55 The Martian Facts: Accuracies, Production, Faults And More

Shirin Biswas
Dec 22, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Mar 04, 2022
Edited by Naomi Carr
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
55 The Martian Facts: Accuracies, Production, Faults And More

Mars is a planet that has fascinated humans for several years.

This fact is further consolidated by the many pieces of art and literature that are inspired by it. 'The Martian' is a science fiction feature film that is based on a novel written by Andy Weir.

Known for its accuracy and research-based depictions, 'The Martian' is an almost perfect depiction of Mars, its landscape, and the plight of any human who would be unfortunate enough to get stranded on the planet. Matt Damon's stunning performance, combined with the skillful direction by Ridley Scott, has made this movie memorable for many.

It is difficult to survive on Mars, but with the right preparation and a water management system, it is possible that people can survive there.

Keep reading for more facts about 'The Martian'!

Facts About The Martian

The solar system has been a matter of fascination for many and this movie just adds to the wonderment that surrounds space travel. Like other Ridley Scott films, 'The Martian' uses elaborate sets and many technical elements such as space suits with proper lighting mechanisms to make sure that the red planet is shown in its true essence.

Let's find out some facts about both the movie and the book!

The movie is based on a book named 'The Martian', which was written by Andy Weir.

Weir wrote the book for fun and only published it on his blog.

It was only when people started asking for a downloadable version that he started considering monetizing his great work.

Eventually, he sold the book on Amazon Kindle for a nominal price.

The book was released in the year 2011.

After the immense success of the book, it was adapted into a movie, which was released in 2015 on October 2.

The movie was two hours and 24 minutes long.

The experience of the red planet that is laid out in the book as well as in the movie is undeniably accurate and worthy of acclaim.

Ridley Scott, the director of the movie 'The Martian', is known to have been accurate with his projections on the big screen and this movie was a milestone work in his career.

It revolves around an astronaut named Mark Watney.

Watney's character is played by the famous actor, Matt Damon.

The entire movie revolves around the single-stranded astronaut and his story of hope and despair as he tried to figure out a way of sustaining his own life on Mars.

'The Martian' revolves around an astronaut, Mark Watney, who gets stranded on planet Mars by his crewmates during their expedition.

The movie shows how Mark Watney survives on the surface of Mars and how he uses the mission equipment skillfully to support his own life in a place where humans wouldn't survive for more than a couple of minutes without a spacesuit.

Combined with the accuracy of Weir's work and NASA's help, Scott was able to direct a movie that is still talked about fondly because of its sheer scientific nature.

The movie was shot with the guidance of NASA.

Facts About The Making Of The Movie

'The Martian' is famous for many reasons, one of which is the fact that it is very true to life and is based on actual scientific research.

Even though NASA relies on federal money for its funding, the organization does not charge any individual or private agency for consultation or access to archives. Hence, Ridley Scott and Andy Weir were able to make their rendition of a fictitious Martian setting quite believable.

Here are some facts about the making of the movie which will definitely allow you to enjoy and appreciate the movie more the next time you decide to watch it!

This consultation with NASA gave them the information needed to make sure that everything, starting from the Martian soil to the spacesuits, was true to life and accurate to the greatest degree possible. Understandably, this was quite a lengthy process.

However, the results were tremendous as the movie turned out to be one of the most scientific sci-fi films that the world had ever seen.

The movie was shot in a desert in Jordan which is famous for having red-colored sand.

The desert, Wadi Rum, was also used for the shooting of another movie based on Mars, known as 'Red Planet'. Recently, another science fiction movie 'Dune' was shot there.

Matt Damon, the actor who plays Mark Watney in the movie, actually wanted to lose weight for the last few shots of the movie.

The director, Ridley Scott, forbade this and decided that the weight loss of Watney could be handled with the use of CGI technology or a body double.

For the last few shots of the movie, for which Mark Watney was supposed to look famished, a body-double was used in place of Matt Damon.

Matt Damon had a very strict shooting schedule for the movie.

He shot for 'The Martian' for five weeks without a break.

In fact, Damon did not meet his co-stars until much later when they had to promote it before the release.

Damon's shooting was intense due to the fact that most of the movie revolved around his character alone.

In fact, in the scene where Mark Watney cries on hearing the voice of Commander Lewis, Matt Damon actually cried!

Damon admits in an interview that when he was supposed to shoot the scene, he was reminded of how his character was stranded on a planet for around two years.

Damon was also brought to tears by the fact that all his co-stars had finished their scenes and their recorded voices were being used for him to act with.

Only one take was taken for this scene and was retained in the movie since Ridley Scott found Damon's acting unmatched and flawless!

Some scientists from the European Space Agency actually visited the sets of the movie!

The hab or Mars Lander Habitat in which Mark Watney spends most of his time is actually being constructed by NASA.

In the movie, a hab is supposed to protect astronauts in lands that do not support human life.

In the movie, Mark Watney grows potatoes in his hab.

In real life, some members of the International Space Station recently tried growing lettuce!

The suit that Watney and his colleagues wear in the movie are actually inspired by the actual suits that NASA designed; Z1 and Z2 suits.

Although, most of the bulk was stripped off of the suits on Scott's demand and they were made more practical for the actors to wear.

Only five days prior to the movie's release, NASA announced that briny waters ran in Mars.

If this information had been released in time, Watney may not have had to go to extreme lengths to get water from rocket fuel!

The Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) that Watney uses in the movie would contain Plutonium in real life.

Plutonium is radioactive, but cannot be used as a nuclear weapon.

NASA scientists say that it would actually be possible to grow potatoes on Mars!

Things They Got Right In The Movie

Acclaimed as an accurate movie in terms of science, 'The Martian' gets many things right. Listed below are some instances where the depiction of the use of technology was accurate.

In the movie, Mark Watney digs up Pathfinder, which was a spacecraft NASA sent to Mars in the '90s. According to the book as well as the movie, Mark Watney uses this spacecraft to communicate with mission control.

This would have been possible since NASA makes an exact replica of all of its spacecraft to ensure that troubleshooting can be done by the scientists on Earth based on an exact model. The fact that Andy Weir took the time to find this detail is truly commendable.

The spacesuits that the astronauts wear in the movie are also pretty accurate.

In addition to this, the cultivation methods that Watney uses to grow potatoes are actually possible in real life. A botanist working closely with NASA reportedly admits that a mixture of Martian soil and human excreta could be a viable medium for growing vegetables. However, there are some problems and many factors to be considered.

Things They Got Wrong In The Movie

There were some points or scenes in the movie which are scientifically inaccurate or likely impossible. Some technical aspects were not considered while shooting. Listed below are some facts to keep in mind while watching the movie.

The movie showcases the dust storms that take place on Mars and if you have watched it, you would know that the audience is made to feel like these storms were dangerous. However, this is not the case in real life.

In the movie, Mark Watney gets left behind on the planet because of the intense dust storm that blew him away from his crewmates. Quite contrary to the depiction, dust storms in Mars are extremely unlikely to be capable of doing any such things.

This is because Mars does not have the thick blanket-like atmosphere that Earth does. Hence, the strongest dust storm would only feel like a light breeze!

Another fact that was completely missed in the movie was the low gravity of Mars. The force of gravity is one-third that of Earth. This means it would make the person feel lighter. However, in the movie, the astronauts seem to be using a lot of energy to walk on Mars.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag

Master of Arts specializing in History

Sudeshna Nag picture

Sudeshna NagMaster of Arts specializing in History

Having earned a Master's degree in History from the Presidency University in Kolkata, Sudeshna was able to refine these skills and broaden her knowledge base. Not only is she an accomplished fact-checker, but she is also deeply invested in gender research, societal interactions, and mental health. Her professional repertoire also includes experience in translation between Bengali and English content

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