On average, Mars is 140,000,000 miles away from Earth. Carbon dioxide makes up 96 percent of the atmosphere. It’s also 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, allowing harmful UV radiation and meteors to reach the surface. Massive dust storms rage throughout the globe, carving canyons and valleys out of the planet’s rusted surface. Hundreds of thousands of meteor craters the landscape. Except for one lone individual: The Martian, it’s a barren planet—a frozen wasteland entirely devoid of life.
Nevertheless, I would not say that Watney is a particularly energetic character. Except for occasional panic or lonely comments, neither his mental or emotional state has been really investigated or developed. In most cases, Watney is a clever, quick-thinking astronaut, nothing more. In the interaction with the crew, his personality has been enriched. Specifically, the information he sent to them later in the novel reveals a more severe and compassionate side of his character, which has never really been reflected anywhere else.
The Martian is actually a person: a biologist/engineer/astronaut named Mark Watney. Andy Weir’s hard science fiction novel The Martian is about a stranded guy on Mars and tries to avoid death. It includes exciting tasks such as growing potatoes with your own feces as part of the soil and repairing a variety of equipment.
Mark Watney was a member of the third human-crewed mission to Mars, which consisted of a six-person crew. The mission was supposed to last thirty-one days on Mars, but six days in a massive dust storm came up with strong winds, forcing the crew to abort the project.
A long, thin antennae blows away and smacks into Watney, penetrating his spacesuit and hurting him as they race toward the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) that will return them to the safety of their orbiting spaceship. The team is on the verge of disaster, but they hunt through the swirling dust for him. Unfortunately, the antennae have penetrated his bio-monitor computer, which has now become unresponsive. Watney’s bio-monitor computer is linked to those of the rest of the crew, who see the data and come to the same conclusion.
The mission captain has no choice but to abandon the search for Watney’s body because they are out of time and in danger of losing their own lives. She urges the team to run to the MAV, and the remaining five crew members make a narrow escape, unwillingly leaving behind Mark Watney’s body, the first human to die on Mars.
However, he didn’t
Watney’s space suit operates just as it should have under these circumstances, preserving his life and allowing him to live another day, thanks to those NASA people. He regains consciousness a few minutes later and realizes his fate. His initial conclusion is self-evident: he’s completely screwed. He’s alone on Mars, and while the crew’s living quarters survived the storm, it’s only supposed to last thirty-one days. He has a limited supply of oxygen and water, as well as enough food to survive three hundred days if he carefully rations it.
The good news is that this is accurate. The bad news is that the next crewed mission to Mars will take four years and land well distant from Watney’s expedition site. He has no way of contacting NASA or the crew who abandoned him. So, yeah, he’s doomed.
Watney, on the other hand, is a smart and resourceful individual. He was the botanist and engineer for the project and refused to accept the inevitable. He starts to work, determined that if there is any way to avoid it, he will not be the first person to die on Mars. During this time, he starts a notebook, describing his attempts to survive, which forms the bulk of this novel.
Watney, despite being a nerd at heart, is also irreverent, entertaining, and mischievous, which transforms what could have been a dry, technical dissertation into an engaging read. His journey is a mix of Apollo 13 and Castaway, and it’s a wild trip. The book’s beauty, which is set in the not-too-distant future, is that everything makes logic and is completely believable. This isn’t the science-fiction of Star Trek or even Arthur C. Clark; instead, it’s the narrative of one man’s valiant attempt to survive in unimaginable circumstances that would crush anyone with a weaker will.
The massive amount of knowledge, as well as the level of brainpower, that went into writing this book astonishes me. (The author is a computer programmer who enjoys relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and manned spaceflight history). It’s beyond my comprehension to figure out whether the technology is real or incredibly realistic; if there are any scientific or factual problems, it’s beyond me to figure out. Furthermore, keeping the tale interesting while also include a lot of humor is quite an accomplishment, especially since this is the author’s first officially published novel.
The way Mark Watney tells the story in a succession of journal entries is what stops Andy Weir’s The Martian from being a yawn-fest. He’s also a Martian McGyver, repairing and recycling many of his gear, including the Pathfinder probe, which he tracked down using a rover over the Martian landscape.
Even throughout the tedious aspects of the article, the humor keeps the story moving. Thankfully, Mark is amusing without being annoying, and Weir has the ability to realize when a more serious tone is required. He also has the ability to time his one-liners to perfection.
When NASA discovers Watney is still alive, they hurry to figure out how to get him back while he struggles with issues such as a lack of oxygen, too much water, and a growing dislike for potatoes and 1970s television. There were a few frightening moments near the end, especially.