This chapter begins with an account detailing the delicate construction process for "the Hab canvas for Ares 3" (13.1). Foreshadow much?
Although it can get annoying to get daily lectures from the scientists at NASA, Mark is overjoyed to be able to communicate with Earth. In particular, e-mails from his family totally warm his heart.
Allow us to lay out the current plan for you: the Ares 4 crew will land at the Ares 3 site. They will then jerry-rig their MDV so it can reach the Ares 4 site, where they'll all hang out and be friends. Simple enough, right?
But here's another passage talking about the Hab canvas. This can't be good.
Based on NASA's calculations, Mark will have enough food to last him until Day 900. It'll be cutting thing close, but they're planning on sending him a goodie-filled supply probe around day 850.
Meanwhile, Mark has just gotten his "first e-mail from Hermes" (13.21). Unsurprisingly, it's a message from Commander Lewis expressing her guilt over leaving him, but Mark shrugs off her concerns in true stiff-upper-lip Watney-fashion.
Oh, and what's this? Another passage about the Hab canvas—this one following the transport of the now-completed fabric? Hmm…
The following day, Mark gets to work on his "second harvest" of potatoes (13.39). This guy must be eating a lot of French fries.
It's then that Mark notices a problem: the water reclaimer is acting funkier than James Brown. Although NASA wants to run tests before doing anything, Mark decides to just take the whole thing apart and fix it. It works.
We are now—once again—following the tumultuous journey of that charismatic piece of Hab canvas. This little strep of canvas made its home on the main airlock door, "pulling, stressing, weakening, stretching" each time Mark walks in and out (13.84). Yikes.
On cue, Mark wakes up "to the Hab shaking" from a strong dust storm (13.85). Once the skies clear, Mark cleans the solar cells, just as he has done every day for the last 119 days. This time is different, though.
The canvas explodes open as Mark stands in the airlock. Well, he's not left standing for long, because he (still inside the now-detached airlock) is launched a fair bit away. The Hab is completely deflated. The airlock is leaking. The poop has hit the fan.