The Science of The Martian
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The Science of The Martian

The thing I like about the the story is that
while he’s a scientist he has to apply his scientific knowledge to extend his
survival until the rescue mission can arrive. This is what engineering’s all about. I
think that dust is going to be a big problem in the exploration of Mars, as it was on
the moon. The winds on Mars can pick up lots of
dust and put lots of dust particles in the air like at noon on Mars can be
almost as dark as midnight. What they got wrong is that that does not happen like
four to six times a year, it happens maybe a few times in part of Mars. But once every
five years or so they cover the entire planet. We have a sight in Owens Lake, California that’s a dry lake bed: the largest source of dust in the U.S. We have a
network of sensors that operate continuously so we use that place as a test bed for instruments that one day we want to send to Mars. if you are able to
protect yourself to be able to filter that dust then this is not going to be a
huge problem so I think it’s more a question of having the resources to
survive. Oxygen to breathe, food and water. Mars is an extremely harsh environment, very
cold temperatures. Because the atmosphere is so thin and there’s no magnetic field on the whole planet, the surface is constantly bombarded by radiation from the Sun.The
lead character, Mark Watney, he overcomes this by moving his farm indoors into
his domed habitat; much like this greenhouse. It provides warmth, it provides
light and it provides shelter from the radiation which they must have had in
place in order to help humans working there. The soil on mars has the basic chemicals
that a plant might need but there’s no life present in the surface soil. In the
book again, Mark Watney enriches the soil by using a combination of small amounts
of Earth soil that were were brought along on the trip for experimental use and his
own, shall we say, fertilizer. I think that would be the only way that he
could possibly create the soil. At the University of Michigan’s Space Physics Research
Lab, we’re currently working on a new instrument that’s going to be launched
in 2018 on the European Exo-Mars Rover that is specifically designed to look for more
complex forms. This rover has something that’s never been taken to Mars before and
that’s a drill capable of drilling two meters into the surface which then
will give us an opportunity to look at the conditions below the surface which
has never been done before. The quickest as we can basically do it with
chemical propulsion is six to eight months. NASA is currently working on what’s
called the SLS or the Space Launch System which is going to be a new rocket
which will rival the Saturn 5 which we used to get to the moon but even that rocket
still’s going to be limited by astrodynamics. So there’s only some times during their
orbits where they actually orbit and they’re close together in distance .Other than that, they start to get farther and farther apart and it’s every 22 months that Mars
and Earth basically get into this closest point, which is what we want, to minimize
the amount of fuel and decrease the amount of time it takes to get to Mars.
Now the book did talk about Ion Propulsion and that is a technology which
may sound futuristic but actually is used already on hundreds of satellites. It’s
extremely fuel-efficient but the amount of force is equivalent to, like, pieces of
paper or the weight of paper clips in your hand. It is really low force so that to be
even be conceivable like in the book we would have to have also a fictional nuclear
reactor that was way beyond what we currently can do in terms of being
lightweight but providing the immense amount of power required to generate the
force for these rockets to get there quickly. For many years now we’ve been
looking at these ion thrusters which will be very important for placing cargo
on mars and supporting a manned mission but they’re not powerful enough to be
able to rescue a man from Mars. You know like any good story, some of the
scientific theories that he uses are stretched a bit but I think it’s all
grounded and pretty good science. Like we learned from Apollo 13, we are
very resourceful when we are in those stressful situations. We can be creative
and come up with nice ways to survive. You know I think
his chances of survival are pretty good so…we’ll see. (laughs) So the CADRE satellite is a precursor
to a future mission called ARMADA, we’re going to have large constellation of
satellites that go to low Earth orbit and study the atmosphere. So before we put
spacecraft on the rocket there’s a lot that goes into…

4 thoughts on “The Science of The Martian

  1. Hi. I have a project on the movie " The Martians" I wish Perform With My eighth grade students in the field of Biology . My project is to commission a small bathroom 's Studies Groups MISCELLANEOUS : aspects and scenes from the movie and learn students about reality and fiction Every aspect m . At the end of the investigation should make a presentation on the topic that was assigned to them and leave a record in the form of poster, for other students to learn in a pleasant way about the movie. I'd value your help and advice and ask the favor if at all possible supply me some kind of materials in pdf to Work With My Students aged between 11 and 14 years. Thank you

    José Pardo (biology teacher)

    Hola. tengo un proyecto sobre la película "the martian" que deseo realizar con mis alumnos del octavo grado en la materia de biología. Mi proyecto consiste en encargar a pequeños grupos la investigación sobre diversos aspectos y escenas de la película y que los alumnos aprendan sobre la realidad y la ficción de cada aspecto. Al final de la investigación deben realizar una exposición sobre el tema que les fue asignado y dejar una constancia en forma de un afiche para que otros alumnos aprendan de forma agradable sobre la película. Me gustaría contar con su ayuda y sus consejos, así como pedirles el favor si les es posible suministrarme algún tipo de material en pdf para trabajar con mis alumnos con edades entre los 11 y 14 años. Gracias.

  2. As for rescue time, remember that Andy Weir's spacecraft "Hermes" was on a continuous "Aldrin Cycler" orbit with an Earth/Mars transfer time of about 120 to 250 days, so given that Watney knew that, he knew how long he had to survive into order to be rescued.

    The "Rich-Purnell" manoeuvre is a real thing, and Weir did the orbital calculations himself to see if it would work (actually, he did all the orbital calculations for the three different orbits; the original mission orbit, the abort mission orbit after the storm and and the "Rich-Purnell" rescue orbit. Here are the results.

  3. The Science of The Martian" Does the sun shine on "planet mars" too, and on all other" planets" other than the "Planet earth"???
    And the "solar system is flat, so the planets move parallel and the day and night on all planets happen with out shadowing problem on the farthest planets?
    Mars and planets do not exist.
    The sun shines only on earth. and the earth is flat and stationary. If the sun were shining on other planets then our sky would have become always bright, dumbass!!! Got it???
    Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!! you are lying buddy. stop lie. Go to the bar relax and drink coffee.

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