resupply probe they got from their Earth fly-by. The original plan was they were ...
Jack B Nimble's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Why did the soil go infertile after the hab depressurised?

Mentioning the bacteria is just a side note. The main point is that he has no viable seeds left. Remember that, earlier in the book, he makes a point of mentioning that the potatoes he used as his ...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 2,405
24 votes

Why didn't Watney just go to the MAV IV, use the three years of supplies till the next mission arrived?

Novel: That was exactly his plan - his first course of action was immediate survival (water & food) Sol 7 So that leaves enough food to fee six people for fifty days. I'm just one guy so ...
NKCampbell's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

The Martian – what happened to all the video log recordings?

Actually, as I found in this answer here, and from Valorum's answer to this question. People surrounding this book and film can be pretty responsive to emails. So I emailed Andy Weir (I hope you don't ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
20 votes

Why does Watney’s notebook in The Martian have four holes?

The Martian was filmed in Hungary and Microsoft lists A4 as the default paper size for that country in its applications adding weight to the suggestion that it was just cheap to go and buy some ...
WARPed1701D's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

In this scene from the novel, 'The Martian', by Andy Weir, how does Mark Watney store hydrogen made from water in the tank?

The first edition of the book supports the "typo" theory. In this edition, it's clear that it's the trailer airlock, not the rover airlock. This section looks like it was pretty heavily ...
SCappella's user avatar
  • 316
19 votes

Why Sol 18 instead of Sol 6?

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 ...
Paulie_D's user avatar
  • 23k
18 votes

Why didn't Hermes drop the supply probe on Mars?

This was addressed more fully in the film's source novel. In short, the bigwigs at NASA wanted to go with your idea, dropping the supply payload near Watney and hoping that he's able to survive until ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
17 votes
Accepted

Is there any "in universe" link between Matt Damon's character in Interstellar and The Martian?

No Firstly, The Martian was originally a novel released chapter by chapter by author Andy Weir on his website and later edited and published as a novel. The novel inspired a film starring Matt Damon. ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
15 votes

What did the crew do for 533 days without use of most of the living quarters in the Martian movie?

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....
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
14 votes

Was Mindy Park's ethnicity confirmed in the text of The Martian?

A simple search through a PDF of "The Martian" shows there is no reference to Korea, Korean, black hair, eye shape, or her being asian in any capacity.
Durakken's user avatar
  • 4,943
14 votes

Problem with the film "The Martian"

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 ...
burcu's user avatar
  • 7,944
13 votes

What programming language is used in The Martian?

The fragment you see in the image is indeed a piece of PVS, written by Anthony Narkawicz and Cesar Munoz, both of NASA Langley, Va, USA. However, it is not a programming language, but instead an ...
David Lester's user avatar
13 votes

In Andy Weir's The Martian, how did each astronaut plan to commit suicide?

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.” ... “...
qazmlpok's user avatar
  • 9,790
12 votes
Accepted

Why did Dr. Chris Beck travel around the exterior of the Hermes?

The film (and the screenplay) don't elaborate on this, but the book does: Beck had to crawl on the hull because when they blew the tip of Hermes, they blew one of the doors, and you need two doors to ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 20.5k

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