Science vs Cinema: How Accurate Was Ridley Scott's The Martian?

Monday, 19 October 2015 - 11:59AM
Space
Mars
Monday, 19 October 2015 - 11:59AM
Science vs Cinema: How Accurate Was Ridley Scott's The Martian?
We all know that The Martian was one of the most scientifically accurate sci-fi films in recent memory, not least as a result of NASA's extensive consultation. Now, Science vs Cinema has devoted its first episode to dissecting all of the science of The Martian, and grading it on topics from the actual trip to Mars to Martian weather to the depiction of NASA astronauts: 



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How accurate was the science? We examine every scientific subject including Getting Your Ass to Mars, Martian Weather & Gravity, Rover Technology, Mark Watney as the MacGyver of Mars, and the film's portrayal of NASA astronauts and scientists.
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For the video, the crew had the opportunity to interview cast members Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, and Mackenzie Davis at the TIFF premiere, as well as astronaut Drew Feustel and JPL Mars researchers Carrie Bridge, Matthew Heverly, and Kate Stack-Morgan. According to the experts, the actual mission to Mars is "extraordinarily accurate"; the Hermes uses ion thrusters, which have never been used for a manned mission, but likely will be in the future. And once that little bit of speculation is taken for granted, everything in the Hermes mission to Mars is in accordance with our current scientific knowledge of space travel.

But, as Andy Weir has acknowledged numerous times, a little bit of license was taken for story purposes, in the form of that crazy dust storm that separates Matt Damon's Mark Watney from the herd:

Opening quote
"There are dust storms on Mars, and sometimes they can engulf almost the whole planet, but that's a little bit deceptive. The atmosphere of Mars is only about 1% as dense as Earth's atmosphere... so the atmosphere can blow around really fine dust, but it can't really blow around people."
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In other words, there are dust storms on Mars, but they would never be nearly severe enough to cause that kind of crisis. Weir was aware of this when he wrote the book, but he needed an inciting incident that fit the narrative, and counterintuitively, Mars just isn't all that dangerous. "It's a man versus nature story, I wanted nature to get the first punch," he says in the video.

The Martian is now out in theaters.

Via Slashfilm.
Science
Science of Sci-Fi
Space
Mars

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