'The Martian' is entertaining science fiction rooted in fact | Science News

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'The Martian' is entertaining science fiction rooted in fact

With NASA’s help, filmmakers made story of astronaut stranded on Mars believable

By
1:30pm, September 22, 2015
Damon with rover

In The Martian, Matt Damon rests against the tire of his rover while solar panels recharge the batteries.

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Scientists are used to suspending disbelief when they go to movies. But The Martian, opening October 2, offers a mostly realistic view of conditions astronauts might encounter on Mars.

The movie “is a vision of a future we can step into and make happen,” says Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division and a science adviser to director Ridley Scott.

In that envisioned future, wisecracking astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars in 2035 after a fierce storm. NASA thinks he’s dead. His communications have been cut off. He’s got limited food. And the next mission to Mars won’t arrive for four years. There’s only one solution: “I’m going to have to science the [expletive] out of this,” Watney says.

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