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.
This movie chronicles the development of America’s space program from Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier to John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth. The film touches on a number of scientific, social, and engineering topics. The theme of the movie centers around humanity’s drive to push the boundaries of what is possible, in terms of the marriage between science and technology. But sprinkled in that marriage is the human element, complete with the highs and lows that result from trying to push the envelope.