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Things In The Martian That Make No Sense

Ridley Scott's The Martian isn't just an exciting drama, it's a fairly realistic look at survival in outer space. When astronaut Mark Watney is accidentally stranded on Mars, he must find a way to survive until NASA can send a rescue mission. Obviously, it's more than a little difficult to just send a ship to the red planet, so Watney has to find a way to survive on the barren rock for the long term. The movie's been praised for its realism, but it still has a couple of moments that just don't make any damn sense.

Watney's Sanity

Ask anyone that works from home: isolation will drive you crazy. Unless you're astronaut Mark Watney, however, who handles it extraordinarily well. He spends at least a year and a half with no real human contact, but he never goes even a little crazy. He even keeps shaving for the majority of the movie. Within a week, he should have been making sock puppet friends and refusing to wear pants. Sure, he could communicate with NASA via satellite messages, but those were delayed and also only text. Everyone at NASA is impressed with his farming skills, but they really should've been focused on the fact that he didn't start naming all of the pillows in the habitat and giving them different personalities.

Rich Purnell's explanation

Donald Glover plays NASA astronomer Rich Purnell, who figures out how to save Watney's life. He develops a plan that involves sending the original ship and crew back to Mars so they'll arrive just in time to rescue the stranded astronaut. When he presents his plan to the head of NASA, he makes a really weird demonstration. Instead of just saying that he wants to slingshot the Hermes shuttle around Earth to give it a boost and send it back to Mars, he makes people stand around pretending to be planets while he makes a stapler fly around the room like a space shuttle. He isn't talking to a bunch of frat dudes: he's presenting his plan to a room full of NASA scientists. They obviously know how space travel works and should understand physics, and if they don't, then everyone's got bigger problems than one stranded astronaut.

It Took A Genius To Even Consider Turning The Hermes Around

NASA needs to send a ship to Mars, and they need to do it quick. The problem is that launching anything from Earth takes a long time and isn't guaranteed to work. The Hermes is currently returning from Mars, however, so there's no risk of it exploding during launch. When Purnell brings up the idea of using the Hermes, everyone at NASA is completely shocked at the very idea of it. Seriously, no one else even considered turning that ship around? It's not that Purnell figured out a way to make it work—he's the only person who thought of it at all. Apparently, no one in NASA ever went on a road trip with their parents and had their dad yell "I will turn this thing around!"

Top Secret Chinese Rocket

When NASA attempts to launch a supply satellite towards Mars, it explodes in Earth's atmosphere, seemingly dooming Watney. By the time they can prep and launch another vehicle, Watney's food will have long run out. Luckily, it turns out that China has a top secret rocket that's already cleared for launch that's fast enough to make it to Mars in time. The only reason why China didn't disclose this information earlier is because the rocket is top secret. Apparently, they suddenly stopped caring about that because NASA gets the rocket. If China was willing to give up their secret to save Watney, why wait this long? By that point, it was incredibly unlikely that NASA could save Watney, even with the super fast rocket. Why give up the secret if it's not even going to help?

The Actual Rescue Plan

Once NASA has China's rocket, they have the ability to send supplies to Watney. There are risks involved, but not as many as the plan they eventually end up going with. The actual plan involves having Watney launch himself into Mars orbit and having the Hermes swing by and catch him. They only have one shot, and if they screw up, Watney is stranded in outer space. Also, the crew of the Hermes is risking their lives. How does that make more sense than just sending the supplies to Watney? If NASA could get the Hermes to Mars, then they could get the supply ship there. Even though the crew of the Hermes feels guilty for leaving Watney behind, they'd feel much more guilty if they missed catching him and he shot off into space.

No Politicians Get Involved

Mark Watney becomes a worldwide celebrity when the public finds out he's stranded on Mars. NASA is a publicly funded company, and it's super expensive to send stuff to other planets. At no point do any politicians get involved. NASA just does whatever it wants, not really answering to anybody. At no point does the agency have to justify the cost of multiple launches or teaming up with China. It's nice to imagine a world where scientists can just do what they want, but this is the least realistic part of the movie. Even though they never help, politicians love to get involved in situations like this.

Mars' Gravity

According to this movie, Mars is barren wasteland that is devoid of vegetation, water, and oxygen, but luckily has the same exact gravity as Earth. In reality, Mars' gravity is 62 percent weaker than Earth's gravity. Watney should have been bouncing around the entire movie. We have to watch Watney do a bunch of math, maintainence, and even dig up his own poo, but we couldn't get one scene of him lifting huge rocks over his head? This is such a major visual detail, and it's just forgotten about so we could get more scenes of Matt Damon bashing disco music.