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The Martian visuals

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avatar Vinny Chirayil
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This is a fan page.

Movie image credit : 20th Century Fox. All names, trademarks and images are copyright of their respective owners.

PROCEED ONLY IF YOU HAVE FINISHED AT LEAST HALF THE NOVEL (Chap 13).

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Chapter summaries are given at page bottom, for quick story recap.


Visit Part 1 of this page here :

A Martian dust storm forces an emergency abort of the month long mission on Sol 6 itself ( Sol is a Mars day, 39 mins longer than Earth day).

All 6 astronauts in the Hab on Mars, begin putting on EVA suits (Extra Vehicular Activity), as they monitor the growing dust storm.

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During the walk from the Hab to the nearby MAV craft, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead in an accident and left behind on Mars. MAV is visible like a lighthouse.

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The remaining 5 astronauts lift-off in the MAV for the Hermes spacecraft in Martian orbit and head back for Earth.

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The 2 stage MAV (27 meters tall) on Mars (left) and Hermes spacecraft (right).

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Only the MAV takes off, leaving the landing gear and fuel tanks behind.

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Mark Watney, injured but not dead and alone on Mars.

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Watney somehow makes it back to the Hab airlock 1.

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The piece of antenna that pierced Mark Watney's suit and body. The arm computer can be seen here, which controls suit pressure etc.

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Making log entries on the computer, after basic self-medication and treatment. Bunk Beds seen behind. A map of Mars on table.

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The main area of the Hab.

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Making more Log entries.

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Preparing the Hab for potato farming.

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Vacuum sealed potatoes, intended for the thanksgiving meal preparation on the Hab.

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Creating a fire - Finding a combustible material was a challenge, in a Hab full of non-combustible material.

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Burning Hydrazine to create water. Zoom in to see the tiny flame and apparatus.

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Things go wrong for Mark Watney while trying to burn off excess Hydrogen.

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Humid ecosystem at last.

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Potato plants sprout on Mars !

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Potato Wiki

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Watching TV programs of the 70s on the computer. The plastic screen of the flourishing potato farm can be seen on far left, through the circular passage.

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What a real-life RTG looks like (not from movie).

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The up and down trip to recover Pathfinder's communication equipment, dead since 1997 took a total of 21 sols and 800 kms.

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Pathfinder Lander and and the toy-sized Sojourner Rover (not from movie).

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The closed lander is seen mounted on top of main Rover 2. Rover 1 is used as a trailer, seen behind. Rover 2's front design seen in an interview pic.

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After some repairs and cleaning of the Pathfinder Lander, Mark Watney manages to communicate to Earth at last.

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At NASA mission control.

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After 4 months on Mars, the Hab is breached, throwing Airlock 1 away explosively, with Mark Watney inside. The Pathfinder lander can be seen next to solar panels.

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Airlock 2 and 3 (unseen) are still intact.

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Airlock 1 lands upside down, at a distance from the Hab.

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CHAPTER 14 : 2nd Half begins

Watney's helmet cracked on impact inside the airlock. Duct taping it helped the suit retain pressure but reduced visibility.

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Watney is horrified at seeing his potato farm destroyed and dead forever. He is in the taped up helmet still.

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Ship commander Melissa Lewis with Beth Johanssen, receiving Mark Watney's message from Mars.

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Melissa discussing a risky and unplanned and rescue mission with the Hermes crew.

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Ship commander Melissa Lewis.

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Hermes spacecraft, with Astronaut Beth Johanssen seen in the window. The spinning cabins produce a low gravity due to centrifugal forces. Rest of the craft has zero gravity.

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Nasa / JPL, showing MAV and Hermes on screen.

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Watney's Travel Route on Mars

A journey of 3,200 km is completed in 56 sols.

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He reaches Ares 4 site after spending a year and half on Mars.

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A more detailed breakup of Mark Watney's long journey :


The MAV at Ares 4 site, with its top nose section discarded, to reduce take-off weight and revealing the starry night sky. Even the unwanted extra 5 astronaut seats have been removed.

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Windows seem to be open to Martian atmosphere, covered with just some Hab canvas. This is the scene when he is about to lift off from the brutally stripped down MAV at Ares 4 site.

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The Martian : Chapter Summaries

chapter 1 : Sol 6

  • Mark Watney recounts, in his log entry, the sequence of events that led him to be stranded on Mars : severe dust storm, mission abort, presumed to be dead in a freak accident, rest 5 astronauts taking off to Hermes spacecraft which was in Martian orbit for their return journey to Earth, the hopelessness of the his situation.

chapter 2 : Sol 7 - 22

  • after estimating that his short term survival needs are met, Watney makes a plan for potato farming, to increase his longterm food reserve. starts with soil prep

chapter 3 : Sol 25 - 30

  • more soil prep work + some ideas for water creation

chapter 4 : Sol 32 - 37

  • water creation by burning Hydrazine, detects high hydrogen content in Hab and hides in rover 2, to escape a possible explosion of the Hab.

chapter 5 : Sol 38 - 42

  • trying to burn off excess Hydrogen causes a minor explosion in the Hab but eventually normalcy returns.

chapter 6 : NASA

  • after 2 months of Watney's presumed death, based on satellite images, Nasa concludes that Watney is still alive and thinks of a rescue mission.

chapter 7 : Sol 63 - 71

  • prepping and testing Rover 2 for short treks around the Hab

chapter 8 : NASA

  • NASA brainstorming ways to help Mark Watney, monitoring his activities and realising that he is headed towards the Pathfinder rover, dead since 1997, to retrieve its Earth communication equipment.

chapter 9 : Sol 79 - 85

  • Watney reaches Pathfinder site, hauls the pathfinder lander onto the rovers roof and carries the toy sized sojourner rover inside his rover.

chapter 10 : Sol 90 - 96

  • Watney returns to Hab after 21 Sols (martian days) with the the Pathfinder lander and Sojourner mini rover, repairs and boots up the communication unit of lander.

chapter 11 : NASA, Sol 97 - 98

  • pathfinder communication is received, nasa helps with software upgrades, text communication made possible, decision to inform Hermes crew about Watney's survival is made too

chapter 12 : Hermes

  • flashback of the fateful dust storm accident on Sol 6, on Mars. scene cut to 4 months later from that time, in Hermes. crew is told by NASA that Watney survives and there is a rescue plan

chapter 13 : Sol 114 - 119

  • lot of Earth-Mars talk, then the Hab breaches, airlock gets thrown away, with Watney inside. Suffers minor injury and has a shattered helmet screen.

2nd Half begins : faster pace

chapter 14 : Sol 119 - 122

  • Watneys spends a Martian day in the airlock fixing his leaky EVA suit, finally reaches the Hab nearby, changes into new helmet and suit and starts thinking of how to repair the breached and deflated Hab. Potato farm is now dead.

chapter 15 : NASA

  • Watney updates NASA about airlock 1 explosion, introduction of Rich Purnell character, NASA's emergency food supply rocket Iris, for Watney, falls down to Earth after lift-off.

chapter 16 : China, NASA, Hermes

  • Chinese space agency hatches a plan and deal by giving their rockets to assist Hermes. Watney's individual emails to all Hermes crew members is revealed. He is also aware about Dr. Chris Beck's feelings for Beth Johanssen and asks him to express it to her.

‘Rich Purnell Maneuver' for Hermes is secretly emailed to Vogel on Hermes, allegedly by Mitch (Ares 3 flight director). Hermes crew decides to change course go back to Mars, without NASA approval.

chapter 17 : Sol 192 - 196

  • NASA informs Watney the rescue plan : reach Ares 4 site, take-off and join Hermes on Sol 549. he starts making necessary mods on the rovers, to carry all his needs. A short-circuit kills Pathfinder completely. so no way to communicate with Earth.

chapter 18 : Sol 197 - 211

  • Watney strips unwanted things from the 2 rovers and fits all the life support systems for the long journey to the MAV at Ares 4 site in schiaparelli crater. he knows about the food resupply mission to Hermes from Earth using the Chinese rocket but wont know about its success or failure till he reaches Ares 4 site,as he has no communication means.

chapter 19 : Hermes, China

  • Hermes crew members get almost real time video link with their family on Earth. Venkat and Teddy reach China, launch goes perfectly, supply probe docks with Hermes.

Had the supply mission failed, the entire Hermes crew except the youngest and smallest astronaut, Beth Johanssen, would have committed suicide right away to save on food. Beth was chosen to live, as she had the best chance of survival. Eventually the remaining food stock would get over before she reaches Earth again, and would have to eat the other astronauts. Yes, the crew had considered a canibalistic survival option !

chapter 20 : Sol 376 - 390

  • More rover modifications and trip planning. Watney cuts a section of the Hab canvas to make himself an inflatable 'bedroom' on the rover.

chapter 21 :

  • Mars : Sol 431 - 449, more rover modifications and testing, commences his long journey to ARES 4 site.

  • NASA : they anticipate that a growing dust storm on Mars could block sunlight and slow down Mark Watneys solar-powered rover trip to the MAV at the Schiaparelli crater, causing him to miss his planned lift-off date and thus miss the rendezvous with the Hermes spacecraft's flyby of Mars. they can only watch helplessly, with no way to communicate with Watney and hope for the best.

  • Hermes : status check reveals minor maintenance issues with the Hermes spacecraft. Commander Melissa Lewis ignores the secret affair between Dr. Chris Beck and Beth Johanssen, which under normal circumstances would have been forbidden by her.

chapter 22 : Sol 458 - 475

  • Watney realizes that he has spent a year and half at the Ares 3 site and will now never return to it. Halfway thru his journey, across the crater-ridden terrain called Arabia Terra, he stops to scout, at the edge of Marth Crater and realizes he has been at the edge of a slow approaching dust storm for several sols now and communicates it to NASA by arranging rocks on ground for satellite photos to pick it up.

NASA and Hermes are acutely aware that the approaching dust storm can mean life or death for Mark Watney and they can only hope for a positive outcome.

chapter 23 : Sol 476 - 497

  • by simultaneously measuring solar power output at 3 points along a straight line, 40 kms apart, Watney brilliantly estimates the direction of the approaching dust storm and goes south-east to move away from it, towards his target, the Schiaparelli crater. As he nears the end of the descent slope into the Schiaparelli crater, an accident causes the rover and and trailer to tumble and flip.

chapter 24 : Sol 498 - 504

  • Despite a 4 sol delay due to the rover accident, Watney eventually gets back on track and reaches the MAV at Ares 4 site at last. After a brief celebratory dance, he enters the airlock of the MAV.

chapter 25 : Sol 505 - 549

  • using the MAV, Watney contacts NASA for the first time since leaving the Hab. He strips down all unwanted weight from the MAV, as instructed by NASA and creates extra Hydrogen fuel from water to extend the final orbit of the MAV. On Hermes, mission pilot Martinez practices the remote launch of the MAV on the simulator. Commander Lewis recaps the rescue plan once again with the crew.

On Sol 549, for the 1st time, NASA allows Hermes to talk directly to Watney. Till then all communication was routed and filtered thru NASA. On Earth, NASA and the media anxiously watch the countdown, reduced to mere spectators for the upcoming space drama. Watney sits strapped to the MAV chair, awaiting a remote launch and wonders how he survived a year and half on Mars alone.

chapter 26 : Sol 549 / Hermes mission day 687

  • MAV lifts off, piloted remotely by Martinez from Hermes, but falls 68 km short of the target altitude.

The problems in rescuing Watney never end and suffice to say this chapter makes for a nail-biting action packed grand finale ! Worth reading this chapter twice !


Hope you enjoyed the book, this fan page and the movie.