The Martian by Andy Weir

What do we know about Mars? Mars, the Red Planet, is the fourth planet from the Sun and has two moons. It is about one half the size of Earth in diameter and has a surface full of canyons, dunes, and volcanoes. There is much less gravity on Mars than on Earth and if you weighed 100 lbs. [45 kg] on Earth you would weigh only 38 lbs. [17 kg] on Mars! Its atmosphere is not very human-friendly being made up of 96% carbon dioxide and it has an average temperature of -63 degrees celsius. A year on Mars is the equivalent of 687 Earth Days. Humanity has increasingly wondered whether there is “Life on Mars”, and knowing this new data and trying to work out how to survive in such a landscape, is what set Andy Weir, a self confessed nerd, on the path to writing his novel.

Check here for an infographic of Mars facts

NASA sent two rovers Spirit and Opportunity [June 10th & July 7th 2003] to search for water on Mars. The journey was a long one but they both landed safely [January 3rd and 24th 2004] . Check here if you are interested to see how they are doing. In February 2015 Opportunity had almost travelled a distance of 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers) an Olympic marathon, and a record for any vehicle on a world other than earth.

The Martian by Andy Weir is an exciting story about a man trying to survive on Mars, but what makes it even more interesting is that Andy Weir spent years researching all the scientific details of the story using NASA satellite images and Google Mars . He says, “Every part of the book is as scientifically accurate as I could make it, from the energy consumption of a rover to the exact process for reducing hydrazine fuel to liberate the hydrogen with which the protagonist could make water.”

Hugh Howey, the author of Wool says that this is “The best book I‘ve read in ages”. And is interesting to note that The Martian, like Wool, also started life on the web. According to Alexander Alter “A few fans asked him to sell the story on Amazon so that they could download it to e-readers. Mr. Weir had been giving his work away, but he began charging a modest amount because Amazon set the minimum price at 99 cents. He published the novel as a serial on the site in September 2012. It rose to the top of Amazon’s list of best-selling science-fiction titles. He sold 35,000 copies in three months. Agents and publishers and movie studios started circling. “

And so six years after Andy Weir began writing his book a film version directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon is scheduled for release in in the USA  later this year in November 2015.

Visit the author’s site here

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