The Martian
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Martian can be found here.

No, because a day on Mars (or a 'Sol') happens to have almost the same length as a day on Earth. An Earth day is 24 hours on average (there are slight seasonal variations), while a Sol lasts an average of 24 hours and 37 minutes. Human beings have an intrinsic circadian rhythm, i.e. a biological daily clock which is normally around 24 hours and 11 minutes. This means that technically, human beings are slightly out of synchronicity with the rotation and day-night cycle of the Earth. However, a human biological clock can be 'reset' by certain factors like (day)light quite easily after 24 hours, so in practice, this does not cause problems. In fact, experiments have shown that humans can adapt to slightly shorter day-night cycles (23 hours and 30 minutes) or longer (24 hours and 36 minutes) with no problems. So adapting to the Mars' days and nights would not be a problem for Watney.

After the storm that separates Mark Watney from the rest of his crew early in the story, he finds himself in the unfortunate circumstance of being impaled by a large antenna. When patching himself back up, part of his regimen involves the use of antibiotics to protect against infection. But does he need an antibiotic? There are no bacteria in space, so is an infection something he needs to worry about? The short answer is yes -- plus, its simply better to be safe than sorry. There may be no bacteria in space, but bacteria still survives in three places that could contribute to a wound infection: the antenna itself, Watney's space suit, and Watneys own skin. Read a full explanation here.

Because the Ares missions are so large and complex. NASA sends some of the elements of the mission to Mars before the crew actually arrives. The MAV was one of these elements.

No, but there are scenes that are shown during the beginning of the credits. See here or here for more information.

Andy Weir's novel The Martian" combines extensive internet research with mathematics skills to create a science-fiction story as genuinely rooted in actual science as possible. Weir told NPRs Science Friday he studied orbital mechanics, astronomy, and the history of manned spaceflight to get the details right. The Wall Street Journal says "The Martian" reads like a detailed survival manual, with heavy doses of brain-cramping physics and chemistry. The famous catchphrase from The Martian is "I'm going to have to science the shit out of this." Humorous as the line is, it captures the spirit of science's importance to the cohesion of the film's narrative. To that end, real-life astronauts and space personnel have been involved as consultants. Read more about how the film attempted to capture as much scientific authenticity as possible here. Matt Damon calls the picture a love letter to science. Director Ridley Scott worked to create environments as realistic as possible, and many of the films actors researched their roles, e.g., Jessica Chastain spent several days at NASA asking questions, shadowing people, and experienced simulators.

Watney created a room from an emergency pop-out tent on the rover. It was dangerous but he wanted a place to relax and not go mad spending all those days cooped up; he also spent a lot of time travelling and laying out the solar panels on his long trips.

The RTG that Watney uses to generate heat does it so efficiently that he has to strip insulation from the rover to manage his body temperature and not put himself at risk. He then creates a makeshift insulation panel to help with this process.

Many obstacles Watney faced were excluded - some of these could have significantly added to the run-time, including the 'roll-over', drill malfunctions and a resulting communications blackout. He also has to deal with a severe dust-storm on his final journey to the MAV.

When one of the airlocks breaches, the situation is more complex in the novel. Watney's helmet suffers severe damage that he has to repair with a resin, which is so tough it impairs his ability to use a hand in the resulting escape attempt. First, he has to locate and block a hole in the airlock that oxygen is escaping from. Then, he then has to spend a full day slamming into the airlock with his back to cause it to roll, so that he can move closer to the HAB, a vital process due to his diminished oxygen reserves.

The Hermes's return trip to Mars is more expansive in the book. More time is spent on the difficulties the crew face. We learn here that Beck and Johannsen are secretly together, although Lewis knows about it and allows it. In the movie their relationship is hinted at being more recent than that.

Watney never executed the Iron Man idea, although he did suggest it. In the novel, it's Beck who retrieves Watney and not Commander Lewis.

After being rescued, Watney speculates inside the airlock that, were it a movie, the entire crew would have been there to see him rescued. Because they have duties to execute so that the return journey is safe, this doesn't happen. It's likely that Andy Weir told the film-makers to include the entire crew in the film, as a nod to this line of thought.

The book ends shortly after the rescue of Watney; everything after that is elaborated by the film-makers.

Throughout the novel, we are given much more of an insight into Watney's mind due to the first-person narrative perspective in which the Mars sequences are written. This means that more time is spent on his internal monologues, and more is spent on his emotional difficulties in being left behind. At one point, after discovering he can communicate with NASA, Watney breaks down and weeps for some time, simply relieved to be able to speak to someone. Although we do get a glimpse of this raw emotion when the airlock dismantles in the film and when he's about to be rescued by the crew, it is much more expansive in the novel.

The additional scenes of the Extended Cut fit in seamlessly into the tone of the movie. There are more light-hearted moments with a variety of characters. You wont find anything substantial but if you liked the theatrical version, the extended version wont worsen your opinion. An interesting side note is that Scott apparently used the release of the longer cut to potentially restore some PG-13 censorship as some dialogue extensions deal with a vulgar term that if you look it up would be a clear taboo for the rating. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.


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