Study Guide

The Martian Chapter 8

By Andy Weir

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Chapter 8

  • Venkat is today's guest on CNN's Mark Watney Report, where host Cathy Warner is discussing the latest satellite imagery from Mars.
  • By now, everyone knows that Mark is "preparing Rover 2 for a long trip" (8.9). They assume he's heading for the Ares 4 site, which would be a disaster—his rover is not only inadequate for the journey, but the Ares 4 site won't have any supplies in it.
  • Afterwards, Venkat meets with Mindy, Teddy, and Bruce Ng, the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a NASA-run research organization. They're joined by Annie Montrose and Mitch Henderson, the flight director for Ares 3.
  • Since discovering that Mark was alive, Mindy has been given the task of monitoring him at all times. (Consider that a raise.)
  • Mitch is annoyed. He thinks they should notify the Ares 3 crew that Mark is alive, while Venkat and Teddy are hesitant because they want the crew to "concentrate on getting home" (8.82).
  • Regardless, the current plan is to use a probe originally meant for Ares 4 to send mark supplies. They'll need to launch the probe in a mere six months (way ahead of schedule), which requires them to bum a rocket booster off another probe, originally set to be launched to Saturn. #spaceproblems
  • Later that day, Mindy stops by Venkat's office. She tells him that Mark has just set off in the Rover—but, oddly—isn't heading towards the Ares 4 site. Hmm….
  • After some serious brainstorming, Venkat finally realizes what's going on—Mark is heading for Pathfinder. Mind = blown. In case you don't know, Pathfinder was one of the first unmanned Mars rovers that landed on the planet in the '90's.
  • So why is this such a big deal? Well, if Mark can get that thing up and running, he "can communicate" with NASA (8.191). This is a game-changer.

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