The Martian is an excellent movie demonstrating the science behind survival. Mark Watney becomes stranded on Mars and has only his scientific training and can-do attitude to save him, while waiting for rescue. This film delves topically into the actual scientific mechanics of interplanetary survival in terms of chemistry, physics, and also Earth-based politics. Scientific topics discussed include Newton’s First and Second Laws of Motion, the gravitational slingshot effect, orbits, trajectories, relative velocity, the chemistry of combustion, mass and acceleration, space flight, human isolation, Martian dust storms, heat from nuclear fission, botany, air pressure differentials, electrostatic charges, evaporation, condensation, logistics planning, long-range radio communications, the light minute, hexadecimal communication system, artificial gravity, circular motion, mass and escape velocity, and G forces.
The Mythbusters test to see if it is possible to utilize Boyle’s Law to crush a massive rail tanker car. Topics of interest include vacuums, negative pressure, Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law, Guy-Lussac’s Law, steam pressure, atmospheric pressure, volume, structural integrity, condensation, molecular kinetic energy, scale models, pressure vessels, engineering, welding, safety applications, ear popping in a plane during takeoff or landing, and the eustachian tube.