A Skeptical Engineer
“The Martian”: A Fine Engineering Movie

“The Martian”: A Fine Engineering Movie

If you’re looking for a good movie that revolves around engineering, The Martian might fill the bill. The main character, an astronaut stranded alone on Mars, might not be an engineer, but he certainly knows a lot about various engineering disciplines—plus he thinks and acts like an engineer. The only reason to make him a botanist was to stay true to the novel on which the movie was based (The Martian, by Andy Weir). He should’ve been an engineer.

The movie also gets most of its science right, so I’m not going to complain about the few weak points—yet. I’ll wait until the movie goes to DVD. Nor will I spill any plot points.

I will say it would’ve been nice if the movie had come out two years sooner so it could’ve been part of Machine Design’s World’s Greatest Engineering Movie competition. We really had to look hard to find current movies that had more than a grain of legitimate engineering in them. The Martian would’ve been a contender.

There’s also a rumor floating around that NASA delayed telling the world it had discovered possible signs of liquid on Mars until the opening of the movie was close. They wanted to help publicize the movie in the hopes that it would help publicize NASA’s Mission to Mars. Ridley Scott, the director of the film, says NASA told him of the discovery two months ago. NASA also has its website currently hyping a proposed Trip to Mars and has some images that purport to show viewers where the astronaut in the movie was stranded on the Red Planet.

I guess in the long run, NASA needs all the good publicity it can get to push its manned mission to Mars. I wish them luck.

Let us know if you saw The Martian and what you thought of it.

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