On Mars, Acidalia Planitia – Commander Lewis, Mark Watney, Martinez, and three others are collecting dirt samples.
NASA- Ares III- Landing site- Mission days- Sol-18. A storm is fast approaching. Massive dust-storm. Commander Lewis stops the project. Orders the team aboard the ship. As the six crew members try to reach the Ares 3, Mark Watney is hit by flying debris. Presumed dead.
Five are aboard. One chair empty, Mark’s chair. Commander Lewis orders liftoff, thinking Mark is dead. Ares 3 rockets off Mars’ surface.
Teddy Sanders, Director of NASA, holds a press conference. “Astronauts Beck, Johanssen, Martinez, Vogel, and Commander Lewis reached the Mars Ascent vehicle. Intercepted with Hermes and are on their way home safely. Astronaut Mark Watney was struck by debris and killed.”
On Mars, Mark Watney wakes still wearing his space suit. An antenna is protruding from his midsection. Once inside the compound, he performs surgery on himself to remove the thin, metal shaft, finally stapling his skin closed.
He makes a recording that will take four years to reach Earth. He will be dead in a few months, maybe sooner.
Sol 21- His mission, grow three years-worth of food for himself on a planet where nothing grows. Luckly he’s a botanists. He can stretch the available food for nearly a year.
Mark builds a hot house and garden
Using his own feces and urine, he makes fertilizer and begins the seeding process. Builds a hot house and plants potatoes.”
Sol 36- “Hello there.” Success! Mark’s first potato plants are growing.
On Earth, Teddy Sanders, Director of Nasa. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas. Vincent Kapoor- Director of Mars Missions, Nasa. Vincent wants to send Ares 6 to Mars to recover Mark’s body and other things. He talks to Teddy about the new mission.
Mission Control, Nasa. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas. Mindy Park, satellite communications, Nasa. She receives a message from Vincent Kapoor. By photos, they see the solar panels have been cleaned. Rover 2 has been moved on Mars. They know Mark is alive.
On Mars, Mark makes a plan. The next Nasa mission will be Ares 4 landing at Schiaparelli Crater, 3200 kilometers away, in 4 years.
On Earth, the media are now aware that Mark is alive.
With one working Rover, Rover 2, it goes 35 kilometers before needing to recharge at the Hab. Problem A.
Problem B, the journey will take 50 days to complete. He needs to live inside the Rover 2 with marginal life support, the size of a small van.
Mark figures a solution to his heating problem inside the Rover. To run the heater uses too much battery power. He digs up the Radioisotope of Plutonium. And puts the decaying radioactive isotobe behind himself in the Rover. It generates heat.
Teddy Sanders wants a pre-supply ship built in 3 months, impossible, and sent to Mars, nine more months. He will find the money for the overtime.
Mark grew 400 healthy potato plants. The smaller, he will reseed, the larger, he will eat. All natural, organic, Martian-grown potatoes.
Mark finds the Pathfinder
Vincent Kapoor knows where Mark is going in the Rover 2. He flies to, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pasadera, California.
The crashed Pathfinder on Mars. Mark found it.
At the lab, everyone looks at the replica of the Pathfinder. Both Pathfinders go online. Mark communicates with Nasa, with “Yes” or “No” signs. Nasa points the camera to the signs.
NASA communicates by pointing to signs
Mark eats the first potatoes, steamy hot, fully cooked, with ketchup. He will communicate in hexadecimals. Their communication quickly improves, thanks to the smart people of Nasa.
Mark wants his crew informed that he’s alive.
The Hermes – 4 months since Mars departure.
Mitch Henderson sends a video to the Hermes crew. Mark Watney is still alive. They’ve known for two months, kept it from them.
Technically Mark has colonized Mars according to The University of Chicago, his alma mater. He has grown food, that’s why. He learns through emails.
There’s an explosion on Mars. His potato plants are destroyed. Space suit is damaged. He has more suits. Greenhouse is destroyed.
Mark chats, via Email, with his crew aboard the Hermes.
Using duct tape and plastic, Mark repairs the greenhouse, sort of.
Nasa skips safety to rush the probe. The inspections are cancelled, Teddy’s orders.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Iris Probe. 4 weeks later- Loading the probe.
Cape Canaveral- Iris Probe is launched. Iris blew apart in the sky shortly after takeoff.
The Chinese Space Agency agrees to help. They are building another Iris probe in 28 days.
Pleiades NASA Advanced Supercomputer. Rich Purnell works Astrodynamics, knows how to save Mark Watney. Project Elrond?
Rich tells Nasa his plan. To re-deploy the Hermes around the Earth and back to Mars. Pick up a care package when rounding earth. Dump it on Mars. They will need to use the Taiyang Shen.
The plan is sent to the crew aboard the Hermes. Total of over 900 days in space. They agree to go back for their shipmate, then never fly again.
NASA is in the dark so far, doesn’t know the mission. Teddy Sanders, Director of NASA, wants Mitch Henderson’s resignation when this is over. “Now, let’s go get our astronaut.”
The plan, Mark will use the MAV from Ares 4 at Schiaparelli Crater, placed there by NASA 3 years ago, just waiting. Use that to go into orbit just as the Hermes is passing and they will catch him in space.
On Earth, the second Iris probe launches aboard a rocket ship from China.
The Hermes crew picks up the Iris probe, supply capsule, as it circles Earth. Next stop for Hermes and crew, Mars.
7 months later, Mark has lost a lot of body mass due to the reduced calorie rations, grown a beard. Goes by the name, Captain Blondbeard. Mars is technically under maritime law.
His daily schedule, journey until the batteries are low in the Rover 2, sleep as the solar panels recharge the batteries. On his way to Schiaparelli Crater.
NASA’s plan is to reduce the weight of the MAV, Mars Ascent Vehicle, at the crater. Once there, Mark begins removing the parts as instructed. Then covers the spacecraft with a tarp, also as NASA brains requested.
The crew aboard the Hermes prepares for the pickup as they approach Mars.
At NASA, Vincent Kapoor explains, they are 12 light-minutes away from Earth. It takes 24 minutes for a signal to reach earth and back if they have a question. The crew is effectively on their own with this mission.
On Mars, Mark decides it’s time for a shave and a haircut.
MAV, Mars Ascent Vehicle
As the Hermes crew prepares to launch the Mars MAV, inside the spacecraft, Mark becomes emotional to the point of tears. Commander Lewis and her crew will fly Mark to their ship. Mark needs only to buckle-up and hold on.
Lewis gives the order. The MAV lifts off from Mars in a blaze of fire, straight up!
Mark passes out from pulling 12 gees.
Commander Lewis advises Houston, they are going to deliberately breach the VAL to produce a reverse thrust. They need the push to catch the MAV, it’s off course.
After the explosion, they’re still 312 meters away from the MAV. In a space chair, strapped to the Hermes, Lewis goes after Mark.
Commander Lewis in the space chair
Her strap isn’t long enough. She can’t reach the MAV.
Mark rips a hole in the palm of his space suit. Acting like Iron Man, using escaping oxygen for propulsion, he haphazardly flies toward Lewis.
His aim is off, but he grabs her strap.
“Hold on Mark!” she yells pulling the strap, pulling him closer. She grabs him.
The crew of the Hermes reels Lewis and Mark toward their ship.
Lewis reports, “Houston, this is Hermes actual. We got him. Watney is secure.”
Earth is in celebration!
Lewis, “Houston, six crew safely aboard.”
Months later on Earth, Mark is an instructor at NASA. He’s teaching his first class, talking about his experiences on Mars, to a full class of in awe cadets.
NASA prepares for the Ares 5 mission using the Hermes, 414 days in space.
Ares 5 lifts off, not Lewis, on its way to Mars from Cape Canaveral, with the help of the Chinese Space Program.
Due to my fascination with astronomy and space, I found this movie to be very entertaining and interesting. For me, the filming was very believable. It looked like Mars.
The plot line was excellent. I’m so glad Lewis and her crew brought Mark back to Earth safely after leaving him on Mars in the beginning.
My rating: 5 stars
May good fortune guide your path.