The Martian by Andy Weir

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18007564The Martian is about a man named Mark Watney. Mark is abandoned on the surface of Mars after he gets hit by an antenna during a sandstorm. The antenna punctures his suit and this messes with his vital monitors. His crew, the Ares 3, presumes he’s dead and leave his body on the surface as they evacuate. After Mark wakes up, he is met with the unfortunate conclusion that he has been left on Mars. As you can imagine, this is extremely frightening. He’s in a hab designed for 6 people, to only last 30 days. He starts doing some calculations, and it’s not for another 4 years that the Ares 4 mission to mars is planned to be there.

His first task, figuring out his resources. He works out exactly how much food he’s got, and rations it appropriately. After doing his calculations, the amount of food that he’s got isn’t going to be enough. Mark is a Botanist, someone who specializes in plants. The only reason he was even sent to mars was to check what kind of soil Mars has. He’s got Earth soil samples, which have special bacteria that allow plants to grow. The Mars soil doesn’t have this bacteria, so he has to mix the Earth soil with the Mars soil to spark life into plants. After a few miracles, Mark starts growing potatoes in one of the remaining storage places.

After driving on the surface for about 3 weeks, he comes across an unmanned Pathfinder and the Sojourner rover. Seeing as this might be his only contact with mars, he brings it back with him to the original Ares 3 hab. He finally contacts NASA, and they’re thrilled to hear that he’s alive. A few days go by, and he checks on his plants regularly, but something goes wrong with the airlock and it explodes. The Mars air kills the plants almost immediately, leaving Mark with a small amount of food. While this is going on, NASA plans an unmanned trip to mars that will send Mark supplies to last him until the Ares 4 crew can arrive. With no time to test the rocket, it explodes in mid-air, leaving Marks chances of survival very slim.

On Earth, there’s an Astrophysicist named Rich Purnell who devised a plan for the Ares 3 crew to come back into Earth’s gravitational forces to “slingshot” their ship back to mars. The Ares 3 crew all vote to save Mark, but NASA Administrator Teddy Sanders vetoes the plans almost immediately. With no other option, the Ares 3 crew uses Rich Purnell’s trajectory plans to save Mark. Mark is thrilled to hear that he’s going to be rescued, so he has to work with the Ares 3 crew to launch the Ares 4 MAV “Mars Ascent Vehicle” from the surface of Mars to connect with the Ares 3 rocket as they fly by the surface of Mars. Mark is finally reunited with the Ares 3 crew, and makes a final log entry to express how happy he is to be rescued. After Marks extreme journey, the Ares 3 crew returns safely to Earth.