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28 May 2015

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir has been called a Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

Ares 3 from NASA is the first manned mission to Mars. After a few unmanned explorations and fourteen flights to deliver equipment, Ares 3 is on Mars with six astronauts. They are to be there for less than a month and then use the Mars Ascent Vehicle, or MAV, to get back to their ship.

On day six a massive wind storm his the base. Due to needing everything to be as light as possible to get enough lift to get back into orbit, the MAV is fragile. If it tips more than 13 degrees off of the base, there will be no escape. As the winds get stronger, the mission commander orders an evacuation. Visibility is down to almost nothing.

Leaving teams of two, astronaut engineer and botanist Mark Watney is struck by part of an antenna, thrown backward into the dust and his crewmates think him dead. Commander Lewis spends as much time as she can looking for him, but has to get in the MAV to save the rest of her crew.

Watney is not dead. Because he landed face down, blood sealed the hole in his suit and prevented too much oxygen from escaping. Now he must figure out how to make enough food for six people to last one month last him four years until the next mission is due to land on Mars. As far as he knows, everyone on Earth thinks he is dead.

Weir has created a science fiction book that is sure to become a classic. Watney is a creative and humorous character who is a cross between Robinson Crusoe and MacGuyver. The science is as accurate as possible, both with his fixes and with NASA's reaction. Even readers who didn't know they liked science fiction will find this a great read. The Martian is sure to become a classic.

Weir, Andy. (2014). The Martian. New York: Broadway Books.

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