That's the idea behind Ridley Scott's new sci-fi drama "The Martian," based on the best-selling book of the same name by Andy Weir. Damon plays NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer left behind on the red planet after a crippling dust storm sends the rest of his team fleeing. Presumed dead and with no way to contact his crew, Watney must figure out how to survive the harsh environment leveraging his science and survival skills.
The beauty of Weir's book is that rather than gloss over the technical details of surviving such a scenario on Mars, he actually embraces it. As Jeff Foust of TheSpaceReview wrote in a review late last year, this attention to detail is what sets "The Martian" apart from other Mars-based adventures.
"The Martian is very much hard science fiction, with science and technology firmly rooted in reality," he said. "Weir, through Watney’s logs and other narrative, isn’t afraid to delve deeply into topics from orbital mechanics to life support systems to spacecraft engineering. That makes the book all the more realistic, and compelling, for those with sufficient technical backgrounds to appreciate this."
Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who made history a few years back for performing in the first space and land duet, also praised Weir's book, calling it a "very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters, and fascinating technical accuracy."
So yes — expect "The Martian" to receive the same kind of scientific scrutiny from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson that made "Gravity's" post-viewing discussions so enjoyable. According to some early previews from Fox’s CinemaCon 2015 presentation this week, Ridley Scott's film should have plenty of buzz surrounding it come November.
"This is the strap-your-moon-boots-on scifi feature we’ve all been waiting for," gushes io9.com, "and the whole thing screams 'F**k Yeah, Science.' Can’t wait."
"The Martian" is slated for release November 25, 2015.
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