The main takeaway from “The Martian” movie (2015): Humanity is doomed
I was finally able to sneak out and see Ridley Scott's new movie “The Martian”, starring Matt Damon. The movie had gotten good reviews by science buffs, noting that nearly all about it (except for the storm) was scientifically accurate. Mars’s atmosphere is so thin, 1% of Earth’s, that it would have never initiated the crisis that begins the drama in the first place: tilting a rocket and much less sweeping Matt Damon 100 feet into the air. I had liked very much “Interstellar”, which had also gotten similar positive comments for its scientific accuracy, having had a physicists as an advsor who even prepared equations on which the visual effects were based. I was therefore more than happy to see this movie.
However, by the end of “The Martian”, all I could think was how humans, having landed for the first time on a pristine planet, had left it polluted with a bunch of garbage. And this was only the result of one small seven member crew.
Garbage is everywhere in the movie. Various spacecraft that had been left on prior missions were used as the basis for technological fixes by the main protagonist: fixing telecoms to talk back with NASA, rendevouing back with the mother ship as it rickocheed back to save him, etc. In fact, in order to prepare one of the extra junk ships for escaping Mars’s gravity, Damon’s character is forced to remove all essential components from the upper landing: windows, the ship’s nose, control panels, all seating except for one, etc etc.
Where do they end up?
Damon carelessly throws them overboard, as if he were discarding a rotten banana, spewing the surrounding area with junk from the craft. Upon take off, all of this garbage is distributed even further by the ship’s rockets.
Great model for a kid’s ‘Don’t litter Mars’ commercial.
In fact, the only reason why Matt Damon’s character is able to survive the entire ordeal is precisely due to the fact that there was a bunch of garbage lying around: specifically the excrement of all other astronauts that had abandoned him. “I am going to have to science the shit out of this thing”, his character tells the self-recording minicam. And he literally does, using excrement as base to grow potato plants, which provide him with enough sustenance to last for a much longer amount of time than he was expected to live.
Towards the end, we suddenly shift to Matt Damon’s now hero astronaut character giving a speech to his students. In spite of the fact that he was warning them, noting that by going to space was simply putting their lives in danger, the atmosphere created by the movie and everyone’s smile suggested the complete opposite message. “Don’t worry. Whatever happens, you will always survive on a journey to Mars.”
Ridley Scott appears to have become NASA’s latest spokesperson at foolishly pursuing Jean Luke Picard’s, ‘going where no one has gone before”.
Forgotten in the movie’s script and message was perhaps the importance of our one and only spaceship: Mother Earth. Destroying it with all of our junk, will be destroying humanity's only chance of survival.
Just ask the water Olympic atheletes that will be competing in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) next year.