- Lewis lying on her acceleration couch as the MAV rockets away from the surface, looking at the empty couch where Watney should be.
- When Teddy has to make the announcement that Watney was presumed killed, the press room gasps in horror of the revelation. Even right at the beginning, people were already so concerned about the Ares crew.
- It's hard not to shed a few tears at the horrified expressions of the crew when Mitch tells them Mark is alive. Beck, Lewis, and Vogel in particular seem to take it very hard.
- When Mark reactivates Pathfinder in the book, the reader reads through its hardware self-check, including a long list of everything that's malfunctioning. Finally it ends with:LISTENING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNAL. . .LISTENING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNAL. . .LISTENING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNALSIGNAL ACQUIRED
- Meaning that after six long months, Mark is finally able to speak to Earth again. It's particularly moving in the audiobook, where reader R.C. Bray inserts a short Beat just before the last line, ratcheting up the tension.
- Mark Watney's reaction when he discovered that all his crops have died after the explosive decompression exposes them to the Mars atmosphere, and that he couldn't grow any more of them. He understandably enters a Heroic BSoD moment after this, and it's heart-wrenching. Just when things are finally looking up for him, and this happened. All that hard work (and he's also quite proud of it) just went down the drain from something that's not even his fault.
- The Iris launch failing. One can imagine what that felt like for everyone in Mission Control, under the horrific impression at that time that they've essentially doomed Watney to starve to death.
- The email from Watney asking how the launch went afterwards is just rubbing the salt in the wound. After getting the bad news, for the first time, Watney considered the possibility of dying, and this is even after the airlock incident that killed all his crops. His resigned monologue of the email he sent to his crew asking them to comfort his parents in case he dies after that is just depressing.
- On the other hand, his refusal to surrender to despair or even resentment is tear-jerking in a different way.Please tell them [...] that I'm dying for something big... and beautiful... and greater than me. Tell them I said I can live with that.
- As heartwarming as it is tearjerking, but: Watney finally gets to the launch site, straps himself in, and comes into radio contact with the Ares III crew for the first time in years. Listening to their voices as they begin flight checks, he begins to weep (pictured above), and barely composes himself enough to answer an affirmative when asked.
- After over 500 sols, the stress and limited food are taking a serious toll on Watney. A Female Gaze scene of him leaving a shower, buns to the viewer, becomes horrific when you see how thin he has become and how his skin is discoloring in patches, a sign of protein malnutrition.
- It's not just malnutrition (the book mentions he has plenty of vitamins and supplements to last him for years). Those are more likely friction burns caused by wearing the bulky space suit on a daily basis. Imagine putting on and taking off 10kg of full-body armor, day-in and day-out while conducting strenuous labor, for a year and a half.
- The Extended Edition DVD has a scene with close-ups of Mark's naked body, showing all the sores and pus around Mark's body. You then get the sudden suspicion that Mark relishes being naked just to give his skin some relief from any physical contact.
- Despite all of the fighting that countries wage against each other, when the time for Watney's rescue arrives, the entire world is shown to be watching it. From New York City to Beijing to Rio de Jainero, millions and millions of people can be seen holding signs, wearing T-shirts, and posting hashtags that say "Bring Him Home." Seriously, try to watch the ARES: Live video, Bring Him Home, without tearing up at the unity one lost man on Mars brought to humanity.Reporter: People around the world are rallying behind one simple, endearing notion: Bring Him Home. We have seen hundreds of messages of support for this brave astronaut. Watney's ordeal is far from over. NASA is doing everything they can to figure out how to save him.
- Zhu Tao's mourning that the original probe the booster was made for will likely never get a chance to do what they spent for years building it for.
- A lot of the crew's talks with their families: Vogel's mother being mentioned as having worsening dementia, Martinez's son having never met him and his wife's visible angst at the continued separation and the Adult Fear of Johannsen's parents (with her mother being too unraveled to even come and talk to her on video).
- "To whom it may concern: Take care of this Rover. She saved my life."
- At the end of the movie in a good way when Lewis manages to get Watney and the world cheers.
- Teddy and Mitch's discussion after Mitch sends the Hermes crew the flight plan that Purnell calculated, and they go along with it. You can tell both men genuinely want what is best for NASA: Mitch wants to bring everyone home safely, but Teddy is looking at the bigger picture, and that if the entire operation fails because of the risk and everyone dies, NASA could be in jeopardy. As heartrending as it is for Teddy to demand Mitch's resignation, one can totally understand why he's doing so.
- The passage early in the book where Mark notes that it's Thanksgiving and that his family have probably just attended his funeral unaware that he's still alive.I've been so busy staying alive I never thought of what this must be like for my parents. Right now, they're suffering the worst pain anyone can endure. I'd give anything just to let them know I'm still alive. I'll just have to survive to make up for it.
- In the epilogue short story "The Earthling", Watney is revealed to be struggling to cope with life back on Earth, due to a combination of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (he's afraid to leave his house because he associates "outside" with "danger" after a year and a half on Mars) and medical complications (among other things, he is a severe cancer risk, again due to his extended stay on Mars). Further, many months of social isolation have left him poorly suited to deal with his new celebrity status. All of that said, he notes that his therapist is very good and is helping him work through his problems.
Tear Jerker / The Martian