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The Martian Andy Weir


Chapter1

LOGENTRY:SOL6

I’mprettymuchfucked.
That’smyconsideredopinion.
Fucked.
Sixdaysintowhatshouldbeagreatesttwomonthsofmylife,and
it’sturnedintoanightmare.
Idon’tevenknowwho’llreadthis.Iguesssomeonewillfindit
eventually.Maybeahundredyearsfromnow.
Fortherecord…Ididn’tdieonSol6.Certainlytherestofthecrew
thoughtIdid,andIcan’tblamethem.Maybethere’llbeadayofnational
mourningforme,andmyWikipediapagewillsay“MarkWatneyisthe
onlyhumanbeingtohavediedonMars.”
Andit’llberight,probably.CauseI’llsurelydiehere.JustnotonSol
6wheneveryonethinksIdid.
Let’ssee…wheredoIbegin?
TheAresprogram.MankindreachingouttoMarstosendpeopleto
anotherplanetfortheveryfirsttimeandexpandthehorizonsof

humanityblah,blah,blah.TheAres1crewdidtheirthingandcameback
heroes.Theygottheparadesandfameandloveoftheworld.
Ares2didthesamething,inadifferentlocationonMars.Theygota
firmhandshakeandahotcupofcoffeewhentheygothome.
Ares3.Well.Thatwasmymission.Well,notmineperse.
CommanderLewiswasincharge.Iwasjustoneofhercrew.Actually,I
wastheverylowestrankedmemberofthecrew.Iwouldonlybe“in
command”ofthemissionifIweretheonlyremainingperson.
Whatdoyouknow?I’mincommand.
Iwonderifthislogwillberecoveredbeforetherestofthecrewdieof
oldage?IpresumetheygotbacktoEarthallright.Well,guys,ifyou’re
readingthis:Itwasn’tyourfault.Youdidwhatyouhadtodo.Inyour
positionIwouldhavedonethesamething.Idon’tblameyou,andI’m


gladyousurvived.

IguessIshouldexplainhowMarsmissionswork,foranylayman
whomaybereadingthis.Wegottoearthorbitthenormalway,through
anordinaryshiptoHermes.AlltheAresmissionsuseHermestogetto
andfromMars.It’sreallybigandcostalotsoNASAonlybuiltone.
OncewegottoHermes,fouradditionalunmannedmissionsbrought
usfuelandsupplieswhilewepreparedforourtrip.Onceeverythingwas
ago,wesetoutforMars.Butnotveryfast.Gonearethedaysofheavy
chemicalfuelburnsandtrans-Marsinjectionorbits.
Hermesispoweredbyionengines.TheythrowArgonoutthebackof
theshipreallyfasttogetatinyamountofacceleration.Thethingis,it
doesn'ttakemuchreactantmass,soalittleArgon(andanuclearreactor
topowerthings)letusaccelerateconstantlythewholewaythere.You'd
beamazedathowfastyoucangetgoingwithatinyaccelerationovera
longtime.
Icouldregaleyouwithtalesofhowwehadgreatfunonthetrip,butI
won’t.Wedidhavefun,butIdon’tfeellikerelivingitrightnow.Suffice
ittosaywegottoMars124dayslaterwithoutstranglingeachother.
Fromthere,wetooktheMDV(MarsDescentVehicle)tothesurface.
TheMDVisbasicallyabigcanwithsomelightthrustersandparachutes
attached.ItssolepurposeistogetsixhumansfromMarsorbittothe
surfacewithoutkillinganyofthem.
AndnowwecometotherealtrickofMarsexploration:Havingall
ourshitthereinadvance.

Atotalof14unmannedmissionsdepositedeverythingwewouldneed
forsurfaceoperations.Theytriedtheirbesttolandallthesupplyvessels
inthesamegeneralarea,anddidareasonablygoodjob.Suppliesaren’t
nearlysofragileashumansandcanhitthegroundreallyhard.Butthey
tendedtobouncearoundalot.
Naturally,theydidn’tsendustoMarsuntilthey’dconfirmedallthe
supplieshadmadeittothesurfaceandtheircontainersweren’tbreached.
Starttofinish,includingsupplymissions,aMarsmissiontakesabout3
years.Infact,therewereAres3suppliesenroutetoMarswhiletheAres


2crewwereontheirwayhome.
Themostimportantpieceoftheadvancesupplies,ofcourse,wasthe
MAV.The“MarsAscentVehicle.”Thatwashowwewouldgetbackto
Hermesaftersurfaceoperationswerecomplete.TheMAVwassoftlanded(asopposedtotheballoonbounce-festtheothersupplieshad).Of
course,itwasinconstantcommunicationwithHouston,andiftherewere
anyproblemswithit,wewouldpassbyMarsandgobacktoEarth
withouteverlanding.
TheMAVisprettycool.Turnsout,throughaneatsetofchemical
reactionswiththeMartianatmosphere,foreverykilogramofhydrogen
youbringtoMars,youcanmake13kilogramsoffuel.It’saslow
process,though.Ittakes24monthstofillthetank.That’swhytheysent
itlongbeforewegothere.
YoucanimaginehowdisappointedIwaswhenIdiscoveredtheMAV
wasgone.

Itwasaridiculoussequenceofeventsthatledtomealmostdying.
Thenanevenmoreridiculoussequencethatledtomesurviving.
Themissionisdesignedtohandlesandstormgustsupto150km/hr.
SoHoustongotunderstandablynervouswhenwegotwhackedwith175
km/hrwinds.Weallgotinoursuitsandhuddledinthemiddleofthe
Hab,justincaseitlostpressure.ButtheHabwasn’ttheproblem.
TheMAVisaspaceship.Ithasalotofdelicateparts.Itcanputup
withstormstoacertainextentbutitcan’tjustgetsandblastedforever.
Afteranhourandahalfofsustainedwind,NASAgavetheordertoabort.
Nobodywantedtostopamonth-longmissionafteronlysixdaysbutif
theMAVtookanymorepunishmentwe’dallgetstrandeddownhere.
WehadtogooutinthestormtogetfromtheHabtotheMAV.That
wasgoingtoberisky,butwhatchoicedidwehave?
Everyonemadeitbutme.
Ourmaincommunicationsdish,whichrelayedsignalsfromtheHab
toHermes,actedlikeaparachute,gettingtornfromitsfoundationand
carriedwiththetorrent.Alongtheway,itcrashedthroughthereception
antennaarray.Thenoneofthoselongthinantennaeslammedintome


endfirst.IttorethroughmysuitlikeabulletthroughbutterandIfeltthe
worstpainofmylifeasitrippedopenmyside.Ivaguelyremember
suddenlyhavingthewindknockedoutofme(pulledoutofme,really)
andmyearspoppingpainfullyasthepressureofmysuitescaped.
ThelastthingIrememberwasseeingJohanssenhopelesslyreaching
outtowardme.

Iawoketotheoxygenalarminmysuit.Asteady,obnoxiousbeeping
thateventuallyrousedmefromadeepandprofounddesiretojustfucking
die.
Thestormhadabated;Iwasfacedown,almosttotallyburiedinsand.
AsIgroggilycameto,IwonderedwhyIwasn’tmoredead.
Theantennahadenoughforcetopunchthroughthesuitandmyside,
butthenitgotstoppedbymypelvis.Sotherewasonlyoneholeinthe
suit(andaholeinme,ofcourse).
Ihadbeenknockedbackquiteawaysandrolleddownasteephill.
SomehowIlandedfacedown,whichforcedtheantennatoastrongly
obliqueanglethatputalotoftorqueontheholeinthesuit.Itmadea
weakseal.
Then,thecopiousbloodfrommywoundtrickleddowntowardthe
hole.Asthebloodreachedthesiteofthebreach,thewaterinitquickly
evaporatedfromtheairflowandlowpressure,leavingonlyagunky
residuebehind.Morebloodcameinbehinditandwasalsoreducedto
gunk.Eventually,thebloodsealedthegapsaroundtheholeandreduced
theleaktosomethingthesuitcouldcounteract.
Thesuitdiditsjobadmirably.Seeingthedropinpressure,it
constantlyfloodeditselfwithairfrommynitrogentanktoequalize.Once
theleakbecamemanageable,itonlyhadtotricklenewairinslowlythe
relievetheairlost.
Afterawhile,theCO2(carbondioxide)absorbersinthesuitwere
expended.That’sreallythelimitingfactortolifesupport.Notthe
amountofoxygenyoubringwithyou,buttheamountofCO2youcan
remove.IntheHab,wehadtheOxygenator,alargepieceofequipment
thatcouldbreakCO2apartandgivetheoxygenback.Butthespacesuits


hadtobeportable,sotheyusedasimplechemicalabsorptionprocess
withexpendablefilters.I’dbeenasleeplongenoughthatmyfilterswere
useless.
Thesuitsawthisproblemandmovedintoanemergencymodethe
engineerscall“bloodletting”.HavingnowaytoseparateouttheCO2,the
suitdeliberatelyventedairtotheMartianatmosphere,thenback-filled
withnitrogen.Betweenthebreachandthebloodletting,itquicklyranout
ofnitrogen.Allithadleftwasmyoxygentank.
Soitdidtheonlythingitcouldtokeepmealive.Itstartedbackfillingwithpureoxygen.Inowriskeddyingfromoxygentoxicity,asthe
excessivelyhighamountofoxygenthreatenedtoburnupmynervous
system,lungs,andeyes.Anironicdeathforsomeonewithaleakyspace
suit:toomuchoxygen.
Everystepofthewaywouldhavehadbeepingalarms,alerts,and
warnings.Butitwasthehigh-oxygenwarningthatwokeme.
Thesheervolumeoftrainingforaspacemissionisastounding.I
spentaweekbackonEarthpracticingemergencyspacesuitdrills.Iknew
whattodo.
Carefullyreachingtothesideofmyhelmet,Igotthebreachkit.It’s
nothingmorethanafunnelwithavalveatthesmallend,andan
unbelievablystickyresinonthewideend.Theideaisyouhavethevalve
openandstickthewideendoverahole.Theaircanescapethroughthe
valve,soitdoesn’tinterferewiththeresinmakingagoodseal.Thenyou
closethevalveandyou’vesealedthebreach.
Thetrickypartwasgettingtheantennaoutoftheway.Ipulleditout
asfastasIcould,wincingasthesuddenpressuredropdizziedmeand
madethewoundinmysidescreaminagony.
Igotthebreachkitovertheholeandsealedit.Itheld.Thesuitbackfilledthemissingairwithyetmoreoxygen.Checkingmyarmreadouts,I
sawthesuitwasnowat85%oxygen.Forreference,Earth’satmosphere
isabout21%.I’dbeok,solongasIdidn’tspendtoomuchtimelikethat.

IstumbledupthehillbacktowardtheHab.AsIcrestedtherise,Isaw
somethingthatmademeveryhappyandsomethingthatmademevery


sad:TheHabwasin-tact(yay!)andtheMAVwasgone(boo!).
RightthatmomentIknewIwasscrewed.ButIdidn’twanttojustdie
outonthesurface.IlimpedbacktotheHabandfumbledmywayintoan
airlock.Assoonasitequalized,Ithrewoffmyhelmet.
EnteringtheHab,Idoffedthesuitandgotmyfirstgoodlookatthe
injury.Itwouldneedstitches.Fortunately,allofushadbeentrainedin
basicmedicalprocedures,andtheHabhadexcellentmedicalsupplies.A
quickshotoflocalanesthetic,irrigatethewound,9stitchesandIwas
done.I’dbetakingantibioticsforacoupleofweeks,butotherthanthat
I’dbefine.
Iknewitwashopeless,butItriedfiringupthecommunicationarray.
Nosignal,ofcourse.Theprimarysatellitedishhadbrokenoff,
remember?Andittookthereceptionantennaewithit.TheHabhad
secondaryandtertiarycommunicationsystems,buttheywerebothjust
fortalkingtotheMAV,whichwoulduseitsmuchmorepowerful
systemstorelaytoHermes.Thingis,thatonlyworksiftheMAVisstill
around.
IhadnowaytotalktoHermes.Intime,Icouldlocatethedishouton
thesurface,butitwouldtakeweeksformetorigupanyrepairs,andthat
wouldbetoolate.Inanabort,Hermeswouldleaveorbitwithin24hours.
Theorbitaldynamicsmadethetripsaferandshortertheearlieryouleft,
sowhywaitfornoreasonjusttomakethetriptakelonger?
Checkingoutmysuit,Isawtheantennahadplowedthroughmybiomonitorcomputer.WhenonanEVA,allthecrew’ssuitsarenetworked
sowecanseeeachothersstatus.Therestofthecrewwouldhaveseenthe
pressureinmysuitdroptonearly0,followedimmediatelybymybiosignsgoingflat.AddtothatIwassenttumblingdownahillwithaspear
throughmeinthemiddleofasandstorm…yeah.TheythoughtIwas
dead.Howcouldtheynot?
Theymayhaveevenhadabriefdiscussionaboutrecoveringmybody,
butregulationswereclear.IntheeventacrewmandiedonMars,he
stayedonMars.LeavinghisbodybehindreducedweightfortheMAVon
thetripback.Thatmeantmoredisposablefuelandalargermarginof
errorforthereturnthrust.Nopointingivingthatupforsentimentality.



Sothat’sthesituation.I’mstrandedonMars.Ihavenowayto
communicatewithHermesorEarth.EveryonethinksI’mdead.I’mina
Habdesignedtolast31days.
IftheOxygenatorbreaksdown,I’llsuffocate.IftheWaterReclaimer
breaksdown,I’lldieofthirst.IftheHabbreaches,I’lljustkindof
explode.Ifnoneofthosethingshappen,I’lleventuallyrunoutoffood
andstarvetodeath.
Soyeah.I’mfucked.


Chapter2

LOGENTRY:SOL7

Ok,I’vehadagoodnight’ssleep,andthingsdon’tseemashopeless
astheydidyesterday.
TodayItookstockofsupplies,anddidaquickEVAtocheckupon
theexternalequipment.Here’smysituation:
Thesurfacemissionwassupposedtobe31days.Forredundancy,the
supplyprobeshadenoughfoodtolastthewholecrew56days.Thatway
ifoneortwoprobeshadproblems,we'dstillhaveenoughfoodto
completethemission.
Weweresixdaysinwhenallhellbrokeloose,sothatleavesenough
foodtofeedsixpeoplefor50days.I’mjustoneguy,soit’lllastme300
days.Andthat’sifIdon’trationit.SoI’vegotafairbitoftime.
TheHabstooduptothestormwithoutanyproblems.Outside,things
aren’tsorosy.Ican’tfindthesatellitedish;itprobablygotblown
kilometersaway.
TheMAVisgone,ofcourse.MycrewmatestookituptoHermes.
Thoughthebottomhalf(thelandingstage)isstillthere.Noreasonto
takethatbackupwhenweightistheenemy.Itincludesthelandinggear,
thefuelplant,andanythingelseNASAfigureditwouldn’tneedforthe
tripbackuptoorbit.
TheMDVisonitssideandthere’sabreachinthehull.Lookslikethe
stormrippedthecowlingoffthereservechute(whichwedidn’thaveto
useonlanding).OncethechutewasexposeditdraggedtheMDVallover
theplace,smashingitagainsteveryrockinthearea.NotthattheMDV
wouldbemuchusetome.Itsthrusterscan’tevenliftitsownweight.But
itmighthavebeenvaluableforparts.Mightstillbe.
Bothroversarehalf-buriedinsand,butthey’reingoodshape
otherwise.Theirpressuresealsarein-tact.Makessense.Operating
procedureifastormhitsistostopmotionandwaitforthestormtopass.
They’remadetostanduptopunishment.I’llbeabletodigthemoutwith


adayorsoofwork.
I’velostcommunicationwiththeweatherstations,placedakilometer
awayfromtheHabin4directions.Theymightbeinperfectworking
orderforallIknow.TheHab’scommunicationsaresoweakrightnowit
probablycan’tevenreachakilometer.
Thesolarcellarraywascovereditinsand,renderingituseless(hint:
solarcellsneedsunlighttomakeelectricity).ButonceIsweptthemoff,
theyreturnedtofullefficiency.WhateverIendupdoing,I’llhaveplenty
ofpowerforit.200squaremetersofsolarcells,withhydrogenfuelcells
tostoreplentyofreserve.AllIneedtodoissweepthemoffeveryfew
days.
Thingsindoorsaregreat,thankstotheHab’ssturdydesign.
IranafulldiagnosticontheOxygenator.Twice.It’sperfect.If
anythinggoeswrongwithit,thereisashort-termspareIcanuse.Butit’s
solelyforemergencyusewhilerepairingthemainone.Thesparedoesn’t
actuallypullCO2apartandrecapturetheoxygen.ItjustabsorbstheCO2
thesamewaythespacesuitsdo.It’sintendedtolast5daysbeforeit
saturatesthefilters,whichmeans30daysforme(justoneperson
breathing,insteadofsix).Sothere’ssomeinsurancethere.
TheWaterReclaimerisworkingfine,too.Thebadnewsisthere’sno
backup.Ifitstopsworking,I’llbedrinkingreservewaterwhileIrigupa
primitivedistillerytoboilpiss.Also,I’lllosehalfaliterofwaterperday
tobreathinguntilthehumidityintheHabreachesitsmaximumandwater
startscondensingoneverysurface.ThenI’llbelickingthewalls.Yay.
Anyway,fornow,noproblemswiththeWaterReclaimer.
Soyeah.Food,water,shelteralltakencareof.I’mgoingtostart
rationingfoodrightnow.Mealsareprettyminimalalready,butIthinkI
caneata3/4portionpermealandstillbeallright.Thatshouldturnmy
300daysoffoodinto400.Foragingaroundthemedicalarea,Ifoundthe
mainbottleofvitamins.There’senoughmultivitaminstheretolastyears.
SoIwon’thaveanynutritionalproblems(thoughI’llstillstarvetodeath
whenI’moutoffood,nomatterhowmanyvitaminsItake).
Themedicalareahasmorphineforemergencies.Andthere’senough
thereforalethaldose.I’mnotgoingtoslowlystarvetodeath,I’lltell


youthat.IfIgettothatpoint,I’lltakeaneasierwayout.

Everyoneonthemissionhadtwospecialties.I’mabotanistand
mechanicalengineer.Basically,Iwasthemission’sfix-itmanwho
playedwithplants.Themechanicalengineeringmightsavemylifeif
somethingbreaks.
I’vebeenthinkingabouthowtosurvivethis.It’snotcompletely
hopeless.There’llbehumansbackonMarsinaboutfouryearswhenAres
4arrives(assumingtheydidn’tcanceltheprograminthewakeofmy
“death”).
Ares4willbelandingattheSchiaparelliCrater,whichisabout
3,200kmawayfrommylocationhereintheAcidaliaPlanitia.Nowayfor
metogetthereonmyown.ButifIcouldcommunicate,Imightbeable
togetarescue.Notsurehowthey’dmanagethatwiththeresourceson
hand,butNASAhasalotofsmartpeople.
Sothat’smymissionnow.FindawaytocommunicatewithEarth.IfI
can’tmanagethat,findawaytocommunicatewithHermeswhenit
returnsin4yearswiththeAres4crew.
Ofcourse,Idon’thaveanyplanforsurviving4yearson1yearof
food.Butonethingatatimehere.Fornow,I’mwellfedandhavea
purpose:“Fixthedamnradio”.


LOGENTRY:SOL10

Well,I’vedonethreeEVAsandhaven’tfoundanyhintofthe
communicationdish.
Idugoutoneoftheroversandhadagooddrivearound,butafterdays
ofwanderingIthinkit’stimetogiveup.Thestormprobablyblewthe
dishfarawayandthenerasedanydrag-marksorscuffsthatmighthave
ledtoatrail.Probablyburiedit,too.
Ispentmostoftodayoutatwhat’sleftofthecommunicationarray.
It’sreallyasorrysight.ImayaswellyelltowardEarthforallthegood
thatdamnedthingwilldome.


IcouldthrowtogetherarudimentarydishoutofmetalIfindaround
thebase,butthisisn’tsomewalkie-talkieI’mworkingwithhere.
CommunicatingfromMarstoEarthisaprettybigdeal,andrequires
extremelyspecializedequipment.Iwon’tbeabletowhipsomethingup
withtinfoilandgum.
IneedtorationmyEVAsaswellasfood.TheCO2filtersarenot
cleanable.Oncethey’resaturated,they’redone.Themissionaccounted
fora4-hourEVApercrewmemberperday.Fortunately,CO2filtersare
lightandsmallsoNASAhadtheluxuryofsendingmorethanweneeded.
Alltold,Ihaveabout1500hoursworthofCO2filters.Afterthat,any
EVAsIdowillhavetobemanagedwithbloodlettingtheair.
1500hoursmaysoundlikealot,butI’mfacedwithspendingatleast
4yearshereifI’mgoingtohaveanyhopeofrescue,withaminimumof
severalhoursperweekdedicatedtosweepingoffthesolararray.
Anyway.NoneedlessEVAs.

Inothernews,I’mstartingtocomeupwithanideaforfood.My
botanybackgroundmaycomeinusefulafterall.
WhybringabotanisttoMars?Afterall,it’sfamousfornothaving
anythinggrowinghere.Well,theideawastofigureouthowwellthings
growinMartiangravity,andseewhat,ifanything,wecandowith
Martiansoil.Theshortansweris:quitealot…almost.Martiansoilhas
thebasicbuildingblocksneededforplantgrowth,butthere’salotof
stuffgoingoninEarthsoilthatMarssoildoesn’thave,evenwhenit’s
placedinanEarth-atmosphereandgivenplentyofwater.Bacterial
activity,certainnutrientsprovidedbyanimallife,etc.Noneofthatis
happeningonMars.Oneofmytasksforthemissionwastoseehow
plantsgrowhere,invariouscombinationsofEarthorMarssoiland
atmosphere.
That’swhyIhaveasmallamountofEarthsoilandabunchofplant
seedswithme.
Ican’tgettooexcited,however.It’sabouttheamountofsoilyou’d
putinawindowplanter-box,andtheonlyseedsIhaveareafewspecies
ofgrassandferns.They’rethemostruggedandeasilygrownplantson


earth,soNASApickedthemasthetestsubjects.
SoIhavetwoproblems:notenoughdirt,andnothingedibletoplant
init.
ButI’mabotanist,damnit.Ishouldbeabletofindawaytomake
thishappen.IfIdon’t,I’llbeareallyhungrybotanistinaboutayear.


LOGENTRY:SOL11

IwonderhowtheCubsaredoing.


LOGENTRY:SOL14

IgotmyundergraddegreeattheUniversityofChicago.Halfthe
peoplewhostudiedbotanywerehippieswhothoughttheycouldreturnto
somenaturalworldsystem.Somehowfeeding7billionpeoplethrough
puregathering.Theyspentmostoftheirtimeworkingoutbetterwaysto
growpot.Ididn’tlikethem.I’vealwaysbeeninitforthescience,notfor
anyNewWorldOrderbullshit.
Whentheymadecompostheapsandtriedtoconserveeverylittle
ounceoflivingmatter,Ilaughedatthem.“Lookatthesillyhippies!”I
wouldscoff.“Lookattheirpatheticattemptstosimulateacomplex
globalecosystemintheirbackyard.”
OfcoursenowI’mdoingexactlythat.I’msavingeveryscrapof
biomatterIcanfind.EverytimeIfinishameal,theleftoversgotothe
compostbucket.Asforotherbiologicalmaterial…
TheHabhassophisticatedtoilets.Shitisusuallyvaccum-dried,then
accumulatedinsealedbagstobediscardedonthesurface.
Notanymore!
Infact,IevendidanEVAtorecoverthepreviousbagsofshitfrom
beforethecrewleft.Beingcompletelydesiccated,thisparticularshit
didn’thavebacteriainitanymore,butitstillhadcomplexproteinsand
wouldserveasusefulmanure.Addingittowaterandactivebacteria


wouldquicklygetitinundated,replacinganypopulationkilledbythe
ToiletOfDoom.
Ifoundabigcontainerandfilleditwithabitofwater,thenaddedthe
driedshit.Sincethen,I’veaddedmyownshittoitaswell.Theworseit
smells,themoresuccessfulthingsaregoing.That’sthebacteriaatwork!
OnceIgetsomeMartiansoilinhere,Icanmixintheshitandspread
itout.ThenIcansprinkletheEarthsoilontop.Youmightnotthinkthat
wouldbeanimportantstep,butitis.Therearedozensofspeciesof
bacterialivinginEarthsoil,andthey'recriticaltoplantgrowth.They'll
spreadoutandbreedlike...well,likeabacterialinfection..
Withinaweek,theMartiansoilwillbereadyforplantstogerminate
in.ButIwon’tplantyet.I’llspreaditoutoveradoubledarea.It’ll
“infect”thenewMartiansoil.Afteranotherweek,I’lldoubleitagain.
Andsoon.Ofcourse,allthewhile,I’llbeaddingallnewmanuretothe
effort.
Myassholeisdoingasmuchtokeepmealiveasmybrain.
Thisisn’tanewconceptIjustcameupwith.Peoplehavespeculated
onhowtomakecropsoiloutofMartiandirtfordecades.I’lljustbe
puttingittothetestforthefirsttime.
Isearchedthroughthefoodsuppliesandfoundallsortsofthingsthat
Icanplant.Peas,forinstance.Plentyofbeans,too.Ialsofoundseveral
potatoes.If*any*ofthemcanstillgerminateaftertheirordeal,that’llbe
great.Withanearlyinfinitesupplyofvitamins,allIneedarecaloriesof
anykindtosurvive.
Thetotalfloor-spaceoftheHabisabout92squaremeters.Iplanto
dedicateallofittothisendeavor.Idon’tmindwalkingondirt.It’llbea
lotofwork,butI’mgoingtoneedtocovertheentirefloortoadepthof
10cm.ThatmeansI’llhavetotransport9.2cubicmetersofMartiansoil
intotheHab.Icangetmaybe1/10thofacubicmeterinthroughthe
airlockatatime,andit’llbebackbreakingworktocollectit.Butinthe
end,ifeverythinggoestoplan,I’llhave92squaremetersofcroppable
soil.
HellyeahI’mabotanist!Fearmybotanypowers!




LOGENTRY:SOL15

Ugh!Thisisbackbreakingwork!
Ispent12hourstodayonEVAstobringdirtintotheHab.Ionly
managedtocoverasmallcornerofthebase,maybe5squaremeters.At
thisrateit’lltakemeweekstogetallthesoilin.Buthey,timeisone
thingI’vegot.
ThefirstfewEVAswereprettyinefficient;mefillingsmall
containersandbringingtheminthroughtheairlock.ThenIgotwiseand
justputonebigcontainerintheairlockitselfandfilledthatwithsmall
containerstillitwasfull.Thatspedthingsupalotbecausetheairlock
takesabout10minutestogetthrough.
Iacheallover.AndtheshovelsIhavearemadefortakingsamples,
notheavydigging.Mybackiskillingme.Iforagedinthemedical
suppliesandfoundsomeVicodin.Itookitabout10minutesago.Should
bekickinginsoon.
Anyway,it’snicetoseeprogress.Timetostartgettingthebacteriato
workontheseminerals.Afterlunch.No3/4rationtoday.I’veearneda
fullmeal.


LOGENTRY:SOL16

OnecomplicationIhadn’tthoughof:Water.
TurnsoutbeingonthesurfaceofMarsforafewmillionyears
eliminatesallthewaterinthesoil.Mymaster’sdegreeinbotanymakes
meprettysureplantsneedwetdirttogrowin.Nottomentionthe
bacteriathathastoliveinitfirst.
Fortunately,Ihavewater.ButnotasmuchasIwant.Tobeviable,
soilneeds40litersofwaterpercubicmeter.Myoverallplancallsfor9.2
cubicmetersofsoil.SoI’lleventuallyneed368litersofwatertofeedit.
TheHabhasanexcellentWaterReclaimer.Besttechnologyavailable
onEarth.SoNASAfigured“whysendalotofwaterupthere?Justsend


enoughforanemergency.”Humansneed3litersofwaterperdaytobe
comfortable.Theygaveus50literseach.Thereare300literstotalinthe
Hab.
LookslikeIwon’tbeabletocoverthewholesurfaceoftheHabwith
fertilesoil.I’mwillingtodedicateallbutanemergency50literstothe
cause.ThatmeansIcanfeed62.5squaremetersatadepthof10cm.
About2/3oftheHab’sfloor.It’llhavetodo.Anyway,I’veonlygota
paltry5squaremeterscoveredatthemoment.
Afterthat,thingsgotdisgusting.Ispentthreehoursspreadingshiton
Martiansand.Ididn’thavetodoitwithmyhands,atleast.
IspreadthesandoutinacorneroftheHab,about10cmthick.I
waddedupafewblanketsanduniformsfrommydepartedcrewmatesto
serveasoneedgeofaplanterbox(withthecurvedwallsoftheHabbeing
therestoftheperimeter).ThenIsacrificed20litersofpreciouswaterto
thedirtgods.
5squaremeterswasaboutrightfortheamountofmanureIhad
handy.Idumpedmybigcontainero’shitontothesoilandnearlypuked
fromthesmell.
Thatsmell’sgoingtostickaroundforawhile,too.It’snotlikeIcan
openawindow.Still,yougetusedtoit.Imixedthissoilandshittogether
withashovel,andspreaditoutevenlyagain.ThenIsprinkledtheEarth
soilontop.Gettowork,bacteria.I’mcountingonyou.
Inothernews,todayisThanksgiving.Myfamilywillbegatheringin
Chicagofortheusualfeastatmyparent'shouse.Myguessisitwon'tbe
muchfun,whatwithmehavingdied11daysago.Hell,theyprobablyjust
gotdonegatheringformyfuneral.
Iwonderifthey'lleverfindoutwhatreallyhappened.


LOGENTRY:SOL22

Wow.Thingsreallycamealong.
Igotallthesandinandreadytogo.2/3ofthebaseisnowdirt.And
todayIexecutedmyfirstdirt-doubling.It'sbeenaweek,andtheformer


Martiansoilwasrichandlovely.TwomoredoublingsandIwillhave
coveredthewholefield.
Allthatworkwasgreatformymorale.Itgavemesomethingtodo.
Butafterthingssettleddownabit,andIhaddinnerwhilelisteningto
Johanssen’sBeatlesmusiccollection,Igotdepressedagain.
Doingthemath,thiswon’tkeepmefromstarving.
Mybestbetformakingcaloriesispotatoes.Theygrowprolifically
andhaveareasonablecaloriccontent(770caloriesperkg).I’mpretty
suretheonesIhavewillgerminate.ProblemisIcan’tgrowenoughof
them.In62squaremeters,Icouldgrowmaybe150kgofpotatoesin400
days(thetimeIhavebeforerunningoutoffood).That’sagrandtotalof
115,500calories,asustainableaverageof288caloriesperday.Withmy
heightandweight,ifI’mwillingtostarvealittle,Ineed1500calories
perday.
Notevenclose.
SoIcan’tjustliveoffthelandforever.ButIcanextendmylife.The
potatoeswilllastme76days.
Potatoesgrowcontinually,sointhose76days,Icangrowanother
22,000caloriesofpotatoes,whichwilltidemeoverforanother15days.
Afterthat,it’skindofpointlesstocontinuethetrend.Alltolditbuysme
about90days.
SonowI’llstartstarvingtodeathonSol490insteadofSol400.It’s
progress,butanyhopeofsurvivalrestsonmesurvivinguntilSol1412,
whenAres4willland.
There’saboutathousanddaysoffoodIdon’thave.AndIdon’thave
aplanforhowtogetit.
Shit.


Chapter3

LOGENTRY:SOL25

RememberthoseoldmathquestionsyouhadinAlgebraclass?Where
waterisenteringacontaineratacertainrateandleavingatadifferent
rateandyouneedtofigureoutwhenit’llbeempty?Well,thatconceptis
criticaltothe“MarkWatneydoesn’tdie”projectI’mworkingon.
Ineedtocreatecalories.AndIneedenoughtolastfouryears.Ifigure
ifIdon’tgetrescuedbyAres4,I’mdeadanyway.Sothat’smytarget:
fouryears.
Ihaveplentyofmultivitamins;overdoublewhatIneed.Andthere’s
fivetimestheminimumproteinineachfoodpack,socarefulrationingof
portionstakescareofmyproteinneedsforatleastfouryears.Mygeneral
nutritionistakencareof.Ijustneedcalories.
Ineed1500calorieseveryday.Ihave400daysoffoodtostartoff
with.SohowmanycaloriesdoIneedtogenerateperdayalongtheentire
timeperiodtostayalivefor1400daystotal(thetimetillAres4arrives)?
I’llspareyouthemath.Theanswerisacool1000.Ineedtocreate
1000caloriesperdaywithmyfarmingeffortstosurviveuntilAres4gets
here.Actually,alittlemorethanthat,becauseit’ssol25rightnowandI
haven’tactuallyplantedanythingyet.
Withmy62squaremetersoffarmland,I’llbeabletocreateabout
288caloriesperday.Ineedtobringthatupto1000.Ineedfourtimesmy
currentplan’sproductiontosurvive.
Ineedmoresurfaceareaforfarming,andIneedwatertohydratethe
soil.Solet’staketheproblemsoneatatime.
HowmuchfarmlandcanIreallymake?
Thereare92squaremetersintheHab.Let’ssayIcouldmakeuseof
allofit.
Also,therearefiveunusedbunks.Let’ssayIputsoilinonthem,too.
They’re2squaremeterseach,givingme10moresquaremeters.So
we’reupto102.


TheHabhasthreelabtables,eachabout2squaremeters.Iwantto
keeponeformyownuse,leavingtwoforthecause.That’sanotherfour
squaremeters,bringingthetotalto106.
IhavetwoMartianrovers.Theyhavepressureseals,allowingthe
occupantstodriveinease,withoutspacesuits,astheyspentlongperiods
traversingthesurface.They’retoocrampedtoplantcropsin,andIwant
tobeabletodrivethemaroundanyway.Butbothrovershavean
emergencypop-tent.
Therearealotofproblemswithusingpop-tentsasfarmland,butthey
have10squaremetersoffloorspaceeach.PresumingIcanovercomethe
problems,theynetmeanother20squaremeters,bringingmyfarmland
upto126.
126squaremetersoffarmableland.That’ssomethingtoworkwith.
Notnearlyenoughwatertomoistenthesoil,butlikeIsaid,onethingata
time.
ThenextthingtoconsiderishowefficientIcanbeingrowing
potatoes.Ibasedmycropyieldestimatesonthepotatoindustrybackon
Earth.Butpotatofarmersaren’tinadesperateraceforsurvivallikeIam.
CanIgetabetteryield?
Forstarters,Icangiveattentiontoeachindividualplant.Icantrim
themandkeepthemhealthyandnotinterferingwitheachother.Also,as
theirfloweringbodiesbreachthesurface,Icanreplantthemdeeper,then
plantyoungerplantsabovethem.Fornormalpotatofarmers,it’snot
worthdoingbecausethey’reworkingwithliterallymillionsofpotato
plants.
Also,thissortoffarmingannihilatesthesoil.Anyfarmerdoingit
wouldturntheirlandintoadustbowlwithin12years.It’snot
sustainable.Butwhogivesashit?Ijustneedtosurvivefouryears.
IestimateIcanget50%higheryieldbyusingthesetactics.Andwith
the126squaremeterfarmland(justoverdoublethe62squaremetersI
have)itworksouttobeover900caloriesperday.
That’srealprogress.I’dstillbeindangerofstarvation,butitgetsme
intherangeofsurvival.Imightbeabletomakeitbynearlystarvingbut
notquitedying.Icouldreducemycaloricusebyminimizingmanual


labor.IcouldsetthetemperatureoftheHabhigherthannormal,meaning
mybodyexpendslessenergykeepingitstemperature.Icouldcutoffan
armandeatit,gainingmevaluablecaloriesandreducingmyoverall
caloricneed.
No,notreally.
Solet’ssayIcouldclearupthatmuchfarmland.Seemsreasonable.
WheredoIgetthewater?Togofrom62to126squaremetersof
farmlandat10cmdeep,I’llneed6.4morecubicmetersofsoil(more
shoveling,whee!)andthat’llneedover250litersofwater.
The50LIhaveisformetodrinkiftheWaterReclaimerbreaks.So
I’m250Lshortofmy250Lgoal.
Bleh.I’mgoingtobed.


LOGENTRY:SOL26

Itwasaback-breakingyetproductiveday.
Iwassickofthinking,soinsteadoftryingtofigureoutwhereI’llget
250Lofwater,Ididsomemanuallabor.Ineedtogetawholeassload
moresoilintotheHab,evenifitisdryanduselessrightnow.
Igotacubicmeterinbeforegettingexhausted.
Then,aminordust-stormdroppedbyforanhourandcoveredthe
solarcollectorswithcrap.SoIhadtosuitup*again*anddo*another*
EVA.Iwasinapissymoodthewholetime.Sweepingoffahugefieldof
solarcellsisboringandphysicallydemanding.Butoncethejobwas
done,IcamebacktomyLittleHabonthePrairie.
Itwasabouttimeforanotherdirt-doubling,soIfiguredImayaswell
getitoverwith.Ittookanhour.Onemoredoublingandtheusablesoil
willallbegoodtogo.
Also,Ifigureditwastimetostartupaseedcrop.I’ddoubledthesoil
enoughthatIcouldaffordtoleavealittlecornerofitalone.Ihad12
potatoestoworkwith.
Iamoneluckyson-of-a-bitchtheyaren’tfreeze-driedormulched.
WhydidNASAsend12wholepotatoes,refrigeratedbutnotfrozen?And


whysendthemalongwithusasin-pressurecargoratherthaninacrate
withtherestoftheHabsupplies?BecauseThanksgivingwasgoingto
happenwhileweweredoingsurfaceoperations,andNASA’sshrinks
thoughtitwouldbegoodtomakeamealtogether.Notjusttoeatit,but
toactuallyprepareit.There’sprobablysomelogictothat,butwhocares?
Icuteachpotatointo4pieces,makingsureeachpiecehadatleast2
eyes.Theeyesarewheretheysproutfrom.Iletthemsitforafewhours
tohardenabit,thenplantedthem,wellspacedapart,inthecorner.God
speed,littletaters.Mylifedependsonyou.
Normally,ittakes90daystoyieldfullsizedpotatoes.ButIcan’twait
thatlong.I’llneedtocutupallthepotatoesfromthiscroptoseedthe
restofthefield.
BysettingtheHabtemperaturetoabalmy25.5C,theplantswillgrow
quicker.Also,theinternallightswillprovideplentyof“sunlight”andI’ll
makesuretheygetlotsofwater(onceIfigureoutwheretogetwater).
Therewillbenofoulweather,oranyparasitestohasslethem,orany
weedstocompetewithforsoilornutrients.Withallthisgoingforthem,
theyshouldyieldhealthy,sproutabletuberswithin40days.
IfiguredthatwasenoughbeingFarmerMarkforoneday.
Afullmealfordinner.I’dearnedit.Plus,I’dburnedatonofcalories
andIwantedthemback.

IrifledthroughCommanderLewis’sstuffuntilIfoundherpersonal
data-stick.Everyonegottobringwhateverdigitalentertainmentthey
wanted,andIwastiredoflisteningtoJohanssen’sBeatlesAlbumsfor
now.TimetoseewhatLewishad.
CrappyTVshows.That’swhatshehad.CountlessentirerunsofTV
showsfromforeverago.
Well.Beggarscan’tbechoosers.“Three’sCompany”itis.


LOGENTRY:SOL29

Overthelastfewdays,IgotallthedirtinthatI’dneed.Ipreppedthe


tablesandbunksforholdingtheweightofsoil,andevenputthedirtin
place.There’sstillnowatertomakeitviable,butIhavesomeideas.
Reallybadideas,butthey’reideas.
Today’sbigaccomplishmentwassettingupthepop-tents.
Theproblemwiththerovers’pop-tentsistheyweren’tdesignedfor
frequentuse.
Theideawasyou’dthrowoutapop-tent,getin,andwaitforrescue.
Theairlockisnothingmorethanvalvesandtwodoors.Equalizethe
airlockwithyoursideofit,getin.equalizewiththeotherside,getout.
Thismeansyoulosealotofaireachuse.AndI’llneedtogetinthereat
leastonceaday.Thetotalvolumeofeachpoptentisprettylow,soI
can’taffordtoloseairfromit.
Ispent*hours*tryingtofigureouthowtoattachapop-tentairlockto
aHabairlock.IhavethreeairlocksintheHab.I’dbewillingtodedicate
twotopop-tents.Thatwouldhavebeenawesome.
Thefrustratingpartispop-tentairlocks*can*attachtoother
airlocks!Youmighthaveinjuredpeopleinthere,ornotenoughspace
suits.Youneedtobeabletogetpeopleoutwithoutexposingthemtothe
Martianatmosphere.
Butthepop-tentsweredesignedforyourcrewmatestocomerescue
youina*rover*.TheairlocksontheHabaremuchlargerandcompletely
differentthantheairlocksontherovers.Whenyouthinkaboutit,there’s
reallynoreasontoattachapop-tenttotheHab.
Unlessyou’restrandedonMarsandeveryonethinksyou’redeadand
you’reinadesperatefightagainsttimeandtheelementstostayalive.
But,youknow,otherthanthatedgecasethere’snoreason.
SoIfinallydecidedI’djusttakethehit.I’llbelosingsomeairevery
timeIenterorexitapop-tent.Thegoodnewsiseachpop-tenthasanair
feedvalveontheoutside.Remember,theseareemergencyshelters.The
occupantsmightneedair,andyoucanprovideitfromaroverbyhooking
upanairline.It’snothingmorethanatubethatequalizestherover’sair
withthepop-tent’s.
TheHabandtheroversusethesamevalveandtubingstandards,soI
wasabletoattachthepoptentsdirectlytotheHab.That'llautomatically


replenishtheairIlosewithmyentriesandexits(whatweNASAfolkcall
ingressandegress).
NASAwasnotfuckingaroundwiththeseemergencytents.The
momentIpushedthepanicbuttonintherover,therewasanear-popping
whooshasthepop-tentfiredout,attachedtotheroverairlock.Ittook
abouttwoseconds.
Iclosedtheairlockfromtheroversideandendedupwithanice,
isolatedpop-tent.Settinguptheequalizerhosewastrivial(foronceI’m
usingequipmentthewayitwasdesignedtobeused).Then,afterafew
tripsthroughtheairlock(withtheair-lossautomaticallyequalizedbythe
Hab)Igotthedirtin.
Irepeatedtheprocessfortheothertent.Everythingwentreally
easily.
Sigh…water.
Inhighschool,IplayedalotofDungeonsandDragons.(Youmaynot
haveguessedthisBotanist/MechanicalEngineerwasabitofanerdin
highschool,butindeedIwas).InthegameIplayedaCleric.Oneofthe
magicspellsIcouldcastwas“CreateWater”.Ialwaysthoughtitwasa
reallystupidspell,anditnevercameup.BoywhatIwouldn’tgivetobe
abletodothatinrealliferightnow.
Anyway.That’saproblemfortomorrow.
Fortonight,Ihavetogetbackto“Three’sCompany.”Istoppedlast
nightinthemiddleoftheepisodewhereMr.Ropersawsomethingand
tookitoutofcontext.


LOGENTRY:SOL30

IhaveanidioticallydangerousplanforgettingthewaterIneed.And
boydoImean*dangerous*.ButIdon’thavemuchchoice.I’moutof
ideasandI’mdueforanotherdirt-doublinginafewdays.WhenIdothe
finaldoubling,I’llbedoublingontoallthatnewsoilI’vebroughtin.IfI
don’twetitfirst,it’lljustdie.
Thereisn’talotofwaterhereonMars.There’siceatthepoles,but


they’retoofaraway.IfIwantwaterI’llhavetomakeitfromscratch.
Fortunately,Iknowtherecipe:Takehydrogen.Addoxygen.Burn.
Let’stakethemoneatatime.I’llstartwithoxygen.
IhaveafairbitofO2reserves,butnotenoughtomake250litersof
water.Twohigh-pressuretanksatoneendoftheHabaremyentire
supply(plustheairintheHabofcourse).Theyeachcontain25litersof
liquidO2.TheHabwouldonlyusetheminanemergency;ithasthe
Oxygenatortobalancetheatmosphere.ThereasontheO2tanksarehere
istofeedthespacesuitsandrovers.
Anyway,thereserveoxygenwouldonlybeenoughtomake100Lof
water(50LofO2makes100LofmoleculesthatonlyhaveoneOeach).
ThatwouldmeannoEVAsforme,andnoemergencyreserves.Andit
wouldmakelessthanhalfthewaterIneed.Outofthequestion.
Butoxygen’seasiertofindonMarsthanyoumightthink.The
atmosphereis98%CO2.AndIhappentohaveamachinewhosesole
purposeisliberatingoxygenfromCO2.YayOxygenator!
Oneproblem:Theatmosphereisverythin.About1/90ththepressure
onEarth.Soit’shardtocollect.Gettingairfromoutsidetoinsideis
nearlyimpossible.ThewholepurposeoftheHabistokeepthatsortof
thingfromhappening.ThetinyamountofMartianatmospherethatenters
whenIuseanairlockislaughable.
That’swheretheMAVfuelplantcomesin.
MycrewmatestooktheMAVawayweeksago.Butthebottomhalfof
itstayedbehind.NASAisnotinthehabitofputtingunnecessaryshitin
toorbit.Itleftthelandinggear,ingressramp,andfuelplantbehind.
RememberhowtheMAVmadeitsownfuelwithhelpfromtheMartian
atmosphere?SteponeofthatistocollectCO2andstoreitinahigh
pressurevessel.OnceIgetthathookeduptotheHab’spower,it’llgive
mehalfaliterofliquidCO2perhour,indefinitely.After5daysit’llhave
made125LofCO2,whichwillmake125LofO2afterIfeeditthrough
theOxygenator.
That’senoughtomake250Lofwater.SoIhaveaplanforoxygen.
Thehydrogenwillbealittletrickier.



Iconsideredraidingthehydrogenfuel-cells,butIneedthosebatteries
tomaintainpoweratnight.IfIdon’thavethat,It’llgettoocold.Icould
bundleup,butthecoldwouldkillmycrops.Andeachfuelcellonlyhasa
smallamountofH2anyway.It’sjustnotworthsacrificingsomuch
usefulnessforsolittlegain.TheonethingIhavegoingformeisthat
energyisnotaproblem.Idon’twanttogivethatup.
SoI’llhavetogoadifferentroute.
IoftentalkabouttheMAV.ButnowIwanttotalkabouttheMDV.
Duringthemostterrifying23minutesofmylife,fourofmy
crewmatesandItriednottoshitourselveswhileMartinezpilotedthe
MDVdowntothesurface.Itwaskindoflikebeinginatumble-dryer.
First,wedescendedfromHermes,anddeceleratedourorbitalvelocity
sowecouldstartfallingproperly.Everythingwassmoothuntilwehitthe
atmosphere.Ifyouthinkturbulenceisroughinajetlinergoing720kph,
justimaginewhatit’slikeat28,000kph.
Severalstagedsetsofchutesdeployedautomaticallytoslowour
descent,thenMartinezmanuallypilotedustotheground,usingthe
thrusterstoslowdescentandcontrolourlateralmotion.He’dtrainedfor
thisforyears,andhedidhisjobextraordinarilywell.Heexceededall
plausibleexpectationsoflandings,puttingusjustninemetersfromthe
target.Theguyjustplainownedthatlanding.
Thanks,Martinez!Youmayhavesavedmylife!
Notbecauseoftheperfectlanding,butbecauseheleftsomuchfuel
behind.HundredsoflitersofunusedHydrazine.Eachmoleculeof
Hydrazinehasfourhydrogenatomsinit.SoeachliterofHydrazinehas
enoughhydrogenfor*two*litersofwater.
IdidalittleEVAtodaytocheck.TheMDVhas292Lofjuiceleftin
thetanks.Enoughtomakeaalmost600Lofwater!WaymorethanI
need!
There’sjustonecatch:LiberatinghydrogenfromHydrazineis…
well…it'showrocketswork.It’sreally,reallyhot.Anddangerous.IfI
doitinanoxygenatmosphere,theheatandnewlyliberatedhydrogenwill
explode.There’llbealotofH2Oattheend,butI’llbetoodeadto
appreciateit.


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