The Martian by Andy Weir
Mark Whatney was on a routine mission to Mars. Well, it wasn’t entirely routine as there hadn’t been that many missions before. The entire thing took over a year of travel and the crew was supposed to be on Mars for a month, studying things. Well, a storm came along and the crew had to abort the mission. The only thing was that Mark got separated. They thought Mark was dead, so they left.
Mark wasn’t dead. It sure seemed as if he were, but he wasn’t. His blood clogged the hole in his spacesuit when it clotted. Mark was alive. He knew everyone was gone. He had to figure out how to survive. He had no contact with anyone, at all. He was the only living being on the entire planet. Mark had to make a plan.
Mark was a botanist, so he decided to grow plants. He knew he could grow potatoes. So he managed to colonize the Martian soil with Earth bacteria. Things were going well for a while. He started modifying the rover and created water, in a crazy dangerous way. He went on a trip to get Pathfinder.
Around this time, the people on Earth realized that Mark Whatney was alive on Mars, by himself. NASA started scrambling for a way to get him off of the red rock. Mark knew his best hope was surviving until the next mission, which was around four years away. He rationed food and grew his own, but it didn’t work out entirely as planned. There was a breach in his hab. There was a power failure which ruined his communication with Earth via the Pathfinder. Mark kept on with the plan though. The plan, by this time, was to rescue Mark. He was going to the landing spot for the next mission. It wasn’t going to be easy though.
The whole world watched Mark Whatney. Would he make it off of Mars alive?
What I liked
I am not a space person. I usually don’t like books or movies about space. I don’t know why. This book was highly enjoyable though. Mark was a relatable character, who just happened to get stuck on Mars. His desire for survival and his ingenuity make for some very interesting reading. It’s actually highly entertaining, but I am kind of a nerd, maybe I find talk of science and botany entertaining for that reason.
I feel like Andy probably did a heck of a lot of research for this book. I commend him for that. I’m not going to double-check it, but I think most of what Andy put in this book is fairly scientifically sound. I feel like I understand a Mars mission now.
This is a book that glorifies the world of the nerd and that’s not a bad thing. Programming, botany, and general science are where it’s at people.
This book does make the idea of Mars more tangible for me. I can see how life on Mars might work. It’s sad that we’re not going to see people living on Mars anytime soon, but we can always hope. There are definitely a whole lot of dangers that have to be overcome to make something like that work. There’s not food and there’s not oxygen. They only way to make it on Mars is to use what you take with you. It’s not like the explorers of Earth who took their own provisions, but were sure to find something to eat when they got to where they were going. It may be snails, but they could eat it.
What I didn’t like
I really enjoyed it; there’s not really anything bad I can say about it.
You know what, I do have something to say. I don’t trust that the government would save Mark Whatney. If this actually happened, would the government spend billions of dollars to get Mark Whatney back to Earth safely? Heck, this might even run into the trillions. I just don’t have the warm and fuzzies about the government actually spending the money to rescue one man. I can see them covering it up. “Yep, Mark Whatney is so dead, it’s like Dead McDeaderson up there,” all the while watching a man starve to death because they didn’t think this one life was worth it. People have been left to die before, by our government, is various situations. Why would Mars be an exception?
I don’t want to get stuck on Mars. It’s just as well that I’ll never get the chance to go.
Do you think your government would rescue Mark Whatney?
Could you handle being the only person on a planet?