Acclaimed director Ridley Scott called upon NASA to help create a technically and visually accurate Mars in the latest novel-turned-film The Martian, starring Matt Damon.
Scott did not turn Andy Weir’s bestseller into a film without the Hollywood drama and humor, LA Times reports. But it is also scientifically and technically accurate, and it stands true to the human cooperation to “overcome major challenges” while in space, according to NASA’s director of planetary science Jim Green.
Weir agreed. “Even though it’s not being explained to you in detail, the science in the film is sound, and anyone can work backwards to prove it. Everything in ‘The Martian’ is either 100 percent accurate, or a slight improvement on what already exists today,” he said.
“We’re kind of on the cusp of being able to do everything that happens in the movie,” Damon said to Reuters, speaking of exploration in space. Damon added that with the right funding and attention, “this is going to be a part of our kids’ lives.”
Damon, Green, Scott and others spoke at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Tuesday. Also, Fox Century gave journalists tours of the facilities in an attempt to explain how The Martian reflects how close humans are to stepping foot on Mars.
“As soon as Ridley contacted us and we recognized that he wanted to paint that really accurate picture, it was easy for us to endorse the movie and then provide whatever kind of consultation and advice he needed to be able to execute on it,” Green said.
Fox released a new trailer for the film Wednesday, which demonstrated Mark Watney’s wit and his motivation to survive while he waits to be rescued. The story follows Mark Watney, whose colleagues leave him on Mars, thinking he had died in a storm. Watney–alive–must find a wy to make two months of supplies last four years, when a new crew is set to land. He has no way to contact anyone, so he befriends a GoPro camera.
The movie takes place on the ground, so it seems easier to grasp than recent movies like Interstellar and Gravity, Arizona State University’s director of the Center of Science and the Imagination Ed Finn said. Finn added that the film does not “push too far of where we are today technically.”
Though the story mainly sticks to reality, one possible falsehood in the film and in Weir’s novel remains: data from NASA’s Curiosity Rover shows that producing water on Mars may not be as trying as it was for Watney. Green said that now “we can tell astronauts, ‘Just bring your straw.'”
Green is hoping that the film inspires what he calls the “Mars generation,” CNET reports. NASA’s next steps in exploring Mars include launching a Mars lander in 2016, sending another rover to Mars in 2020 and sending humans in the 2030s.
The Martian will hit theaters in the U.S. Oct. 2.