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Fridge Brilliance

  • If you've ever seen NASA dock resupplies to the ISS, the final translation of the module docking takes hours. The final translation when the Taiyang Shen docks with Hermes in the movie takes maybe a minute, but then you realize that Hermes is accelerating at a constant rate, the Taiyang Shen doesn't have that capability and has to hurry to get captured by the docking system.
  • May not be intentional, but the story is often compared to Apollo 13, which was supposed to be the third mission to land on the moon until something went wrong. Ares 3 was the third mission to land on Mars before something went wrong.
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  • Watney's reply to NASA's plan to send him into space under a stripped-down MAV is rendered on screen as "Are you f--king kidding me?". Obviously, NASA would want to install a language filter after Watney's earlier Cluster F-Bomb.
  • When Ares III gets the chance to turn around to get Watney, Beck is one of the first to jump at the opportunity. Seems odd, especially given that Martinez and Lewis were the ones who had the closest onscreen friendships with Mark. However, when the Ares was lifting off, Beck was the one urging Lewis to leave. As the flight surgeon, this would grate with his Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm." In the movie tie-in official Ares III Mission Guide. The entry on Beck begins “Dr. Chris Beck, flight surgeon for Ares III, graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine. He was also a recipient of the Norma Bailey Berniker Prize, awarded to graduating students that best exemplify the disciplines and precepts of the Hippocratic Oath.”
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  • In the book, Watney has a habit of first using the official NASA term for stuff and then an actual layman's term. While that adds a level of hilarity from a Doylist perspective, from a Watsonist perspective it also makes sense, as he does not know who'll read his logs and he has to include the exact NASA terms (which are invented by engineers to be as clear as can be; engineers hate ambiguity) so NASA can recreate what he did (and perhaps what went wrong) whereas he'll use the "pedestrian" terms in case his log is found by someone who isn't NASA or long after the official NASA terms are known and used.

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Fridge Horror

  • Imagine you're Watney's parents. First you get news that your son died on Mars just before Thanksgiving, you probably have to attend a very public memorial service, and then go through a likely miserable holiday with the rest of your surviving family. Then three months later the director of NASA arrives early one morning to let you know your son was still alive but trapped on Mars with little hope of rescue. Then you have to go through a year and a half of watching NASA desperately throw together rescue plan after rescue plan, launch a resupply probe that fails to reach orbit, launch a second probe with the help of the Chinese, and then after Mark is rescued by Hermes you have to wait over six months for him to finally come home, returning after nearly three years away. Adult Fear barely covers it.

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.

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