The Martian: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Paper
The Science Fiction movie that I have decided to watch in order to write “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” paper is called “The Martian” directed by Ridley Scott. The movie was released in in October 12, 2015 making 630.2 million in the Box Office. The movie is about a group of astronaut’s finishing up an assignment on Mar’s when they were hit by a fierce dust storm having them believe one of the astronaut team member “Mark Watney” played by “Matt Damon” presumed dead, the group then packed up to return home leaving Mark on Mars by himself. When he wakes up, Mark discovers he has an antenna sticking out of his side, which means he’s both bleeding and suffocating to death. Mark also realized that he is only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded Mark must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. However, as fantastic as the movie is, they did show some unrealistic physic scenes in the movie which I will analyze are the dust storm that stranded Mark’s on Mars and Mark’s ability to lift physically massive objects. For the dust storm I will criticize the physical impossibility of it to even occur on Mars, much less its ability to throw around heavy objects. As for Mark’s super strength, I will discuss why Mark’s was able to lift things on Mars that he would otherwise not be able to on earth.
Therefore, let’s start with “The Bad”. The dust storm that led to Mark’s getting left on Mars could never happened. The movie describes the dust storm that occurred having 175 km/hr. in 1200 km diameter, bearing 24.21 degrees with the force of 8600 N which caused them to have almost zero visibility from all dust. Also, the storm was so strong that it ripped a communication array off of its mount and tossed it around to finally hitting the reception antenna and shot it through Mark’s side pulling him away from the rest of the group. The biggest problem physically with that sandstorm is that it cannot occurs on Mars the way that it is showed in the movie is due main reason, the atmospheric density on Mars. Mars atmosphere is approximately 0.8 kPa at sea level (Williams, M. January 10, 2018). Compared to Earth’s atmosphere at sea level is approximately 101 kPa (Williams, M. January 10, 2018). Which means that Mars atmosphere at sea level is only approximately 1% that of Earth’s. To get a better knowledge on what’s going of this, we have to understand what air density is.
Density by itself is a describing of how much “mass” takes up a certain volume. For example, we can say that the density of water is 1 g/ml3, that means one gram of water takes up one milliliter of volume. From this, it follows that air density is the amount of air that takes up a certain amount of volume. So, if the air density on Mars is 1% of that Earth’s, it means that there is less air occupying the same space on Mars. Another example is, if we were to hit a baseball on Mars as compared to on Earth (assuming the ball gravity is 9.8 m/s2 for both planets). If Babe Ruth were to hits a fast ball on Earth, let’s assume that the ball goes 200 feet before hitting the ground. Now, If Babe Ruth were to hits the same fastball in the same exact way but on Mars (assuming the gravity is the same as on Earth), the ball will go much further than 200 feet. That’s because the ball on Mars has less air to push out of the way than the ball on Earth (Williams, J. 2018). The lower the air density, the further thrown objects will go.
In the movie, Mark stated that Mars wind gusts can get up to 150km/hr. (Hille, K. September 18, 2015). However, these aren’t the hurricane-force winds that we are used to on earth because the air on earth is a lot less dense with nearly aren’t as much air hitting something when the wind is blowing. Therefore, while the air particles may be moving at 150 km/hr, there isn’t nearly as much air hitting on an object on Mars as there is on Earth. That means, a 150 km/hr wind gust on Mars is not nearly as intense as a 150 km/hr wind gust on Earth, simply because there isn’t nearly as much air hitting on Mars as there is on Earth. In fact, a 150 km/hr wind gust on Mars feels like a 15 km/hr wind gust on Earth (Howell, E. September 26, 2015). Which means that the colossal sandstorm that ripped a communication array out of its base and shot an antenna through Mark’s side could never have happened.
Since the dust storm could never happened, let me analyze what could happened on Mars. Which is “The Good” portion of this paper showing Mark’s ability to lift large objects, specifically a 200kg central panel from the Pathfinder probe. To my knowledge, the gravity on Mars is around -3.7 m/s2 (Williams, M. December 16, 2016), and the gravity on Earth is -9.8 m/s2. If we apply the physical definition of weight (), we see that a 200 kg object on Earth weights 1,960 N Whereas a 200kg object on Mars weights 740 N. Which means to Mark’s he is approximately 2.5 times stronger on Mars than he is on Earth, but does that also mean Mark’s would be able to lift a 200kg object by himself on Mars? I will be able to explain how Mark could physically lift large heavy objects on Mars. With examples, of the exercise called the Deadlift. Deadlift is simply how much weight a person can pick up off the ground. To start off, the average height of an American man is 1.75 meters and the average weight of an American man is 88.4 kilograms (Gill, S. February 14, 2018). Taking these average numbers, I imputed them into an average deadlift calculator. This calculator gives a person of a certain height, weight, and sex an average deadlift number. After putting the average numbers into the calculator, I got that a 1.75 meter tall 88 kilogram man averages a 1,636 N deadlift (Deadlift Standards for Men and Women).Then multiple the number by 2.5 gives us a maximum deadlift on Mars for an average man to be 4,090 N. Obviously, 740 N is substantially less than 4090 N, which means that Mark could really lift the central panel from the Pathfinder probe on Mars. Matter a fact, he could do it much easier than the movie showed.
In conclusion, Mark Watney could very well have picked up and moved the 200kg central panel from the pathfinder probe. Since the gravity on Mars is only -3.7m/s2, Mark is around 2.5 times stronger on Mars than he is on Earth. Since the average man can deadlift what would be a 4,090 N lift on Mars also the panel would weight 740 N on Mars, to that Mark could easily move that panel by himself. Lastly, the dust storm that causes Mark to be stranded on Mars could never happen because of the Air density of Mar’s atmosphere. Due to there being less air particles in the atmosphere, the wind ability to push things is severely hampered compared to the Earth’s ability to push things. In other words, the wind on Mars get up to 150 km/hr, to which it feels like 15 km/hr on earth that means there aren’t enough air particles to pick up and move heavy obstacles.
- Deadlift Standards for Men and Women (kg). (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2018, from https://strengthlevel.com/strength-standards/deadlift/kg#standardsMale
- Gill, S. (2018, February 14). What is the average weight for men? Retrieved December 6, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320917.php
- Hille, K. (2015, September 18). The Fact and Fiction of Martian Dust Storms. Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/the-fact-and-fiction-of-martian-dust-storms
- Williams, M. (2016, December 16). How Strong is the Gravity on Mars? Retrieved December 6, 2018, from https://www.universetoday.com/14859/gravity-on-mars/
- Williams, M. (2018, January 10). Mars Compared to Earth. Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://www.universetoday.com/22603/mars-compared-to-earth/
- Williams, J. Understanding Air Density and its Effects | Coast flight. (2018). Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://iflycoast.com/understanding-air-density-and-its-effects/
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