MacGyver on Mars…
Author: Andy Weir
I’m confident that someday – maybe in the next couple of decades – humans will set foot on Mars. The red planet is just too tantalizing a target for a manned mission to be passed over for too much longer. But until that day, science fiction will have to be the only source of interplanetary adventure; and after reading Andy Weir’s remarkably entertaining novel, The Martian, I’m afraid that the real thing may turn out to be pretty dull.
Astronaut Mark Watney is the loneliest person in the solar system. Maybe also the unluckiest. One of the six members of Ares 3, the third in a series of manned missions to Mars in the not too distant future, he was mortally wounded by flying debris during an unexpected windstorm just six days into the mission. Assuming Watney was dead and trying to avoid further casualties in the storm, the rest of the crew obeyed NASA’s mission abort command, boarded the Mars ascent vehicle and evacuated the planet. But it turns out he wasn’t entirely dead yet. While generally one’s unexpected survival in the face of death is cause for celebration, in this case it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Watney is completely and utterly alone, many millions of miles from home. No one knows he’s there and they’re not planning to return to the planet for another four years. He’s royally screwed.