Study Guide

The Martian Chapter 7

By Andy Weir

Chapter 7

  • It's Day 63 and things are looking up—well, as much as they can be, given the circumstances. The water has been produced, the potatoes are "growing nicely" and there has been a distinct lack of explosions (7.1). What a dream, eh?
  • Although Mark doesn't know that NASA's watching, he also sees Ares 4 as his only chance for escape. Of course, that'll still require him to drive about 3,200 km to Schiaparelli Crater, where the Ares 4 Hab is located. (And he'll still have to wait four years.)
  • In order to make perilous trip possible, Mark will have to modify one of his rovers as if he were on Pimp My Ride: Mars Edition.
  • First, he takes Rover 1's battery and installs it in Rover 2. This helps, but it's not enough—especially because he has to expend a ton of energy on heat. Mars is freezing, and Mark's suit is getting cold. He gets himself a bit of extra charge by attaching a few of the Hab's solar cells as well.
  • Now that Rover 2 is completed, Mark prepares to test out his newfangled contraption in a mission he dubs "Sirius 1." He still hasn't solved the heat problem, so he throws on a few extra sweaters and calls it a day.
  • Sirius 1 doesn't go great. Though the rover runs like a Lamborghini, it's way too chilly out on the Martian surface for him to make it all the way to the Ares 4 site.
  • Enter the RTG. Before Mark and his crewmates arrived, the MAV was powered by something called the RTG, a "big box of plutonium" more dangerous than a nuke (7.83). As per mission protocol, Commander Lewis buried it south of the Hab and marked it with a giant green flag.
  • So why does this matter? Well, being a highly dangerous ball of energy, the RTG is hotter than the Fourth of July in South Florida.
  • All praises be to that giant green flag, because it only take Mark a few minutes to locate the buried RTG. This thing is hot—so hot, in fact, that Mark has to tear out some of the rover's insulation in order to stay temperate.
  • After running a successful test, looting the Hab's backup oxygen tanks, and prepping the Hab to self-water his potato field, Mark prepares for his most ambitious test yet. Wish him luck, guys.

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