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NASA Mars Movies

What Ridley Scott Has To Say About the Science In "The Martian" 163

An anonymous reader writes: Sciencemag has an interview with the people behind the movie The Martian. Director Ridley Scott, author Andy Weir, and Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science and an adviser on the film talk about the technology and the science in the movie. Scott says: "Almost immediately [after] I decided to do it, we started to have conversations with NASA about process, the habitats, the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), the suits and everything. And they sent us pictures, almost like photographs, of what they hoped it would all be. If there had been anything in [the screenplay] that actually was suspect—they are not shy—they would have said so."
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What Ridley Scott Has To Say About the Science In "The Martian"

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  • by kaiidth ( 104315 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @07:56AM (#50588459)

    Cute: at the start of TFA Ridley Scott provides the quote given above ('... if there had been anything suspect they would've said so'), which is kind of suspect in itself given that we know that 'The Martian' isn't technically flawless. Then later in TFA, NASA's director of planetary science cheerfully and honestly demonstrates exactly this by listing a bunch of things that were understood as being 'close but not exactly correct', including the Martian dust storm which sets up the entire story of the book. At which time Weir states that he 'deliberately sacrificed reality for drama with the dust storm'. At which point Scott pretty much demolishes his own earlier quote by saying, 'there's a bit of cheating here and there. Eventually they all say, well, you're making movies, so we’ll forgive you!'

    On the whole the article reads as though Weir and Green are on the same page throughout, including a shared understanding of the inconsistencies that did make it into the story; not so much Scott...

    • by Kkloe ( 2751395 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:30AM (#50588585)
      just because Nasa would point out things that are wrong it doesnt mean he must change things to reflect 100% reality, it is not a documentary it is a movie that also have the job to capture the peoples interest, and by people I mean the majority of us and not just some nitpickers
      • by kaiidth ( 104315 )

        Oh I completely agree. Personally I enjoyed the book, dust storms and all. I just think it's funny that everybody's aware from start to finish that the science isn't perfect, yet Ridley starts off by suggesting the opposite and ends up agreeing with them.

      • It's true. Like, I enjoyed your post even though you committed the unforgivable (if common) sin of spelling it "Nasa" even though you know better.
    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @10:31AM (#50589219)
      Well this is the same director who brought us Prometheus so science is probably not his thing.
      • I'll be happy if the story is at least consistent with itself for the duration of the movie. That was what tripped up Prometheus the most. I can forgive a lot in the name of "suspension of disbelief", but not the inane plot, tepid writing and insane actions of apparent morons picked up at a random streetcorner to help out on a billion-dollar costing expedition.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Where's the problem with the science in Prometheus? The plot, acting, and such, sure. But the "science" would be the mapping drones, the weapons, the technical details. The snakes and bursters weren't science. Panspermia is science. Is that what you object to?
        • Yeah, I'm wondering about this too. The characters were definitely questionable: the mapping guy who gets lost, the biologist guy who gets killed by an alien lifeform he tries to pick up, etc. But I didn't see anything wrong with the science really. Just like the other two "Alien" movies, the ships weren't even FTL, the biggest stretch is hyper-sleep but there's every indication that that's technically possible, we just haven't quite figured it out yet.

          • The short list: you can't carbon date something on a different world where the process of creating carbon 14 and propagating it is different. Shaw declares Engineers to be "a match" to humans with out explaining what that means.The "star map" is a collection of 6 point without reference to direction. The Med Pod staples Shaw's skin after surgery without suturing the underlying tissue or healing her in any other way.
          • You can't get a "star map" from 6 random points on a drawing. There's not enough detail in 6 points to tell anything.
          • The alien head was carbon dated to 2000 years. You cannot carbon date on a different world because you cannot be sure the carbon ratios as well as the conditions are the same. Thus the calibrations will be off. This is the reason the "carbon reservoir" effect means dating life at the bottom of the ocean is problematic.
          • The Engineers are physically very different from humans. A genetic "match
          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            I could make a star map with 6 random points on a drawing. http://earthsky.org/tonight/us... [earthsky.org] Well, that's 8 stars, but trim two off the dipper handle and you have a "star map" to Polaris. People only see the sky in 2 dimensions, and then, only the visible stars. So using 6 in a pattern found only once in the sky, with the finger pointed at the one you are supposed to go to would work just fine.

            Of course there's the plot hole of the Engineers pointing them to a WMD manufacturing site where they weren't e
            • in your "star map" that it is implied that you want Polaris as it is by itself . The 6 points of the Prometheus map do not point to anything in particular. Also in a clear night sky you can probably see thousands of stars so the pattern means nothing. Also you don't know which direction the original painting occurred in terms of general direction.

              In the film that Shaw declares it "a match to humans". That's what she said. And the graphics implied a 100% match. What is a "match"? If she's said 99.5% match fo

    • Do they have dust storms at all? I know the density of the Martian atmosphere is minuscule, but if it were carrying dust particles the overall momentum transferred to the ship could be at least measurable.

    • by Compuser ( 14899 )

      I have seen a preview they did here locally. First, this is an awesome movie. It is not claustrophobic like Gravity. It moves fast and is fun. Imagine McGuyver in Space. It is just about as fun and certainly more realistic. Sure, there are things that rub you the wrong way after the movie but nothing that irked me instantly. When they say this movie is accurate, they mean that you do buy into the McGuyvering while it is going on. Even a PhD like me can enjoy this movie.
      Unlike for instance the recent Maze Ru

  • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @07:56AM (#50588461) Homepage

    It is factually inaccurate. For one, last I checked this Matt Damon guy is an actor, not an astronaut. For the life of my I cannot believe NASA let that one go by!!!

    Also I noticed that they were using things manufactured before 2015, which this being a movie about the future, likely they would have at least one item manufactured after this date. At this point I couldn't take it any longer and I had to walk out.

  • He might be good at pointing a camera but he's never seemed too concerned about his movies having scientific or historic accuracy. Or even internal consistency for that matter.
    • wait

      you mean there wasn't a general who became a slave, a slave who became a gladiator, a gladiator who defied an empire?

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Historical fiction is fine. But the actual history that the story is framed within shouldn't be an afterthought or abused out of all recognition in order to contain the story.

        With regard to Gladiator some of the mistakes are simply lazy (stating Rome was founded as a republic etc.) and there are some lengthy critiques about the movie from historians. Some minor changes to the script would have fixed a lot of these errors, and in other cases the plot or action could have been modified without detrimentally

  • Why all the hype these past few days about the science in The Martian? It's a friggin' SciFi movie, for gods sake. You don't see this crap about the science in the new Star Wars movie, so why this one?

    I'll admit I haven't seen the move or read the book, but where in hell does he get the seeds and fertilizer to grow plants in Martian soil? From what I gather from the trailers, this wasn't a colonization mission, so why, if they sent seeds and fertilizer, did they send seeds and fertilizer?

    • The point is that its science orientated with a story wrapped around it - sure, the science needs to be fudged to allow for the story, but its basically one bit of science after another. Very much like a science based MacGuyver...

    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:21AM (#50588551) Journal
      Clearly, so the stranded astronaut could develop an oxygen creating biosphere, an important play on the second act if he is to live long enough for the rescue mission to arrive.

      Science is good, even when it is delivered in the cinema, where it is likely to garner some youthful adherents.

      Who among you was not inspired in youth by some not-too-realistic science fiction movie?

      • In the book O2 wasn't an issue, they used a Zirconia Electrolysis Cell to strip the carbon atoms off CO2. The issue was food.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:21AM (#50588553)

      Gravity did that as a marketing angle and it worked, despite Sandra Bullock floating vast distances from one spaceship to another.

      Interstellar then ramped it up a notch, even with the ridiculous blight that breaths nitrogen which somehow steals all the oxygen.... and if you can build a spaceship that isn't contaminated with blight ridden air, why do you need to launch it into space at all? And that grunt sound he makes as he goes past the event horizon.... to remind you that gravity is real strong here.... seriously!??

      So now all movies have to claim to be scientifically accurate.

      BTW, if you ever want to see a scifi movie Sunshine from 2007 is far more scientific than any of these, and get past the 'Golden Girls" style crappy title and its a real gem of a movie.

      • BTW, if you ever want to see a scifi movie Sunshine from 2007 is far more scientific than any of these,

        Uhhh ... restarting the sun with a nuclear bomb?

      • Kip Thorne wrote a book "The Science of Interstellar". In his opinion, there's nothing in the movie that we definitely know to be impossible. There's a lot of stuff that looks extremely unlikely (like that blight).

        It's not a bad book. Thorne is pretty good at writing mostly understandable things about General Relativity.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:26AM (#50588571)

      From what I gather from the trailers, this wasn't a colonization mission, so why, if they sent seeds and fertilizer, did they send seeds and fertilizer?

      This is neatly covered in the plot. The crops he grows are potatoes, grown from supplies sent along for preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. (Most of the meals are preserved packets with no viable seeds, but the mission planners thought it would be psychologically beneficial for them to prepare a meal from raw ingredients for a special occasion.) The growth medium is a few handfuls of proper soil, sent along for an experiment to test the growth of (inedible) plants in Martian gravity, which supply the necessary soil bacteria; a whole lot of Martian dust for structure and minerals; water synthesised from leftover rocket fuel; and his own shit, generated while he's still living off the leftover meal packets.

      There are technical inaccuracies in the book (and presumably the movie), but this isn't one of them. Okay, there is one inaccuracy here: he'd have to rinse the Martian soil to rid it of perchlorates, which isn't mentioned in the book.

      And this is why there's so much hype about it. It's close enough to reality that I learn a bit of science by reading it. And even when it's wrong, I learn a bit more science by reading about why it's wrong. Star Wars doesn't do anything like that.

      • Don't know why parent is modded to 0. That's exactly what happened in the first 60ish pages of the book.

        The title character specializes in mechanical engineering and botany, and so should know the necessary science. He starts with whole potatoes, cuts them into pieces with at least 2 eyes each, plants the pieces, and figures he can live off of meal packets (apparently only eating 3/4 of a packet at a time, except on days with a lot of caloric expenditure) long enough to go through enough grow/replant cycles

    • by rjforster ( 2130 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:33AM (#50588593) Journal

      did they send seeds and fertilizer?

      Naw. For the fertilizer he just pulled it out of his ASStronaut

    • Gravity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @08:35AM (#50588605)

      People didn't expect Gravity to do as well as it did. This paved the way for Interstellar and The Martian. There is a big market for these kinds of movies that was untapped for quite a while, and its finally getting quite a few good developments.

      While its just a movie, and a lot of it is drama oriented, a key in all these movies is that they limit their plot choices via science to some extent. A lot of recent sci-fi movies decided to use science as a dues ex to do whatever the hell they wanted instead, which removes the focus from the science entirely and turns it into just an action movie in space. Its a very different approach that produces very different results, and in my opinion, good results. I like movies that make you think.

      • Are you fucking kidding me?

        Interstellar and Gravity are some of the most insulting things I've ever seen. The only thing they should make you think is "who the fuck has the balls to claim this is even remotely accurate?" Taking a few physics concepts and badly shoving them in a drama does not a 'scientifically accurate movie' make.

        But I guess you're right, there is a big market for movies that pretend to be scientifically accurate, so the mentally average can pretend that they value scientific accuracy and

        • So I guess 2001 is insulting too, because of the crazy alien wormhole shit at the end? Contact too then, amirite? Nothing belongs in sci-fi unless it's 100% realistic, got it.

          The "fi" in sci-fi is for FICTION.

          And you should calm the fuck down. Seriously. I mean ranting about about how these movies make the "mentally average" feel superior? WTF dude.

          • You're missing the point. I have no problem with Star Trek science. They've got warp engines, phasers, and all sorts of other stuff that we've got no idea how to build. That's fine. That's part of the hypothetical background. The shows and movies aren't about phasers, they're about what people do in a Universe where those things exist.

            Interstellar (I didn't see Gravity) was billed as scientifically accurate, with the movie being partly about the science (better be, the plot wasn't all that good). W

          • So I guess 2001 is insulting too, because of the crazy alien wormhole shit at the end?

            1. 2001 would have been much better without it. It is enigmatic, but ends up being mainly boring and confusing.
            2. 2001 didn't bill itself as scientifically accurate.
            3. The wormhole bit wasn't put in there in a way subservient to some ultra Hollywood cliche of 'hang on!' or to enable some shitty love story.

            2 and 3 are why Gravity and Interstellar are so insulting. A scientifically accurate tidal wave that happens to arrive at the exact time at which our hero scientists need to get the fuck out (which our hig

        • Re: Gravity (Score:4, Interesting)

          by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @12:49PM (#50590321)

          Gravity introduced the average Joe to the concept and danger of space debris, and reintroduced the fact that there is no sound in space. This along with simple things like how momentum works in space with things as simple as a spinning astronaut, while finding a way to make it entertaining. Interstellar, while having a lot more of the fi part of sci-fi, focused heavily how theory might apply in practice, like on relativity and tesseracts and how other planets might look, while also addressing the thought of some that we need to diversify our species survival by expanding into space.

          If you have to do significant research to understand a concept before seeing a movie, the movie failed. If a movie is so dry and dull that it lacks viewership, it fails. These two movies provided clear communication of some science concepts without being a lecture, and are amazing examples of great communication in sci-fi. They are sci-fi with light true science bases that touched a large audience and made them think while entertaining them. I think this is a wonderful thing. It's much better for the minds than sci-fantasy stuff like star wars.

          • This along with simple things like how momentum works in space

            Especially that part where they spend 30 minutes bumping up their deltaV towing each other to the station via jetpack, then manage to not get splatted on impact when they obviously didn't reverse thrust (as seen by the fact that the guy doing the towing was always in front) at any point during the entire trip.

            • Or, having just spent forever showing how you'll keep going in a straight line (ignoring curvature from gravity, here) until something pulls you, they get to the station, manage to catch on... and have this whole painfully cliché "I'm slipping! I can't hold on!" "Don't let go! I'll never let you go!" "Fine, if you won't, I will!" [Unclips and flies away] scene. Um, what the fuck? You were, more or less, at rest relative to the station (and each other). What was pulling you? How was it strong enough tha

          • Gravity introduced the average Joe to the concept and danger of space debris, and reintroduced the fact that there is no sound in space.

            And it introduced them to it in a completely retarded Hollywood way, whilst simultaneously making all scientists look like cowboys and bumbling idiots, and introducing tons of misunderstandings of how space works ("Yeah, let me just use my fucking jetpack to scoot over to the space station next door. TWICE.").
            I'm willing to bet that if you present a control group and a group that was forced to watch both movies with questions concerning the science of space, the first group would make fewer mistakes because

        • Interstellar and Gravity are some of the most insulting things I've ever seen.

          This is about how mad I get when a movie takes place in Las Vegas, and someone is driving down the strip Northbound past The Bellagio, and in the next cut they're driving Southbound past The Stratosphere.

          It's just a movie. Chill. No one ever claimed either of those movies was 100% scientifically accurate, and plot rules all when it comes to fiction. If you need to (and it sounds like you really really need to), just pretend that all movies (not just sci-fi) take place in a parallel universe where everythi

          • It's just a movie. Chill. No one ever claimed either of those movies was 100% scientifically accurate, and plot rules all when it comes to fiction. If you need to (and it sounds like you really really need to)

            I don't. Stop defending mediocre crap, because that is exactly the attitude that is 100% opposite of what science is all about and the culture that steers people away from it. Science is about critically looking at everything, and being thorough and rigorous.

            Imagine all the different types of people on this planet and then decide which groups of people are least likely to utter the phrase "It's just a movie. Chill."
            It's a small step away from "Don't be such a geek/nerd/grammar nazi."

            Anyway, the plots of bot

            • It's just a movie. Chill. No one ever claimed either of those movies was 100% scientifically accurate, and plot rules all when it comes to fiction. If you need to (and it sounds like you really really need to)

              I don't. Stop defending mediocre crap, because that is exactly the attitude that is 100% opposite of what science is all about and the culture that steers people away from it. Science is about critically looking at everything, and being thorough and rigorous.

              Imagine all the different types of people on this planet and then decide which groups of people are least likely to utter the phrase "It's just a movie. Chill." It's a small step away from "Don't be such a geek/nerd/grammar nazi."

              Anyway, the plots of both Gravity and Interstellar were just terrible and effectively extremely shallow. Honestly, what wisdom or profound thought have they imbued us with? Watch Moon (2009) instead, it is a million times better on almost every level.

              It's mediocre crap to you because you're closed-minded. Everything has to conform to your standards. Just enjoy a film for what it is: fiction. If you can't do that, then don't watch them and then complain about them. Just makes you look like an idiot.

              No one has been steered away from science because of fiction. Not one of these films has ever made anyone think, "Hmmm. Maybe I'll change my major from Physics to French Military History because the science in that film sucked." You're just being ridiculous.

              • It's mediocre crap to you because you're closed-minded.

                That's not how that works. Things can be objectively mediocre and that is what Gravity and Interstellar can be proven to be (outside of the special effects and amount of money involved).

                Everything has to conform to your standards.

                Strawman. I never said that. Movies don't have to conform to my standards, but I will judge them by my standards.

                Just enjoy a film for what it is: fiction.

                The stories my 10-year old nephew comes up with are also fiction. And they are also crap.
                Ironically they are ultimately more enjoyable than Gravity or Interstellar, because he isn't claiming that they are scientif

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Gravity was not a Science Fiction movie, unless you think the genre is "anything with space suits and explosions". Gravity was a period-piece disaster movie. Space shuttles are something from the past, after all. It was more "fiction" than Apollo 13 was, of course, but that one wasn't SF either.

        Yes, movies about rockets and space can be historical dramas now. Welcome to the 21st century.

    • Why all the hype these past few days about the science in The Martian? It's a friggin' SciFi movie, for gods sake. You don't see this crap about the science in the new Star Wars movie, so why this one?

      I'll admit I haven't seen the move or read the book, but where in hell does he get the seeds and fertilizer to grow plants in Martian soil? From what I gather from the trailers, this wasn't a colonization mission, so why, if they sent seeds and fertilizer, did they send seeds and fertilizer?

      Star War is space opera, basically something in the Buck Rogers space cowboy or space samurai genre. The Martian is supposed to be hard sci-fi. The market for the two are different.

      The seeds could be part of a long-term experiment to test the viability of growing food crops in Mars, so that shouldn't be too surprising. Similar experiments are already being performed in the ISS.

      • http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

        The "seeds" are well documented in the book, and likely exactly the same in the movie. It was plausible, and possible.

      • 100% correct on Star Wars being a space opera. In point of fact, Star Wars was created because George Lucas had been turned down on making a Flash Gordan movie. I found the prequel trilogy to be somewhat more palatable when viewed in that frame. I think the first of the prequel movies at least was really more of what Lucas wanted to do, but that special effects and CGI weren't up for.

    • Hard sci-fi vs soft sci-fi.

      This is one of those. Star Wars is the other.

    • by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @09:38AM (#50588909)
      The hype is because the book on which the film is based is very good and apparently the director - this time - is actually making a movie based on the book rather than simply copy the name of the book and taking from his ass a completely different story.
    • by dabadab ( 126782 )

      I'll admit I haven't seen the move or read the book, but where in hell does he get the seeds and fertilizer to grow plants in Martian soil?

      There is a plausible explanation in the book for this (the mission had neither fertilizer nor seeds as such). My recommendation is to read a book - it's not that long and quite enjoyable.

    • Read the book. It's all quite plausible. They had a handful of real potatoes for Thanksgiving, and he had brought along soil bacteria for experiments related to growing stuff on Mars (Watney is a botanist and mech e).

      It is a great, great book, and I'm very much looking forward to the movie.

    • by idji ( 984038 )
      if I told you where the seeds and fertilizer came from then i would be spoiling the story - three times. But I will say that the story does describe adequately where the seeds came from, where the living soil came from and where the fertilizer came from. Hint: Andy Weir spent ages using his constant acceleration (2mm/s/s) orbital software to find a date in the future when the the 31 day mission would be on Mars during Thanksgiving day.....
    • He was the botanist - so he had botanical samples. So they could create a longstanding habitat on Mars. That, at least is plausible. Other parts, no so much.

      But it was a modestly enjoyable read (didn't like the overweening upbeat attitude - nobody pulls that one off). Sounds like it will be a modestly enjoyable movie.

    • I'll admit I haven't seen the move or read the book, but where in hell does he get the seeds and fertilizer to grow plants in Martian soil? From what I gather from the trailers, this wasn't a colonization mission, so why, if they sent seeds and fertilizer, did they send seeds and fertilizer?

      SPOLIER

      They DIDN'T send seeds or fertilizer.

      The protagonist has to make due with what they have, which is his and the other astronauts freeze-dried shit/urine and a small number of potatoes that were brought with for food, not farming.

    • by invid ( 163714 )
      I really liked the part where he modified a old NASA probe to generate a tachyon beam to increase the strength of his force field to protect himself from the meteor shower.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Did you not see it with Gravity?

      The realistic-looking Sci-Fi gets this attention every time. It's not just about The Martian.
      • >Did you not see it with Gravity?

        And Interstellar. And I wish I hadn't, because both those movies screwed up physics badly enough that I noticed it and cringed.

        If a movie promotes itself as 'scientifically accurate' or 'realistic and plausible' or whatever, I expect it to be as advertised.

    • It's a friggin' SciFi movie, for gods sake. You don't see this crap about the science in the new Star Wars movie, so why this one?

      Oh please. That's because Star Wars is space fantasy ("a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."). No one expects a lot of realism there; a big part of the story is some mystical mumbo-jumbo about "The Force" after all.

      This movie is basically this century's version of "2001: A Space Odyssey" (but without that starchild weirdness at the end). It's set in the very near fut

  • Quit reading now if you don't want spoilers....

    At the beginning the dust storm was strong enough to tear apart antennas, tip over the MAV, and send objects flying through the air.

    But at the end, the MAV could use a piece of fabric to cover open panels because the atmosphere is so thin there is very little aerodynamic forces on the craft. (As compared to a launch on earth).

    If the thin atmosphere reduces wind forces At the end why didn't it in the beginning?

    • Quit reading now if you don't want spoilers....

      At the beginning the dust storm was strong enough to tear apart antennas, tip over the MAV, and send objects flying through the air.

      But at the end, the MAV could use a piece of fabric to cover open panels because the atmosphere is so thin there is very little aerodynamic forces on the craft. (As compared to a launch on earth).

      If the thin atmosphere reduces wind forces At the end why didn't it in the beginning?

      The NASA guy in TFA points out that dust storms on Mars aren't as dangerous as depicted because of the thin atmosphere (as you point out) and Weir acknowledges that but adds that he wrote it that way because it's a man vs. Nature story and he wanted Nature to get in the first punch.

    • by bledri ( 1283728 )

      Quit reading now if you don't want spoilers....

      At the beginning the dust storm was strong enough to tear apart antennas, tip over the MAV, and send objects flying through the air.

      But at the end, the MAV could use a piece of fabric to cover open panels because the atmosphere is so thin there is very little aerodynamic forces on the craft. (As compared to a launch on earth).

      If the thin atmosphere reduces wind forces At the end why didn't it in the beginning?

      FWIW - I read an interview with Andy Weir a while ago and he stated outright that the sandstorm at the beginning was a plot device to strand Mark Watney and he knew that there really wasn't enough energy in Martian sandstorms to cause the damage described. He wanted a way to strand Watney that was not anyone's fault and to set up the scenario for the rest of the book.

      Maybe there is a "market" for fan fiction beginnings that are exciting, interesting, and more scientifically accurate.

  • No go back and re-do Prometheus.

    • What's wrong with Prometheus? It was a great soft sci-fi action movie.

      • Grotesque errors of logic to put the plot in progress, such as the biologist who despite clearly being a fearful guy he completely ignores the danger of dealing with an alien serpent, the contamination with the alien goo, etc. The theme itself is interesting, but it could easily be rewritten in a much more plausible and convincing way
        • Grotesque errors of logic to put the plot in progress, such as the biologist who despite clearly being a fearful guy he completely ignores the danger of dealing with an alien serpent, the contamination with the alien goo, etc. The theme itself is interesting, but it could easily be rewritten in a much more plausible and convincing way

          Agreed. I hate it when smart characters do obviously dumb things. Like when Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is running from the crashed / rolling space ship - I have one word for her: perpendicular.

        • To me it makes sense when coupled with the assumption that Weyland hired the crew to be susceptible to bribery and to be easily disposable. The mission wasn't supposed to be scientific, just to appear to be just scientific enough that Shaw and Holloway wouldn't be suspicious about the real nature mission.

          If Weyland had hired top xeno-biologists, they would have canned the exploration long before they got anywhere near what Weyland needed. Having someone who is there for the cash, basically a mercenary with

  • Its just not cheap enough yet, even for governments. Maybe Elon will change that.
    • It is quite cheap enough. For the cost of the F-35 buy order we could go to Mars. The US gov would just rather underfund NASA and act like they are 50% of the budget.

  • While a real Mars dust storm my not be as visually dramatic as say an Earth hurricane, it could certainly gum up a lot of equipment as dust could get into every nook and cranny.

    Being the equipment has to be kept light for space transport, it would probably be engineered for a "typical" dust storm, but not for a higher end one. It's similar to how Earth city infrastructure will target a "100 year storm" (or flood or earthquake), meaning that it's designed so that on average it will be 100 years before a stor

    • POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

      You're right in that a movie has to do things in a visually understandable way, even when things wouldn't work that way in real life.

      However, that dust storm was in the book. In the book, the wind was knocking the return vehicle over. It grabbed a piece of metal and moved it hard enough to penetrate Watney's suit and skin. In our atmosphere, that takes a very strong wind. It happens, particularly with tornadoes, but I have no idea how hard the wind would have to be in the Martian

  • The fact that they didn't include algae in the makeshift farm is pretty strong evidence they hired the wrong consultants.

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