Study Guide

The Martian Science

By Andy Weir

Science

Mark Watney has straight-up blinded us with science. As the first man ever stranded on the planet Mars, Mark is forced to do a lot of scientific improvisation, using his brain power (not to mention copious amounts of duct tape) to create scientific solutions you'd never expect.

In other words, he's pretty much the illegitimate love child of MacGyver and Bill Nye, which might actually make him the most attractive man in the world. Even if you disagree with us on that count, you should at least be able to appreciate Mark for his ingenuity, imagination, and innovation. Now friends, please read on—for science!

Questions About Science

  1. How does Mark's specific scientific skillset help him survive on Mars?
  2. In what ways do Mark and NASA's approaches to science differ?
  3. What do NASA's interactions with the China National Space Administration tell us about scientists?

Chew on This

Mark Watney's brand of science is a unique one—instead of focusing on abstract theories, he spends his time finding practical solutions to very real problems.

While Mark has a loose, improvisational take of science, it often comes into serious conflict with NASA's by-the-books style.

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