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Sci-Fi Flix: Fact or Fiction:The Martian (2015)

Expert Commentators

The Martian (2015)
Sunday November 1st, 2020 @ 7PM
Expert Commentators: Dr. Er-Wei Bai (ECE), Dr. Charles Stanier (CBE), and Dr. Geb Thomas (ISE)


The Martian (2015)

A 2015 science fiction survival drama film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The Martian, a 2011 novel by Andy Weir, served as the screenplay adapted by Drew Goddard. The film depicts an astronaut's (Matt Damon) lone struggle to survive on Mars after being left behind, and efforts to rescue him and bring him home to Earth.

The Martian - Some Science and Library Resources

All commentary on the accuracy of the movie is adapted from the 2015 Gizmodo article "Science of The Martian: the Good, the Bad, and the Fascinating" by Mika McKinnon. Bullet points are references from Library Resources

  1. In the film, the gravity on Mars is 'selective', acting at Earth-strength on astronauts to keep them walking normally instead of hop-bouncing while still permitting steep, towering cliffs.
  2. Mars does have planet spanning dust storms with winds up to 160 kilometers per hour. However, the thinner atmosphere means those winds would have as much impact as a much milder 18 kilometer per hour wind here on Earth.
  3. Sunlight is dim on Mars and will require a better greenhouse than what is improvised during the movie.
  4. Maps and images of the surface of Mars exist - why are they sent with only a black and white sketch?
  5. The Hermes Spacecraft used to taxi between Earth and Mas is enormous, gorgeous, and spacious.


McKinnon, Mika. "Science of The Martian: the Good, the Bad, and the Fascinating." Gizmodo. G/O Media, October 5, 2015.

Patent US3751727 "Space Suit"

Invented Leonard F. Shepard, et al.
Assignee: Granted to the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Link to patent