Matt Damon, the man on Mars

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Martian’ skips hard parts of NASA getting to Mars.

We already know how astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) plans to survive on Mars after being stranded by his crew in The Martian, but the team at NASA has a Hail Mary strategy, too.NASA scientists and engineers were technical consultants on the big new space movie “The Martian” coming to screens Oct. 2, and they are proud of how realistically the movie portrays a Mars mission.

In the latest clip from the Ridley Scott film, below, NASA administrator Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) makes some big demands to his colleagues (Kristin Wiig, Benedict Wong) after disliking the stats he’s just heard about Mark’s status. “Get started, I’ll find you the money,” Teddy orders. They are based on briefings this week by experts at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Al., one of the places NASA is doing the work of getting to Mars. “Architecture” means an integrated design for the boosters, habitats, in-space propulsion, landers and rockets to do what we want to do on Mars, as one NASA planner put it Monday. That takes energy, and it takes time. “Every pound that you take to Mars and back to Earth (means) a certain amount of pounds that you have to launch from Earth,” Johnson said. Invest time and money now on advanced in-space propulsion systems and you delay the mission but might lower its ultimate cost. “The Martian” used a rocket lander to get onto and off Mars.

America also doesn’t have an amazing spaceship like the movie’s Hermes to transport crews between planets or the habitat for them to use on the Martian surface. America doesn’t have to do go that big, but building and launching the 23 rockets needed for one of NASA’s Mars scenarios would cost double-digit billions, too. It is designing crew habitats at Marshall, and it is building a small spaceship – the Orion capsule – that will likely have a role in whatever NASA does.

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