The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby bonzi » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:43 pm

Regarding the initial post here about Mark's data stick, a mission like that would obviously have petabytes of onboard storage, some of it portable and devoted to reading, listening and watching material. But then the Disco gag would be impossible... ;)

I suspected that Martian storm would indeed have only visibility effects, like the one in later chapters, but this did not put undue pressure to my suspension of disbelief. However, if the wind was strong enough to tip the MAV, it would surely blow the crew away as they make they run for MAV, wouldn't it?

BTW, I thought that CO2 cannot be electrolysed (electrochemically reduced, technically), but now I know better.
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby Olli » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:18 pm

bonzi wrote:However, if the wind was strong enough to tip the MAV, it would surely blow the crew away as they make they run for MAV, wouldn't it?


It's "silly analogy time" with Olli (I love making thouse up):

There's winds out there that propel boats and ships weighing TONS to a speed of several knots. Even against a current, sometimes.

Imagine a ship weighing 1000kg and it being sped up to 10kph.
Put a man weighing 100kg in the same position, why won't he be propelled to a 100kph?
Sails.

The crew just had less exposed surface, a difference mass/volume ratio, mass center, etc...it's (simplified) the same reason why hurricanes rip trees from the earth but often leave bushes (or grass) where they are. :-)
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby bonzi » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:30 am

Olli wrote:The crew just had less exposed surface, a difference mass/volume ratio, mass center, etc...

They do, and I think that it works to their disadvantage: bulky suits, high center of gravity (with life support backpacks), only two legs... MAV is heavy, with widely spread landing gear (or at least that's how I imagine it).
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby Olli » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:54 am

Interesting, I've imagined it as high, narrow, slim struts...no idea why... :-D

something like this maybe:

Image


except less sleek and longer struts...
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby bonzi » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:34 pm

Olli wrote:something like this maybe:

Exactly. Note that height of center of gravity is less than distance between strut "feet" - not so with bipedal, top-heavy humans.
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby sundog » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:59 pm

Okay, first I apologize for being late to the party here. But I just finished reading The Martian (on Kindle). Overall, I loved it, and recommended it to my wife, who is reading it now (she loves it too).

However, there were two plot holes (at least by my perception) that bothered me the whole time I was reading it. So here they are, and maybe Andy or somebody else can tell me why I shouldn't worry about these:

(1) Regarding the space suits. The crew's space suits left in the Hab play a key role in many of the projects Watney puts together, and in some cases, were critical to his survival. My question is, what were the members of the crew wearing when they dashed for the MAV to leave in the beginning? In chapter 1 it says "we all got in our suits and huddled in the middle of the Hab", then "we had to go out in the storm to get from the Hab to the MAV". See my problem?

(2) Regarding the loss of the comms antennas. Watney looks for them for a few days, then gives up. It seems out of character to me for him to give up so easily. Maybe he would quit looking for them, but as brilliant as he is, it seems unlikely to me that he wouldn't try to MacGyver up something from the equipment on hand. I mean, he spent weeks on the "farm" right? And then, along the same lines, he goes and retrieves Pathfinder, and is able to use it to communicate with Earth until its circuits get fried in the drill accident. Okay, I get that, but it had an antenna, right? Why couldn't he hook that antenna up to to the radio in the Hab? (Or should we assume the antenna somehow got fried in the drill short-circuit too?) Anyway, the antenna thing bothered me.

So that's it. I've said my piece. Thanks for a great book Andy.
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby Olli » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:51 pm

well, I think


1) is easy...if I supplied a mission to Mars where functioning space suits are VITAL to return to earth, even if only for getting back to the MAV...

I'd make sure there'd be a set of extras just in case. :D

2) I pathfinder worked because it had software that was able to triangulate earth. the hab only communicated on the surface, so even if it had the power to reach out to earth, Whatney would've had to point the antenna at earth manually...

that'd be explanation enough for me :)
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby sundog » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:42 pm

Good try, Olli, but you didn't quite satisfy me.

1) I agree it would have probably made sense to have second suits for everybody, but there was no mention of that in the story (it says on Sol 33 "one space suit for each crewmember, plus one spare"). Plus, Watney obviously didn't have a second one of his own, because it was mentioned that he couldn't wear his own because of the hole in it, so he had to wear somebody else's (and Johannsen's was too small).

2) So Watney couldn't have figured out how to point the Pathfinder antenna at Earth (or the Mars satellites?), even for short bursts? Also, in chapter 6, the NASA people say "he's got a radio, he just doesn't have a dish".
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby Olli » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:26 pm

hm... you're right.

I guess 1) is something that'd have to be fixed in a revision, easy enough, by just adding more than one spare or something ;)

2) yeah, but the dish he'd need if he wanted to hit earth without having to pinpoint it maybe would have to be very large? pathfinder is very small? no idea if that makes sense :)

no idea :)
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Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

Postby SubNuke » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:33 am

I think that Watney's USB stick should perish in some absolutely unlikely way during the trip to Mars...maybe accidentally microwaving from a comms dish??
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