Andy Weir Interview: “PROJECT HAIL MARY” I The Synthesis Season Finale

THE Andy Weir, author of “The Martian”, joins us to talk about his NEW BOOK, “Project Hail Mary”. It’s our Season 1 Finale, so like NBD. He tells Lacey she’s pretty and Alex that he likes TerraGenesis (!!!). We all try to keep our cool… uhmm sort of. We geek out over books, film and of course, Andy’s dog, Coco. Pick up a copy of Andy Weir’s new book “Project Hail Mary” today!

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, this is Alexander Winn. And I am Lacey Hannan.Β 


And we are here with the latest episode of The Synthesis, the show where we talk about real science in entertainment. This week we are talking about “Project Hail Mary”, the new book by Andy Weir who wrote the Martian, which we went through chapter by chapter as well as Artemis. This is an awesome book, I sat down with the intention of reading it over the course of a week, and I read it in about 18 hours. And, yeah, this week, the cool thing that we have is, 


we have in the interview with Andy Weir, yes. And we talked about Hail Mary, we talked about some of his past projects, we talked about some of his future projects. So if you’re keen to know all things Andy, we’re and the entertainment he puts out for us, then tune in to the rest of this because we have a good time. It’s fun, it’s casual. 


That being said, there are a few spoilers for the story. We don’t give away everything. We don’t give away any of the major plot twists. But we do talk about things that are revealed halfway through the book or that sort of thing. So if you are really intense about avoiding spoilers, and you’re really looking forward to this book, maybe go grab it, it should be on shelves now. And come back and check it out. Once you’re done reading. 


I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did, because we thoroughly we thoroughly loved this book. I mean, I would say that it’s quite a bit different than then his past work. And that was fun. And it was interesting to see him. Take a new 


Yeah, it’s got everything that you like about the Martian and Artemis, but it’s got some new elements that he hasn’t played around with in his stories yet, which is, which is fun. 


So take a gander, you guys. 


All right. We are here with Andy, we’re author of project Hail Mary, which we have right here, which is an excellent book that Lacey and I read over the last week, I expected to read it over the course of about five days. And I ended up reading it in just under 24 hours. ended up really cutting into what I was planning to do that day, but I have no regrets. So joining us as Andy Weir, the author, thank you so much for being here. 


Thanks for having me. 


The first question that I have is, you know, I’ve seen other interviews that you’ve done for the Martian. And for Artemis, I’m a huge fan of both books. And I noticed, you know, when when you were talking about the Martian, you talked about how that story really began as just sort of Andy we’re got curious about how a Mars mission would work, and started working out the details. And then you’ve mentioned that Artemis sort of began as Andy Weir got curious about lunar economics and how a city on the moon network, or really more about like, what will humanity’s first city that’s not on earth be? Yeah, what will it be like? 


So I’m wondering, is it safe to say that project Hail Mary basically began as Andy Weir got curious about how alien biology might work? Or was there something else that led you to this particular story? 


So is there an issue with the dog being here? Just checking. Okay. 


I love that. Yes. 


Your audience will be like, why is Andy Weir hugging a mop? Um, no. So, actually, like project Hail Mary came from a bunch of different ideas, I had four different stories that didn’t really flesh out each on their own. But somehow, in a series of shower epiphanies, they really fit well together as a single cohesive story. Now it looks like when you read it, it seems like oh, yeah, everything leads logically. But like, these were all chunks that I put together from other stories, strangely enough, astrophysics itself was came from a story that I was working on, that I never published, where they had a spacecraft fuel, that could do mass conversion and turn it into light. propulsion. And, you know, I never got anywhere with that story, but it’s, it’s in Project Hail Mary. Then there’s another one where a character that I lifted directly from one of my other stories, was a woman who had just this massive amount of secret authority. Like she can just basically tell governments what to do. And they do it. And but nobody knew who she was or that, you know, or, you know, stuff like that. And she was working toward a, you know, a non selfish goal. And so, okay, so she’s in the book, that’s the character of strap. And then also, I had an unrelated idea of a guy waking up aboard a spaceship with amnesia, you know? Yeah. And then yeah, and then we’ve had our spoiler warning already. Yes. And then also the notion of a first context. Yeah, so all those things ended up dovetailing together really nicely. 


Yeah, well, they like you said they came together seamlessly. 


They did. I would be curious. You know, in talking in what you said about the guy waking up on a spaceship with amnesia, this narrative breaks the mold of your other ones. How was it writing something that was more of a mystery than your last two books? 


It felt great. I love it. Because I’ve learned while I’m writing it, because when I’m writing,
I’m always reading what I wrote, and putting myself in the mindset of like, okay, now I’m a reader who doesn’t know anything other than what I’ve read so far in the story. And what I found is that there’s nothing for pulling a reader along, like as unfolding mystery, like making the reader wonder, okay, what’s going on here, and then giving them a little bit of information. And then they’re like, oh, okay, another clue. And they like that. The biggest challenge for me was that, if I told the story linearly, if I just told it, like, from the beginning of all the events that happened to the end of all the events that happen, it would be a very weird story. It would be like, all the characters in the first act, you’d never see them again. You know, once they launched the ship, and then the one of the most important characters you wouldn’t see until the middle of the book. Yeah, like Rocky. Yeah. And, and then so it just be like, there were two books that were glued together. And it wouldn’t make a lot of it would not be enjoyable. So I hate flashbacks. I’m the first person to tell everybody when they’re asking for writing advice. One of the things I say is don’t do flashbacks. So here I am a massive hypocrite. But it was really the only way I could tell the story without having a really weird disjoint sequence of events. So I figure I tried to think of, well, what what is it that bugs me so much about flashbacks? And what bugs me is I’m usually really invested in the primary plot. And then the flashback is used to show me some expositional crap I didn’t care about like, oh, okay, you know, here’s, here’s like this, you know, amazing events that are going on, or shattering events. And now we’re gonna go back and spend 10 minutes of like, if it’s a TV show, 10 minutes of screen time, showing you how the protagonist met his wife. Like, I don’t give a crap about that. Go back to the main plot, you know? Yeah. So I think your flashbacks are, it’s kind of like, you’re out playing with your friends, and your mom tells you to come in and clean your room. Right? It’s like that. And so I figure Well, it’s alright, if you’re out playing with your friends, and your mom tells you to come in and have pie. You know, it’s okay, if the flashbacks themselves are just as entertaining and compelling. I guess a lot of writers like to use flashbacks as a easy way of putting exposition into a story. But I used it to be part of the unfolding mystery, and also the flashback sequences coincide with the main sequence and stuff like that. So hopefully, hopefully, when when you get to a flashback, you’re not disappointed, but you’re like excited because you’re gonna get more information. 


I think that is how it plays out. 


Yeah, that that was the goal. Thank you. 


I will support that. 


That was definitely my reaction. Yeah, I was very fascinated by what was unfolding on Earth as well as the spaceship storyline. So one of the things that obviously jumps out when you read project Hail Mary, as opposed to the Martian and Artemis is there are a lot more sort of five parts of the sci fi there’s there’s aliens, there’s, there’s more stuff that is just sort of not grounded in specific reality. Whereas Artemis in the Martian, you have the sense that no, this exact story might happen. This is exactly how it might play out. So I’m wondering, you know, you’ve you’ve built this sort of brand. And obviously it’s a it’s a personal interest of yours of having everything grounded in realism. So when you did approach this story that was a little bit more fantastical. How did you decide where to allow for convenient fictions? Like, when is it okay to just make it up and say, This is how it works? Because it does. 


Well, my goal was to make like this, you know, there’s alien life forms in this book. Yeah. Two different species. And, and, well, three, I guess, three. And and I wanted to make sure that I, I figured it would be nice to have like, a story, a hard sci fi story that involves alien life. I’m not the first person to do that. But the idea of like, okay, all the previous my previous books, these are things that you could conceivably see happening. All the characters are humans, it’s not that super far into the future. There’s nothing really fantastical, but I wanted this to at least be physically possible. So you know, there’s, there’s, there are basically three biospheres involved in the book there’s earth. And then there’s arid, you know, Rockies Homeworld, and then there’s, well, what they ended up naming Adrian, that planet and tell SETI, what that tells SETI system has a biosphere as well, right? That’s the homeworld of the astrophysics and stuff. And so the main thing I was like, it’s like, okay, I want this to be as plausible as possible. So I decided, like, here’s the thing it’s like, if it seems really unlikely that life would independently evolved in all three of those stars, mainly because they’re very, very close together in the grand scheme of things. Tell SETI is like 11 light years from here. 40 or Adani, which is where Rocky’s home system is, is like 16 light years from here, and the Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across. So that’s that’s just way too close to for it to be reasonable that life evolved separately, you know, so I decided there had to be a panspermia event. Well, fortunately, we’ve already demonstrated that the towel city biosphere has life forms that can travel interstellar distances. So I decided that some ancestor of Astra phage was the 

panspermia so life only evolved once and it evolved on planet Adrian. Right and earth and arid were both basically seeded by panspermia, it’s all just natural. It’s not any intelligent life or anything like that. Just the same way that you know, there’s life on, on on all seven continents of Earth, even though it really only evolved once, right? So how to get to the other continents? Well, it’s spread out. So that’s like one thing I wanted to do. And also the idea that you know, Rockies biosphere, is I kind of think of first contact stories that involve everybody’s like, super comfortable in the exact same environment. And, you know, in Star Trek style, where it’s just like, some forehead bumps are the difference between Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing shade at Star Trek. I’m a total Trekkie nerd. Absolutely. Like I’ve seen literally every episode of every trek related anything. But But yeah, I mean, I didn’t want to be alien to be some hot, blue skinned woman who wants to learn more about this earth thing called love making cry, want to be like a genuinely, really, really as alien as possible, like, completely incompatible with Earth’s biosphere? Even the way their language works is something you cannot make the sounds that their language makes, they can’t make the sounds that are make we you need interpretation in the way and so on. Yeah. 


Well, and that kind of leads me to one of my questions is, you know, you talk about grace. At one point, you establish this pretty early on his he writes this paper about how not all life is going to need water. And then we go on to meet Rocky, who does. And I’m wondering, oh, this is wrong. 


I’m wondering like, yeah, okay, so maybe that just answers my question. I was kind of wondering, what camp Do you fall in? of? Does it have to have water or not? I 


actually, I actually believe that you don’t need water for life. I don’t buy into the idea that water is required for any form of life. However, within the context of the story, it was a panspermia event, we’re all descended from a single common ancestor. Right? So the life that well, in the real in reality, it’s life that evolved on Earth, right. But within the story, it’s the life that evolved on planet Adrian evolved to require water, so all of its descendants require water. Yeah, the fundamental cellular mechanisms, everything you can, there’s no getting around it. So all the life that that he encountered does require water, which I thought would be a funny thing. Because usually, if you have a main character, who’s the sole voice saying one thing, and everyone’s telling him he’s wrong, it’s almost a guarantee that that guy is gonna turn out to be right. Yeah, I thought it’d be neat for 170 characters just wrong. 


I loved that. Because we, you know, again, we just have done an in depth, like a deep dive on the Martian. And we love how, you know, intelligent and yet not a superhero, that what he is, yeah. And his capacity for knowing lots of things or being able to pick up on things really quickly is awesome. And then you’ve got grace, who’s also incredibly intelligent, but is wrong on something that’s pretty big is 


Yeah. To be fair, he was kind of partially right. One of the things his paper said was that the Goldilocks zone is how do you feel about scoring on your show? 


You’re all good. 


I do it. Okay. That’s the Goldilocks zone is bullshit, right? Yeah, this is this is the thing that I do believe that this notion of the Goldilocks zone is like, what? It’s like, Oh, this is the range where liquid water can happen. I’m like, no The range is much larger than that. Yeah, all you need to have liquid water at a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius is to have more than one atmosphere of pressure. Yeah. And so like Rockies Homeworld, the the, the surface, atmospheric pressure is, like 29 atmospheres, and the temperature is 210 degrees Celsius. And water is a liquid. Yeah. Even though it’s like 210 degrees Celsius, like 450 degrees Fahrenheit. But water is a liquid because the atmospheric pressure is so high. So now you have liquid water, way outside what they call the Goldilocks zone. 


Yeah, playing with with atmospheric pressure and the boiling temperature of water is, has been fascinating since you played with it in artemus. And the idea that you can’t have hot food 


can’t have can’t have really hot food. Yeah. 


That is, you know, that’s one of the things when we, when we hear at Edwards talk about, you know, the the future cultures that will exist on other planets, one of the first things I always reach for is different planets might have different cuisine, because for example, you can’t have soup on this world, because the atmospheric pressure is too low, it just tastes tepid and gross. So yeah, it’s, that’s a, that’s a very fun thing to play with. So as, as you are, as you’re working on these things, you know, the the impression for the reader is there’s a problem, and the hero works on it and finds a solution and then moves forward. And my understanding is that for the Martian, that kind of has to be true, because you were releasing a chapter by chapter, yeah. But for subsequent books, you as the author do actually have the opportunity to hit something and then go back and be like, Ah, this would actually be a lot easier. If you had 20 solar panels, instead of 15 solar panels, I’m just gonna go back and change the number of solar panels he had. So I’m wondering, how often does that kind of thing happened? Do you present yourself with a problem? And then just force yourself to fix it with what you got? Or do you change? 


I will change things for sure. I’ll change things to make it solvable. I won’t necessarily make it easy on the protagonists, but I’ll make it solvable. But also, I did do that on the Martian, I would go back and change chapters that I’d already posted. Oh, yeah, it was sort of a disclaimer on my site. At the time when I was reading it. I’m like, Okay, this is a serial, but it’s a book that I’m writing. And you’re seeing a chapter at a time. So I might go back and change chapters you’ve already read. And when I did that, I saw at the time, I had a mailing list of regular readers and stuff like that. And when I change things that I already posted a while ago, I would alert the readers I would say, Hey, everybody, chapter seven, I’ve made changes. Okay? Oh, you can either go read chapter seven again, or here’s a recap of the changes that I made. 


It’s like patch notes for software now. 


It’s exactly that well, I’m a I’m a software engineer, right. So I was And so yeah, I really was release notes or patch notes. Yeah. 


That’s love. I love that there’s the the transparency there is rather than hurt. Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. So this kind of goes off in a slightly different direction. But you have this character that I just was so heartbroken for. And there’s like a lot of heartbreak I about lost my mind. I’m not Rocky, I assume. Well, I that one about broke me. But there’s I’m not going to give away that spoiler. But there is another character. Leclerc le cleric. 


Oh, yeah, first of all occurred. 


So I’m wondering, is there one scientist or one person that you’ve written in this story that you have the most empathy or something for? 


I mean, the obvious answer would be grace, you know? But I don’t know I mean, Leclerc. It’s, it’s it’s sad. But that’s the guy doing the opposite of everything he’s stood for, for the good of all mankind. Right? all humanity. One person I actually sympathize with that may surprise you is strat. She’s in charge of literally saving all of humanity. And she has to make some hard decisions. Yeah, yeah. And he’s not a monster. She’s not a robot. She has emotion. She has feelings. But she she’s also ruthless in making this thing happen because she has to be and so whatever, whatever columns or issues she has, she has to set aside to do this stuff and she makes it look easy. But at the end, you find out that you 


know, she is she does feel bad about some of the things that she’s been forced to do. That being said, we know about Andy we’re writing a villain because he wrote the Moriarty stories. Did Mitch I adore? Yes. Yeah, we, I have always been fast. I actually wrote my own sort of version of Moriarty stories A while back. And when I found yours, I was like, Oh, this is awesome. And then I saw Andy Weir. And I was like, seriously? 


Well, thank you. Yeah, I had a lot of fun writing those. And I would love for that to be a TV show. I even pitched it at one point. But the people who were slightly interested in it then heard about like, somebody else is doing somebody else at I don’t know if it ever got green lighted, but somebody else at the time was also making some sort of Moriarty based thing. Okay. Gonna be kind of supernatural or weird. I don’t know. It’s gonna be completely different than mine. And it was some big name person that you don’t want to be perceived as being in competition with. I don’t remember who Well, it wrong for not having it again. Yeah, pitch it again. Or just or just keep writing the last as 


I was writing those before I wrote the Martian, right. So I intended for them to be a serial as well. And he was going to slowly build up his cadra. of if that’s how it’s pronounced of criminals like so bit by bit. You know, the first story is just him and Captain Moran. Yeah, yeah. Who in the books is Colonel Moran, right? Yeah. Captain ran. But now he’s got a powerful ally in violet Sutcliffe. Yeah, is the arsonist. Yeah, she’s very good at it. So that was gonna be another one. And then bit by bit he was going to accumulate, you would see him building up his syndicate. 






I’m here for it. 




So the next question I have is, you know, when we when we did the Martian on our show, we did sort of a chapter by chapter analysis of the book. And then the ending episode of that miniseries was, we talked about the movie. And we are both huge fans of the book and huge fans of the movie. But you naturally start getting into, you know, how do they differ and that sort of thing. And one of the things that we realized was, because it’s a movie, you obviously don’t have as much time. And so there’s an interesting distinction where the book of the Martian is the story of someone coming up with solutions. And the movie of the Martian is the story of someone implementing solutions. You don’t actually see him doing the math, he just talks into the camera, he says, here’s what I’m going to do. Yeah, there’s a similar dichotomy. In project Hail Mary, where when we’re on in sort of the present day on the spaceship, he’s figuring out solutions. And then in the flashbacks on Earth, it’s much more of just Hey, the Russians have figured out how to do this, or, hey, we, we are going to do this in Antarctica, because it will have this effect. And so I was wondering, was there a choice to establish that dichotomy? Was there ever a version where you got more into the figuring it out on on earth side? 


Interesting, you point that out? No, that that there was no point where I consciously thought about that. I guess the thing is, with the earth segments, they’re largely expositional, they’re there to bring the reader up to speed and hopefully a fun and unfolding mystery way of why all this is going on in the first place. Right. And so I didn’t want to, I want to spend not too much time there. Because it’s fun for a while, but not forever, right. And so I wanted I you know, I liked the idea of skipping and skimming over time to just the highlights, you know, this is interesting. They, they’re, you know, nuking a big chunk of an Antarctic ice shelf to deliberately massively increase global warming. Yeah, it’s interesting. Yeah, that’s that’s quite a moment in engineering. Yeah. Leclerc. seat of your pants terraforming your own planet. 


Yeah. And Leclerc, a lifelong environmentalist climatologist everything he can to prevent this exact stuff from happening is now the agent of it. 


It’s always so so sad when a character that you like you sort of look into the future. And you’re like, Yeah, I don’t think things are gonna end up well for him. 


You know, what law clerks long term goal was to was to work towards saving Earth’s environment. That’s true. And that’s what he was doing. No, it’s true. It’s true. It’s not the way he expected it. 


Yeah. And if you’re feeling bad for Leclerc, just imagine after it, you know, after Earth gets the cure for Astrophysics and stuff like that. astrophysics is now a perfect clean, renewable energy resource. True. 


Yeah. And what I loved in I believe it was about that scene that you mentioned that, that climate change and climatology like all of that is really a science that’s in its infancy, and I thought that was kind of I thought that was lovely. Have you point out because we tend to think of, oh, every six months, technology has advanced again and again and again. And we tend to forget that a lot of stuff that we know, has taken centuries. And you’re, and you’re right, we, we don’t give a lot of benefit to the fact that it is so young. 


Well, also, planets are large. So predicting what’s going to happen across a system of that size is very difficult. And so that’s why I set the clerk up in the novel of being, you know, one of the biggest issues with climatology and why we, frankly, one of the main reasons we end up with climate denial, in my opinion, well, there’s always going to be one. There’s always going to be a demographic who just whatever. But I think there’s a middle demographic that’s kind of in climate denial, because climatologists are consistently wrong in their predictions. It happens all the time. I mean, you can dig up as many climate predictions as you want from the 1980s forward, and they’re pretty much all wrong, like or, or wrong to varying degrees that are like, Okay, this is not, I mean, this is like, almost like, you chose randomly what was gonna happen? So I set Leclerc up as being like a climatologist, who’s whose models correctly predicted the future climate, not super accurate, you know, not like, Oh, it’s gonna rain on Wednesday, but like, Oh, this is the amount of polar cap melt, you can expect. And this is the amount of oceanic rise you can expect. And this is the amount of like, average oceanic temperature, you can expect that sort of stuff. And his models were correct. Most others weren’t. So I wanted to introduce the scientist who’s like, I mean, I think there’s a general public understanding that climatology is really difficult and, and vague and the predictive aspects of it aren’t. We’re not very good at yet. So I wanted to introduce a character who is good at it. Yeah. 


And by then it won’t be quite as young as it is today. So you only takes place modern day. I mean, 


okay. Okay. I was thinking. I was I think I just because the Martian, we’ve got just around the corner, and then we’ve got like, what the 27 days? For 2018? Yeah. 


This is now 


Yeah, yeah, 


I suppose that’s a that’s true. Right? Well, um, yes. So it ties into that, what? Then I recognize that this could come off as ego testicle. So I’m gonna try. And 


Sandy, why am I beautiful? Right? You can’t explain this. 


Look, yeah, that doesn’t just happen. Right? 


So okay, so you have you are so great at doing real science and entertainment. And I just, it’s, I’ve always loved the historical in in books, and movies, and all of that. And I’ve only recently learned that I enjoy science, that was not something that I knew could be true, through at least college. And so it’s like, between him and between your books. And the Martian movie that I’ve really come to discover, oh, I can a understand this. And be I might not retain all of it. But I can be reminded, oh, yeah, you know, like, I got I got that. What is it that draws you to doing real science in all of your, in all of your entertainment? And and do you want to see more of that in the world from other people? 


I guess the first part, I would say, I’m drawn to it, because I just I like it, you know, everybody has things that they’re interested in and passionate about, and that happens
to be mine. And so you know, you write the stuff that you’re interested in. But um, yeah, so I guess that’s just, it’s, it’s important to me. Yes, I know you want attention. But as for the other thing, yes. I would love there to be more hard sci fi, because that’s my favorite type of science fiction to read. After the Martian became a success. I thought, Oh, this will be great. Now, a bunch of, you know, hard sci fi Oh, come out. I can read it and enjoy it. And it didn’t happen. Yeah, nobody did that. And so I was like, well, the bad news is I don’t have anything fun to read. You know, it’s right in my wheelhouse. The good news is, I guess I own this market niche. 


You do. We are also disappointed that other people haven’t been like, I feel like everyone’s relying on you to do it. And I’m so sorry. I also congratulate you. 


Yeah, we actually, you know, with our show the synthesis. It’s all about a Examining real science in entertainment, and we, we started the show and we did you know, Apollo 13. And we checked out gravity, we checked out the Martian. And then there was a point at which we were like, there’s actually not that many things that we can talk about on this show like that. Eventually, you just start doing historical movies like The Right Stuff in October sky and those sorts of things where you start getting into more yellow, like, based on Yeah, exactly. Because stories like the Martian stories. Yeah, yeah, but but you sort of it’s it’s amazing how quickly you run out of hard sci fi movies and TV shows. 


Coming soon to edgeworth nebula. Welcome. 


Do you have my sword, a token podcast hosted by me? Christy pride. You have my sword as a comedic, historical deep dive on different topics from Tolkien’s work, spanning the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the silmarillion and beyond. We’ll talk about things like new Missourians. You don’t even deserve rights. Tom bombadil, the ultimate white guy, Baron and Lucien a better love story than Twilight. And, yes, I’ll tell you why the Eagles couldn’t fly the goddamn ring to Mordor. You can find you have my sword on Instagram and Twitter at YHS podcast. Or you can visit us at you have my sword podcast calm. I do the research. You did listening. Everybody wins. Except Saren. fuck that guy. catch y’all soon. And remember, you have my sword. 


fun thing you may or may not know, you guys are really into the subsidiary, you know, but one of the so they you know, for films, they always show them to preview audiences right beforehand and get feedback and then maybe even make changes. So it’s like they, they they do market testing and stuff like that. And for Apollo 13. They showed it to a bunch of people, and they got their feedback from it. And one of the pieces of feedback was, well, it was a cool movie, but it just seem to reel it to unrealistic. If that really happened. There’s no way the astronauts would survive. Yeah. Well, 


in that same vein, and perhaps even more horrifying, I’m sure you saw I certainly did all the people and yeah, all the people who read the Martian or watch the Martian and then said, This is incredible. I can’t believe they didn’t cover this in our history class. Why didn’t our teachers tell us about this? There were like, 


really disturbingly large number of people who thought the Martian was like, based on a true story. Yeah. Well, I guess congratulations. Yeah. A compliment. I’m pretty sure. 


Yeah. You wrote something that’s so believable. It’s more believable than Apollo 13? 


I guess so. 


You know, that real science will do it 


for you more realistic than Apollo 13? Yeah. Yeah. 


So I want to I want to circle back to something you said a few minutes ago, which is, you talked about how you’re you change things to make solutions possible. Yeah. I’m curious. In in project, Hail Mary, or in your other books. Can you give us some examples of times where the story led you to a place that you just sort of hit a brick wall, and you’re like, oh, he would just die? Like there is no solution to this? 


Yeah. I had. So in the Martian. Now, this is something that is more in the book than in the movies. So in the movie, when he goes from the area three landing site to the area for landing site, it’s just sort of a montage in the book, the dust on? Yeah, in the book, he come. He runs into a lot of issues. Yeah. So one of the ideas I had, among other things in the book, he rolls the rover. Yeah, yeah, rolling it down a hill, like, you know, sight overside and brakes, and edit, there’s all sorts of issues with that I was going to make him in that instance, he was also going to breach the RTG. So the radio thermo generator, anyway, RTG, it has a bunch of it is literally in a thing. It’s a bunch of material inside that is so incredibly radioactive, that it generates constant heat. And then that heat is used to create electricity. So that’s fine. And that’s that’s a real technology. That’s what’s powering curiosity and now and now perseverance. But I was going to have him break it and then there’d be Oh, God, radiation. Oh, okay. Well, I’ll put on my eeba suit, because it offers a lot of radiation protection, and I’ll throw the RTG away and then or something, right. Okay, so that was going to be one of the challenges he faced. But from then on, he would have to be without that RTG he wouldn’t have the heat source in his rover, he wouldn’t have the RTG helping recharge the rover and stuff like that. And all the numbers just told me there’s no way that he would survive that he would be consuming power. Just to keep warm, he would be consuming power fascinate faster than you can possibly acquire it. And so he would have died. Yeah, I just, I could not find any solution to that problem. And so I didn’t have that problem happened 


to you. Just based on that alone? Do you have a lot of numbers that you run? Like you have to you have to do spreadsheets to just make sure. Are you like a spreadsheet King at this point for you? Right? I am, I am quite the king, I am the monarch of Excel. Well, 


yeah, tons of spreadsheets, I do lots of math, I want everything to be accurate. And so I mean, the reader only encounters like, 5% of all the stuff that I do. And I just want it to be right so that I can feel warm, knowing it’s right. Also, the cool thing is, if you stick to real science, I mean, the universe is internally consistent. Yeah, if you make up physics, then you end up having to make up more physics to cover the edge cases of the physics you’ve already made up, and so on, but the you but if you just stick with reality, then it’s really cool. Because first off, you don’t have to make stuff up, you just calculate it. Second off, you’ll run into problems that you wouldn’t have thought of. So for instance, in the Martian, our hero, Mark Watney grows potatoes, as I’m sure you know, to survive. And originally, I was like, you know, okay, researching how to grow potatoes. And one little tidbit I saw was like, Oh, the moisture content of the soil needs to be at least this percent. And I’d never thought of that. Well, I was like, of course, you need to water them. But it’s more than that they need to be in a soil that is at least a given percent moisture, or the soil itself will Leach all the water out of the plant and kill it. I’d never thought of that. I’m like, wait a minute, how much water does he need to make that moisture. And I’m like, wait a minute, that’s a lot more more water than is likely for a Mars mission to bring with it. So he’s going to need water. And at the time I wrote it, it was believed that Mars was completely dry and arid. And so he had to manufacture water. So that whole subplot of him creating water was because I was going down a rabbit hole on how to grow potatoes. 

And I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise. Now, and that little footnote to that is, so curiosity landed after I wrote the Martian, one of the first things it did was scoop up some soil and say, Hey, guys, there’s a shitload of water in here was irrelevant and inaccurate. But I can counter that by saying, curiosity is that is that Mount Sharp, which is nowhere near as adelia Phoenicia, which is where Mars Mark was. And so I say acid la punishes a desert, you know, I say that it, it has a different water content until somebody sends a probe there, they can’t prove me wrong. 


That’s right. And it’s you know, it’s a it’s a big planet, and they’re not going to hit every spot, it might take a while. 


That actually was going to be my next question. I’m sorry. Sorry to interrupt. Oh, there’s one thing you know. So after with the Martian was very popular. And of course, it was very popular with NASA and JPL, folks, right. And so, in the book, I say, the exact latitude and longitude in accidentally play the exact location of the areas three landing site. And Mark describes it. It’s like a featureless plane with like rocks here and there, and maybe a few craters, but other than that, there’s nothing going on. So JPL pointed Mars Global Surveyor, at that location, took a really super high resolution photograph where every pixel is a square foot. Oh, wow. 


On the surface of Mars, yeah. And then said, Hey, everybody, this is where Mark Watney his landing site is. It doesn’t look anything like described in the book. You guys. 


Scientist wasn’t expecting anybody to point a billion dollars satellite, Mars, terrify. 


Maybe that’s what scares people from writing hard sci fi. Yeah. 


Well, that it’s funny that you say that, because that was actually going to be my next question. You know, I’m a big fan of the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. And one of the things he has said is, you know, he wrote that book, and I think the 80s. And we obviously know a lot more about Mars now. And he has said things about the I don’t know how to spin out but perchlorates in the soil, great rates in the soil, things like that, that would have radically changed how the Mars trilogy would have gone down if he’d known at the time. Are there other examples of sort of future proofing your stories? Do you do anything to try to like, anticipate what might be discovered, but we don’t know. Yeah, 


I really don’t. Because it’s kind of pointless, you know, to try to predict. I just focus on trying to make a novel that’s fun to read at the time that it’s released. If you’re writing speculative fiction about the future, you’re going to be wrong. Yeah, like it’s only a matter of time before your story is out of date. Like and another whatever. We’re in 14 years, we will reach the date that the Martian takes place. And when it doesn’t happen, my book will then be inaccurate. Right, right. Or Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t feel bad about that. 


Yeah, that makes sense. 


I mean, I, I’ll say, fine. 


Okay. I’ve got one more question. Which is, you know, you are, I think undeniably known in the popular imagination. As a scientist, like I’ve seen you interviewing I’m not a scientist. Well, I mean, I guess but 


yeah. But I mean, like, you know, for example, we did National Geographics. Mars, and you were one of the experts interviewed as in that. So, you know, people imagine you as someone heavily associated with science. That being said, You have also written you know, the Moriarty stories and things that are unrelated to science. I was one of the 5 billion people who read the Martian and fell in love with it. And when and then later went, wait, this is the guy who wrote the egg. I, everybody loved the egg. And then yeah, oh, yeah. So what I was wondering is, because you have, you know, what could be described as two natures, the storytelling, and then the science, but obviously, our one nature because you’re one guy. The Martian started out as figuring out the science that you wanted to figure out how this would work. And so you told the story to do that. Is that how you generally approach stories like Artemis and project Hail Mary, or do you start more from a story standpoint, hey, I want to tell a heist about this, you know, plucky girl on the moon, and then you come up with the engineering challenges that would arise from that? 


No, I almost always, I mean, I always thus far start with the science. Like I’m like, here’s a neat thing that I want to think about. And then I start working out like I had. So for artemus, for instance, I designed and explained the economy of the entire city of Artemis, before he came up with any characters or story. 




Like I’m like, Okay, now, I put a huge amount of work into a setting. Okay, now I need stuff to happen. And I actually, it took me a while to come up with a story to take place in there. Like I went through a lot of different Okay, what if this is the story and then I work on it for a while, and I it’s kind of down? How about this? You know, I had to go through a lot of revs before I came up with a plot that I like, interesting. 


So are we go now I have heard you say that you have have considered writing multiple stories in Artemis. Is that still a plan? 


I mean, for now, I think No, because it wasn’t as popular as I’d hoped. People are debases Andy wares other book, right. And I really, I really hoped it would be more popular than it is. I think jazz was such a self destructive person that a lot of people had a tough time rooting for her, because she really was the agent of her own problems. Yeah, no, I was trying to make a more nuanced main character with flaws and a story arc and maturing and personal growth. But I think I went a little too far. Also, what’s funny is Mark and jazz are both based on my own personality. Mark is the idealized version of me all the aspects of myself that I like, and none of my flaws, whereas jazz is as much of a fuckup as I was when I was her age. And turns out, I guess people will have a hard time rooting for a guy who is as much of a fuckup as I was at 26. People think jazz is some sort of masturbation fantasy of mine, but she’s really just me. I guess he really is. I mean, yes, she’s a woman and she’s Saudi and stuff like that. But her personality and most importantly, her flaws are the ones that I had when I was that age. Interesting. 


I feel like people that need to go listen to the audio book. Yeah, 


Rosario Dawson did a great job, no doubt about it. But if a book is only entertaining as an audio book, then that just means Rosario Dawson did a good job. Doesn’t mean I did a good job, right? So I need to make entertaining stories that that are good, even if you don’t have an A list actor reading them. 


I mean, I suppose I hear that I have. I have rebuttals because I like it so much. 


I’m glad you like it. I’m glad you like it. I got one thing that kind of sucked for me and I didn’t like is that if you’re a male author and you write a female lead, there’s a whole subsection of people who are just going to hyper focus on that. Yeah, like, let’s talk about how realistic this portrayal of a woman is yay or nay or whatever. And nobody questions. My you know how realistic my nail characters are, you know, frankly, it’s not realistic that Mark Watney would go, like so long on Mars alone in a day In a situation without ever, like without ever really losing his mind or succumbing to crippling loneliness or stuff like that, but everybody just kind of accepts that. But if you write the other gender, and then people, and suddenly, instead of like, you can write strat who’s the side character and nobody’s gonna question that. But the moment 


we’ll see, I mean, I may get some on that. Although, yeah, I mean, yeah, so, and I do think that it’s a little asymmetrical. like nobody gets on JK Rowling for Harry Potter being unrealistic. Right? And I’m sorry, he’s a teenage guy who has this incredibly hot female friend never tries anything. And I’m sorry. Yeah, JK Rowling does not know what teenage boys are like. On the inside. She just doesn’t know how degenerate we are when we’re that age. Back me up on this, Alexander. 




I’m sorry, a teenage boy who is not a pervert, that’s just female fantasy. 


I agree with that. Yeah. I find a lot of them. I have a lot of. 


Well, we well, we are huge fans of Artemis around here. Yes, we are. 


Thank you. I’m glad to hear it. I did have ideas for Artemis sequels. I had an idea what I really wanted to do was make my follow up. I even pitched it. But the publisher said I wanted to make a murder mystery set in Artemis. And the main character is Rudy the Mountie, the car. Oh, yeah. That’d be the main character. Jazz would be secondary like she. So I had the idea of having different main characters within us. But, you know, my editor said, Yeah, that’s a neat concept. But this particular story is not that good. Oh, wow. It’s probably right. And he also said, like, Look, you’re a science guy. You, you know, you’re really good at that. 


So if you write a murder mystery, and you could put a lot of work into writing a decent murder mystery, or you could write another really cool Brown, groundbreaking science thing. Right? 


Now, I feel like you just need to send them the Moriarty stories again. And yet, like, here, allow me to be a scientist and disprove you. 


Thank you very much. That’s nice. But I guess he didn’t much care for the story that I had in mind. But he’s open. They’re open to it. And of course, I mean, I could bully my way into it. I could just say, Well, this is the next book I’m writing. Yeah, publish it, because someone else probably will. Right. Yeah, but, but I didn’t want to do that. My editor is very good at this. And it’s wise of me to pay attention to what he has to say. Yeah, of course. Well, 


maybe someday we’re just gonna have to see if we can’t find someone who can do like a hard science, hard sight, sci fi Anthology, and you can do short stories and want good sci fi mysteries. I mean, the the robots. The robots stuff from like, the caves of dawn series from Asimov is really good. Yeah, those are like science fiction, murder mysteries. And they’re good at both of those things. Make it okay. And I say robots, and I meant caves of steel. Robots of Dawn is the name of the third book in that. heaves of steel is the first book. Wow.


I’m gonna anyway, that recommendation. Yeah. 


By Asimov. Who’s my favorite author of all time side note. But anyway, I do have ideas for project Hail Marys sequel. 


Oh, very cool. 


It lends itself to a sequel, you know? Yes. 


There’s definitely a string setting, you know? 




Oh, I’m so happy to hear you say that? Because I was like, I you know, you haven’t really done sequels yet. And so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. But now they’re high. So just know that so you’re so I think what she’s saying is you’re committed. We’re now  to be seen, but yeah, I will be writing your letters. 


That’s not what I’m working on. Right now. I’m working on another standalone story, but okay. 


All right. 


I’m not not not really talking about it. Because I don’t know if that’s for sure what I’m going to do next. I want to get at least far enough into it that I feel like okay, yeah, this is working. This is what I’m gonna do. Good. 


We we heard we heard an interview with you previously, where you talked about the value of writers not talking about their ideas. Yes. That’s all heartedly agree. As somebody who who has written and also makes games there’s definitely a loss of momentum that comes from telling people about them satisfies your need for an audience. And you’re like, Okay, I got that need next magic. 


Need to get a movie and get like Andy Serkis in here to bring bring rocky to life. nothing 


going on. Oh, really? Yeah. No Ryan Gosling is attached to play Grace. Okay, and we have Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to direct drew Goddard’s working on the screen. Play right now. He wrote the adaptation for the Martian. Excellent. Oh, he’s good at what he does for sure. Yeah, Lord Miller, Phil Lord Chris Miller, they directed the 21 Jump Street movies out Lego movies into the spider verse. 


MGM who’s doing it? They bought the rights for me outright. Not an option, not just a purchase. And that usually means you’re taking it seriously, but you never know. 




Oh my god is gratulations. Yeah. And also congrats to us. We get to watch an amazing, awesome. Oh, wonderful. Well, thank you for joining us. This has been for having most excellent. Yes, it has. 


We’ve enjoyed this thoroughly. Yes. 


And thank you for writing project Hail Mary. 


It was reading project. 


Good luck with the launch of the book. Thank you. All right. Thank you, Andy. 

October Sky – “We didn’t start the FIRE” | The Synthesis

Lacey and Alex put a telescope up to the film “October Sky” starring Tobey Maguire. Based on a true story, did filmmakers do this tale justice?? Or will we have a lot of heavy sighs this episode? Billy Joel said it best, “we didn’t start the fire”, no but for real, the rocket boys didn’t start the fire. (spoiler?)

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, this is Alexander Winn and I am Lacey Hannan and you are here watching The

Synthesis, the show where we discuss real science being used in entertainment. This week

we are talking about the movie “October Sky” based on the book “Rocket Boys.” Yeah, it’s

it’s a good time. Yeah, I love this movie. This is this is one from my, like teenage years that

was sort of helped chart the course of who I wanted to be as a person this. Yeah, October

sky was big for for Alexander. Yep, a little bit a little bit. It’s the story of a group of high

school kids in West Virginia and West Virginia mining town who start making homemade

rockets and ended up going higher than any of them ever thought they could. And it’s



It’s based on let’s see how long I can make him talk. That’s what’s happening over here. So

that’s a dangerous game, because I’m just gonna take over the whole show. He can talk

forever. That’s true. So a couple of things that were interesting that I found sort of behind

the scenes before we actually start talking about the movie. Let’s talk about talking about

the movie. So first off, it’s based on the book rocket boys. But it’s not called rocket boys

because the marketing team at the at the film studio when they were making the movie,

did some focus testing and found out that women over 30 would never go see a movie

called rocket boys. So they renamed it October sky based on the October skies a Sputnik

flew over. But interestingly, October sky is an anagram of rocket boys. And I was not able

to find anywhere. Anybody saying if that’s a coincidence, or did somebody like Alright, we

can’t do rocket boys. I guess I’ll make an anagram like, was that the thought? I don’t know.

But anyway, October sky anagram of rocket boys. That’s interesting. A little weird, right?

It’d be weird for it to be a coincidence, but I can somehow still see it being a coincidence.

Yeah, exactly.


I looked up to see you know how much money it made and all that kind of stuff. I I found

out that it made $34.7 million. And I was like, Oh, no. was October sky a flop? No.

Welcome to the 90s the whole movie only cost 25 million. So it was quite successful. I’m

just so used to like Marvel movie budgets. And and what we know right now is that


producers have told me this frequently that we don’t have midsize movies anymore, right?

And the audiences can see that we have all these indie movies that are made for under 5



If they’re under three, it’s even better. And then big tentpole movies, right. And that’s your

your Marvel stuff or anything. That’s your blockbuster. And that’s what keeps all of the

other movies funded. But they don’t do the mid size movies are not very often right. And

which is unfortunate. Even when the stories could be a mid size budget, they often get

inflated. Yeah. So


yep. So a couple of interesting things. You know, as always, when you’ve got a story that is

being twice adapted from from real life to book and then from book to movie, obviously

things are going to change. There are a bunch of things like that, that we don’t need to go

into. Apparently, there were six rocket boys instead of four. Homer Hickam was a junior his

father’s name was also Homer. So in the movie, they changed it to john so people wouldn’t

get confused. You know, things like that. But a couple of interesting things that I found. In

terms of the legacy of this movie, I didn’t realize that this movie had like a legacy. I

thought it was just like a good movie from the 90s that if you’ve seen it, you probably

enjoyed it. But a couple of interesting things came out of this movie. First off, there are not

one but two festivals honoring the rocket boys. Yeah, annual festivals that are held every

year. One of them is in West Virginia, and it actually honors the rocket boys. It’s a thing

that they do every year. And then the other is in Tennessee, there is an annual gathering

about the movie. They filmed it in Tennessee instead of in West Virginia. And it’s like it’s

like when you go to New Zealand and you visit all the Lord of the Rings filming locations

there’s like tours and stuff of October sky filming locations, which I love that yeah, it’s

awesome. Like I was I didn’t realize that this movie was that big. We’ve talked not not us

with you guys. But Alex and I have talked a lot about the the different mechas that Yeah,

crop up, you know, like, okay, so people know that. The original Star Wars movies. There

were parts of them that were filmed in Tunisia, but there’s really no place to go. Yeah, I’ve

been to Tunisia. It was pointed out to me. Hey, that’s where that part was filmed. Well

okay, but


There’s like nothing there. It’s not like a Star Wars site in the same way that like when you

go to New Zealand, there is hobbiton, you can visit hobbiton. It’s got a visitor center with

a gift shop and they’ve got tours. And that’s like not the only thing like there’s there, you

can go to Mount Sunday, which is address address, but you also have all the tours that

take you there and one when we went on the tour anyway, the the bus driver had been a

sound guy on the movie, and he just liked to do the tours. Yeah. And so he was he was not

only talking about, you know, this is where they filmed such and such. He was like, this is

where we filmed this. And he’d like walk you through, he talks about like going to the

Oscars and stuff like that. I mean, it was so cool, right? And you’ve got a couple of

different places like that in New Zealand.


hobbiton is obviously like the big one. But you know, every so often we look up and we’re

like, Where are the rest of them? Because there’s so much fun. Yeah. And of course, you’ve

got, you know, backlots that you can see tours of Yeah, you know, and there are and there

are like locations again, like like Tunisia where there’s sort of no pomp and circumstance,

you know, you can go visit the Ghostbusters building in New York, you can go visit the

friend’s apartment building in New York, things like that. You can just sort of point out and

be like, Oh, look, that’s the that’s where they shot the thing. But there’s nothing there.

Yeah. And it’s so surprising it. It seems like if somebody I mean, I don’t actually know what

the the Ghostbusters building in New York is right now. It was supposedly a fire station. I

don’t know if it’s actually a fire station. But whatever it is. I feel like somebody could buy

that movie or buy that building and make bank. I mean, you’d have to get the you’d have

to get some sort of rights. But I don’t know why someone hasn’t. Maybe they’ve tried but I

don’t know why there isn’t a central park like that just doesn’t Yeah, make a lot of sense to

me. And he is in Turkey. Somebody started a central perk of love cafes in Turkey. Well, I mean, that’s one way to do it. Yeah. But so what I’m, what I’m saying is, it’s really cool that there is one for this movie, right? All things. Yeah. Amber cool, that it’s a science movie. And it’s based on a true story. I love I love that fact. Yeah, tell me more. So the other thing that really jumped out at me, there’s just, it’s just crazy

how history unfolds. It’s, you know, they’re just weird little wrinkles in how things happen.


October sky came out, I believe in 1999. And in the audience, there was a guy who saw the movie and was super moved by it and was really sort of powerfully motivated by the message of this film. And that person who was Jeff Bezos, and apparently, when he left the theater and went to go talk about it after the

screening, he was talking to a


he was talking to sci fi author, Neil Stevenson. And he mentioned that he had always

wanted to start a space company. And Neil Stevenson was like, Well, why don’t you? And

now Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, which is a SpaceX competitor. So like, October Sky is the

reason that Blue Origin exists. I guess. That is That’s bizarre. Like I mean, it’s not bizarre. I

shouldn’t say that. It’s just Jeff Bezos being inspired by I don’t know, I guess I shouldn’t say

that either. Because he’s the one who who, quote unquote, saved the expanse. Yep. That

guy is a is a sci fi nerd. He is. Well, I mean, I’m glad he brings us a couple of good things.


I one of the other things that I will say just that we, that we think we’re right on is Laura

Dern is the one who plays Miss Riley. And what’s wonderful actress Yeah, Jurassic Park

and Star Wars and a whole bunch of great stuff. Um, she was the one who played Ellen

DeGeneres, his girlfriend on the episode, where Ellen DeGeneres came out on TV. And

because of that episode, Laura Dern was black listed from Hollywood for quite some time

and had to get security guards to go with her she was being threatened a lot. And this was

her first movie that she got after after all of that, and it took her she lost a lot of roles

because of that took her a couple of years to get back into Hollywood yeah after this and

so strange but man what a comeback role like this is such a great always said that she’s

never regretted doing the doing the roll in that episode of Ellen and she’s very proud of it,

which I think is wonderful and lovely. It’s amazing how much in


In some ways, how much Hollywood has changed, because that today would not be the

reason Hollywood would black. Hollywood will still blacklist you for things. Yeah, this is just

not one of those reasons. So well, and you know, it’s just it’s especially crazy because she’s

not like she played a gay character on a TV show and people from Hollywood who ought

to know how actors playing characters works. blacklisted, or it’s very strange. Yeah, yeah.

Very strange. So but what a great comeback roll October sky. Yeah, sorry, shall we get

into it jumping into I want to do a synopsis up front.


I think I think we handled it up top group of group of kids in a coal mining town in West

Virginia, start developing homemade rockets and eventually use it as a vehicle to get out

to go to college get out of the, the really crushing cycle of being locked into this company

town. For a man who likes to use 10 words when he could use one. He actually just did the

thing where he just used one. That was like, one long sentence. Look at me, I’m growing.

Oh, my God, it’s happening.


Okay, let’s. So let’s just kind of start with the scholarship conversation. I, you know, they

talk about how jocks are the only ones who get out of the town. They’re the only ones who

get girlfriends, and are the only ones who get scholarships. Yeah. And I will say that being

from a very small Midwestern town, that was an experience. Now, it wasn’t quite this bad.

But it’s not like, it’s not like the 60s and a coal town, like, but there was a lot of people

trying to get, you know, there, make sure that they have the best grades or, you know, all

of these all of these big accomplishments that people could do with music and, and whatnot. And

scholarships were just hard to come by, or you get like 1000 bucks. And it’s like, how far is

that really going to get you. But the jocks would go on to get full rides. And so hearing

that it just kind of broke my heart, it resonated, because that was absolutely a thing that

people struggled with. It broke my heart, too, because it didn’t resonate. I grew up in a big

city. And I you know, it was a reasonably well off neighborhood. And I actually have

written in my notes, I am so glad that I didn’t grow up in a town where the whole local

culture was oriented toward escaping. Like that. I grew up in sort of the opposite. I grew up

in the town that you didn’t want to leave people referred to it as the bubble, because

everybody just sort of stayed in and then you know, did their thing in this neighborhood.

And the idea that I wanted to move to LA was strange. See, whereas I came from a town

where pretty much everyone wanted to leave, except the the college or university that

most people ended up at, was we I’m from Yankton, South Dakota. So I went to Yankton.

High, there’s only one high school, and we called it Yankton. High, take two, because it

was 23 minutes, if you were speeding five minutes, or five miles per hour over the speed

limit. That’s how long it took you to get to the university. And anyway, there was a lot of

there were a lot of people trying to escape. Who that next town over was, as far as they

got. I actually didn’t want to escape. I just always knew that my career wouldn’t allow me

to stay as much as I can love South Dakota so much. But I can’t do acting work there. So

gotta go. So that one, that one, it broke my heart. But yeah, well, this movie does an

incredible job of justifying why this scholarship is so important, like the, the slow grind of

lifestyle in coal, wood, and just the sort of, there’s a quote that is, you know, quite famous,

but that I thought of a lot during this movie, which is it’s from Henry David Thoreau, which

is the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. And that is exactly what this movie is.

This movie is quiet desperation. Yeah. And


even like the happiest minor. Yeah. Which is Jake. We see him pretty early on. Yeah. And

then we see him a couple times throughout. He’s the one who, when Homer ends up

working in the mines, Jake is his manager. Jake is also the one that’s at the strike.


All right.


The Union meeting and then is a part of the strike.


I he even was like he was the happiest of Yeah.


Yeah. And even then it just still felt like run ragged, I guess.


I think I for not being from coal country, I felt like they did a great job of really delving into

the culture and the, the lives and the pride that goes into this world.


It and it wasn’t beautiful. But there it was a nice, it was really nice to get that glimpse to be

that fly on the wall for Staffordshire. Speaking of the setting, by the way, the very first

thing that jumped out at me about this movie is something that I really enjoy, which is that

it portrayed something that was very real, but that doesn’t really get committed to film

very often, which is that America was getting its ass kicked in the space race. Yeah, like,

you know, Americans love to sort of when the point just before the buzzer declare victory

and then retroactively be like we won that game and not mentioned the fact that you

were losing most of the time. But that is exactly what happened with the space race. If

you go through the history of the space race between the United States and the Soviet

Union, the Soviet Union had the first object in space, the first animal in space, the first

man in space, the first woman in space, the first space station, the first probe on Venus,

the first probe on Mars, you know, like, it just goes on, and on and on, and on and on. And

then Americans had landing on the moon. And we were like, done, victory finished moving

on. And so these days, a lot of people look back on the space race as Americans won it.

But this story is set at a point where there’s sort of a big question mark about whether we are ever going to catch up to the Soviets in space. And there’s a lot of incidental dialogue where people are talking about Sputnik and they’re talking about how their cameras up on that thing, or they’re probably bombs up on that thing. Spoiler alert, Sputnik was a hunk of metal that beeped Sputnik did nothing. It was an achievement that we got a beeping piece of metal up into space. It did not have cameras, it did not have missiles. It had nothing It reminded some of that dialogue reminded me of so one of the lines was,


yeah, they’re not going to why would they bomb us? Like Yeah, why stuff a bomb? Yeah,

exactly. And I remember after 911 there were, you know, all of these conspiracies. I mean,

theories of just like assumptions. Yeah. Where bombs would be dropped. And I remember

my town is right on a dam on one of the biggest rivers in the US. And people were like, it

could happen here. And I was like, yeah, nobody’s gonna, nobody’s gonna get that far into

American airspace. And no one wants to put in that time and effort guy. Yeah, that’s why

they are the targets of al Qaeda are going to be the biggest symbol of the American

military, the biggest symbol of the American government, the biggest symbol of the

American economy, and the dam in Yankton, South Dakota, it’s like, okay, so after 911,

they, they took Bush to Omaha, Nebraska, which is like two and a half hours south of

Yankton. And they told everybody where he was because I’m sorry, nobody’s gonna get

and nobody’s gonna get to the middle America. That’s just not how it works. And so they

don’t care. Yeah. And so that’s what that made me think of it was just like, they did a great

job with small town America.


And I, I loved that. The thing that I really liked about seeing Sputnik for the first time is you

have to, this isn’t something that would happen for us today. But looking up there and

seeing Sputnik would probably be scary for a multitude of reasons. But that’s probably the

fastest I’ve ever seen anything go through space? Oh, yes. You know, can you imagine

looking? I mean, we see it all the time. We see airplanes all the time, we see different, you

know, we see the space station and satellites. This isn’t going to be something that occurs

to us, but for the first time ever, seeing there’s an artificial satellite up there. There’s a new

star in the sky. Yeah, yeah. And it doesn’t blink. It just moves really fast. Oh my gosh, I think

that would be I think that would be legitimately frightening. Well and just awe inspiring,

you know, like depending on how you look at it I totally by Homer Hickam his response

which is just all he’s looking up and there’s there’s a new light in the sky. How amazing is

that? Is that not that to me? That’s like childlike. That’s the childlike wonder of it. Yeah. If

you’re an adult living in a time and you’re really frightened by the the Russians. Yeah, that

would be scary. You’ve lived Yeah, no, it just think of your life. Yeah, it just it comes down to


What is more important to you the fear of what that thing might do? Or the all of the fact

that it happened at all? Yeah, like, you can be terrified of the Nazis and still be like, wow,

they made a really good plains, you know, and I get that. I’m just saying, like, if you’re

someone in your 40s, or 50s, you’ve lived, you know, a good portion of that century. And,

and you’ve never seen anything like this, you’ve lived a good portion of your adult hood,

and never seen anything like this. And all of the context around it of the Russians versus

the US. And oh, my God, I just think that there’s, and then of course, then there are these

kids who are like, this is dope. Yeah. This is dope. I want to do that. Yeah. And which is, I

think, I think it’s so cool that it’s inspiring to that. So


it’s, I have exactly the same thing, just that that moment is, is so great.


There was an interesting little callback to something we’ve discussed earlier on the

synthesis here, which is pretty early, he starts writing letters to Verner von Braun.


And it reminded me of the conversation that we had during the national the natgeo, Mars

episodes about how these days SpaceX is the big sort of pioneer in space. And the guy we

know from SpaceX is a businessman. And nobody knows the scientists at SpaceX. But

back then, obviously, it wouldn’t be a businessman because NASA isn’t a company. It’s an

agency. But even so, he’s not writing letters to the President. He’s not right, even writing

letters to like, the administrative head of NASA. He’s writing letters to the scientist to the

guy who is making these rockets who’s doing the math behind these rockets? Because

that’s the hero. Yeah. And I feel like that’s an important difference between how it went

then and how it’s going now, you know, now that I really think about it, I feel like this

movie didn’t touch on real science so much as it touched on real history. That’s where we

get so much more of the detail. Yeah. And it’s just little nuggets that they put in there.

You’ve got von Braun, but and then you’ve got Sputnik, obviously, like, these are a couple

of obvious ones. But we hear about the Red Tails from World War Two, excuse me, airman.

And you also, you know, you get I don’t remember his last name Ike, the guy who’s the first

machinist who helps them and then go ends up in the mines.


You know, he’s talking about his family back home and in Europe, and what, presumably

behind the Iron Curtain? Yeah, exactly. And so I don’t know, they’re just these, these little

things that felt, you know, they, when they take apart the railroads, and the kid is like,

Yeah, because mines die out, and then they don’t need the trains. And so we, of course, we

can take these,


which is, I did not like that, that sequence at all, it was a little terrifying for me, but I think

they did a really good job. What I’m saying is that they did a great job of dealing with the

history of the time, giving us a lot of a lot of context, and giving us a really good reference

of where we are. And when we are, you can always put, hey, this is cold wood and the sick,

you know, I don’t know where these 1950s. And that doesn’t necessarily route you to that

until you have characters like and I don’t remember what the man’s name is. But the black

man who says that he’s he was in the Red Tails and World War Two, and you’re like, oh,

man, you’re not even very old. Like, I don’t know, there’s just something really lovely about

it creates these roots for the story that really placed it in an in an era and a time. And I

loved that. Yeah, yeah, historical accuracy. For sure. The other thing that this movie does,

which I agree, it doesn’t do a lot of real science in the sense of the nitty gritty of how it all

works. The closest that we get is a few montage is working on rockets, and then the

trigonometry sequence where he’s actually like walking you through. But even then, he

doesn’t describe the math too much. He just describes the conclusions of the math. But

the other thing that this movie does, which I really, I feel like makes it fit within the

synthesis is it is all about the attitude towards science. It’s about how people think about

science. And it’s even back to what we were just talking about that a town full of people

are looking up at this light in the sky and thinking threat. And one guy is looking up in the

sky and thinking achievement. And that is the scientist distinction. You know, he’s focusing

on the how not the the end result and there’s, you know, you were talking earlier about

capturing sort of the pride of small towns big


They there is definitely this culture in very small towns of like, we don’t need those big city

folk. And there’s a great moment where, where Homer is talking to his dad, and the dad

just dismisses Verner von Braun, like it’s a fad. It’ll move, you know, they’ll move on as soon

as they’re done. He even says, maybe then they’ll have to get a real job.


And then, shortly thereafter, he gives his own justification for why his life is important. He

says, this, the coal we mined, make steel, and if steel fails, this country fails. And I just felt

like that is such a great representation of how everybody has pride, everybody finds a way

to justify how their life is sort of the most important effort being made right now. And, you

know, yeah, yeah, you need steel for the 1950s. It’s, he’s not wrong, but at the same time,

like, You’re seriously gonna say that, like your job in the coal mine is the only important

thing that Verner von Braun has just needs to get a real job. Yeah, it really feels like the

way that at least in America, we look at CEOs. And we’re like, well, without them, we

wouldn’t have any jobs. Yeah, you know, and but then you have the working class going.

Without us, you wouldn’t have a company. Yeah, exactly.


You know, in some ways, both are correct.


So, you have, you have to have both, and both are being able to run a company and also

being a part of the working class. Both are worthy of praise and recognition and

recognition. And have you get to have pride about either one of those. And I so but that

stubborn need to, to diminish the others importance is just that’s very real. And I mean,

I’ve heard it, I have heard that exact line about like, when I’ll get a real job. I have never

forgiven that person. It’s like one of the few grudges that I am willing to hold. Yeah,

because Screw you, man. I’m working three jobs. Well, and that’s one of the things that I’m

very grateful to my parents that I never did hear that like, my, my pretty much my whole

family is lawyers. And I decided that I wanted to go to film school. And then I didn’t end up

making movies, but I did make video games and nowhere along the way that I did

anybody say like, Oh, well, you know, give it a few years, but then you should really think

about going to law school. like nobody ever gave me that speech. And I’m, you know, now

here I am with That’s awesome. Right? Yeah, very grateful. Yeah. I have to say real quick

on the science front, that montage where they’re just shooting off rockets and failing. Yes.

Oh my god. It’s one of the longest montages I’ve ever seen. Because like, oftentimes a

montage will tell you a story, right? It’s okay. They did this. And then they it’s like one step

after another. Yeah. No, no, no, this is not that. This is just failures. Yeah. And I like you

know how sometimes in comedy like, okay, the there’s the rule of three, you do it three

times. That’s the funniest. But then some people are really good. And they can take it past

that. And you can do something 10 times, and it’s hysterical every time. That’s what was

progressive. Yeah. funnier, because of how many times it’s happening. Exactly. Yeah. And

so that’s what this was, for me. I was like, this, it, there was a moment where I was like, Oh,

this is about this is going on too long. And then you saw the next one, and the next one.

And it just, I don’t know, there was Glee and the fact that they didn’t get it right the first

time. And they kept going. And it’s kind of funny how, like, how dedicated these kids are,

yeah, and obsessive. And I love it. There’s just something about it that I was like, oh, man, I

hope. I hope I have kids that do. Like, they don’t have to build rockets, but like, fail that

many times and keep going just try it. Well, you know, the other thing that that scene

does, that is sort of subtle, because this is a this is a type of montage that exists in a lot of

movies is like the the hero trying to do the thing and failing. He hasn’t figured it out, you

know, there’s, there’s a montage like that in the first Iron Man movie where he’s trying to

build the suit. And he keeps like, thrown himself up against the ceiling. And you know, he

keeps failing and all that.


But because this sequence is so long, I feel like a subtle but important message gets

communicated, which is not just, oh, they’re new at this. They’re figuring it out. It keeps

going. And what you walk away with is a sense that, Oh, this is hard. Yeah, this is not easy.

This is not something that you just do a few times and figure out No, you’re going to do it

again. And again and again and again and again, and you’re going to keep failing. And by

the time we come out the other end of that montage. We’re buying into the idea that he

really does need to go learn trigonometry.


Get a totally new kind of steel. And like all the decisions that the rocket boys are making

in this movie, they now carry the weight of expertise, they have figured out that this is

actually necessary. They’re not just playing with toys. I had a, a rocket section and a tech

class. Yeah. And I think that so I had seen an October sky before this, and did not enjoy it.


And why is that? Because it made me cry. And I don’t like to cry in public. Thank you, I’m,

I’m working on it. Crying is allowed for men and women, we should all be allowed. But I

did not have that mentality in high school. And I used my long hair to my advantage to

create a curtain because nobody wants to cry in front of their peers and so that’s, that’s part of why I didn’t like this movie. And so I didn’t really remember much going into it. But another reason why I think I wasn’t stoked about this is because I didn’t understand why rockets were so cool. I took I took the tech class, we all had to take and I took the rocket module that sometimes you just ended up taking because you didn’t get your first or second or fifth choice. And the rocket module is so lame and so boring. And

this movie made me go Oh, it could have not been Now it could not have been this. Like,

that’s just not how it could have. They’re not gonna let you blow yourself up. Yeah, exactly.


But simultaneously, this movie made it made me understand why these kids were

interested and intrigued and inspired and all of that. All of the eyes. Yeah. Speaking of

blowing themselves up, I really like at the beginning, the mom says, Just don’t blow

yourself up. And then he turns around, and nearly blows himself up. That’s when the fence

gets blown up. And I was just like, oh, kiddo, please don’t hurt yourself. did not tell you not

to blow yourself up. Yeah. And then they go on to not wear goggles. There’s a moment

where they you know, like through that entire montage and I was going oh my god, can

you just can someone put on goggles please. Like, I’m so terrified for your eye.


I am not telling you to not blow the things up. I’m just just yourselves and your eyes, just

the vulnerable bits. I will say I love his mom. I love his mom. Very sweet.


She’s She’s got through her mural. And her preoccupation with Myrtle Beach. I feel like she

is one of these characters that that you talk about in writing classes where she’s got her

own story that’s unfolding and this movie isn’t about her but she’s definitely got a thing

about Myrtle Beach and her relationship with her husband and wanting to go off. And so

at the end of the movie when they’re doing the sort of where are they now and it says that

she retired to Myrtle Beach. It’s not just trivia, it feels like the conclusion of some you

know, it feels like the culmination of her arc. And now is great.


We do we need to we need to talk about john, we need to talk about homers dad. Yeah.


I had actually filed him in my memory as worse than he was somehow. Chris Cooper.

Obviously, this is his brand. Like this is the kind of character that Chris Cooper does. And

he does it so well. which kind of sucks. I feel like for Chris Cooper, like, I don’t know what it

would be like to be a guy in the world whose whole job is like you get hired to be the

asshole abusive dad. And that’s just a look. It’s another script where I’m like punching my

son. Yeah, like that. I feel like that would be a bummer. But that being said, Chris Cooper

does an incredible job with these roles. And I feel like this is the ultimate one. This is so

that I think it felt very real. He couldn’t. It could have been taken in multiple directions, it could have

been far more abusive, or he could have been more of an alcoholic, and they still would

have lived in reality. But what I liked about this is he was just an asshole for so much. The

first thing we see is, hey, a guy nearly gets himself killed. And everybody is gathered.

Because people are coming up from the mind and something has obviously happened.

JOHN has saved his life personally. Yeah. And so they call him a hero and Homer says

that’s my dad. And then john yells at the man who who’s obviously hurt and nearly died

and it’s like you’re fired because I told you not to like screw up your screw up. And then

homers, like, that’s my dad. Yeah. And


you. I love that the first way we get introduced him is


That he does have good qualities, but he’s gonna follow it up with being an asshole. And that’s just the way it is, you know, there’s a thing that I have been I have become interested in in

the last few years, I am not an angry person, I actually struggle a lot to express my anger

like I, I err on the side of jovial too much. You may notice my wife sitting next to me

nodding gently and behind the camera is our producer also nodding gently.


But there are certain characters in fiction that I’ve become kind of fascinated by because,

at first, I didn’t like them. I categorically just wrote them off as assholes. These are

characters like john in October sky, but also like Roy, in the TV show, Ted lasso, if you’ve

seen that show. Also, you should, you should watch that last Oh, but Roy and Ted lassa,

also vorenus in the HBO and BBC series Rome. These are characters who are sort of only

angry, they only operate in the world through anger, but they’re not bad guys. They’re

assholes. But they’re not bad guys. And it’s fascinating to watch them struggle with their

anger, when they don’t want to be angry, you know, like, there’s a whole arc where

verbenas is trying to reconnect with his wife, who he hasn’t seen in like 10 years, because

he was off at war. And he’s an angry guy. But she’s his wife. And how do I do this? You

know, and, again, Roy in Ted lasso, dealing with his anger, but also trying to turn it into a

constructive force. And there’s actually a moment in the show where somebody calls him

out and is like, you’re not letting yourself get angry. And we need you to. And now with

john, the thing that I found interesting about john is a surface reading of October sky is

he’s an abusive father. But really, he’s not an abusive, like, he doesn’t beat up Homer, I’d

still say his visa. Well, I mean, he is cruel in a lot of ways. He’s emotionally abusive in a lot

of ways. But what he does is, it’s like he only has one emotion. And that’s anger. And he

will express it at you.


When you do something that makes him angry, he will get angry at you. But then we also

have scenes of him expressing love. And it’s in the language of anger, he, how does he

respond to,


to his son and his friends getting arrested, he bails him out, and he lectures him and he

gets up in his son’s face. And then he immediately turns around and protects one of the

other kids from his physically abusive father by getting angry. And he barely says

anything kind to the child, but you can tell he’s trying to be kind to the child by getting

angry at his abuser. And I’m just fascinated by this character who is trying to use anger

constructively. I so I have lots of feelings about john. I don’t have a lot of good feelings

about john, to be honest, like, he’s emotionally and


he’s emotionally abusive. He’s verbally abusive. And I have to be clear, I’m not forgiving,

john, I’m saying he’s an interesting character. And I don’t put him on the level of Roy. No,

no, because Roy has a lot more going for him in terms of good attributes.


Whereas this guy is willing to sit in his anger. And we see the difference, the way he treats

his sons, because I don’t remember what the oldest son’s name is. But he, that son does

not get in trouble. That son is clearly the golden child, clearly, and john is proud of him

and all of that stuff. Whereas he’s got this incredibly and you know, what? A child’s

athletic ability ability is totally worth being proud of. But having another son who’s

incredibly gifted at I won’t, I shouldn’t even say gifted. He is working so hard to be good at

something. And is.


I mean, we know from Miss Riley, that Homer is not good at math. Right. But he’s, this is

not the story of a wunderkind. Yeah, this is the story of a dedicated person. Exactly. And I

think that there’s should Why isn’t there pride for that? Yeah. And I, like I get it the the

moment that he pulls that stepdad off of one of the kids, and says, you know, he’ll beat

him. If he sees this happen again, and says to the kid, you know, your dad was one of the

best people I knew. I was like,


That is good and that it’s great that we’re seeing that we’re seeing it really far into the

movie. This is this is his save the cat moment. Yeah. But it’s like, at least halfway through

the movie. Yeah. And


I think although I would say, really has saved the cat moment is the scene that you

described because our introduction to this character is not. He’s yelling at our hero and

getting up in his face and all that our introduction to this guy as he saves people’s lives,

and then screams at them and appropriately. I don’t know that that’s a save the cat

moment, though. Because you’re not emotionally invested in it doesn’t make you

emotionally invested in him. Yeah, that’s right. I think that the point of a save the cat

moment is to be emotionally invested and root for someone, even if it’s just a little bit and

yeah, if it’s if it’s not literally a save the cat moment, I feel like it is a deliberate way of

introducing us to this character. And he’s, he’s being presented simultaneously as scary

and helpful. And that’s exactly like, that’s what I was saying when I was in when I was

talking about his introduction. Yeah, I appreciate that. We get both sides of him. But I

don’t think that we care about him at that point. And it you know, it takes until middle of

the movie, and then we kind of go back to Okay, he’s not as bad as he could be. Right.

Which is not how I feel about ROI, or vorenus. Yeah, where I, that is very much how I feel

about barinas. That’s not how I feel about ROI. No, I would put vorenus as sort of worse

than john. I mean, I don’t really remember Rome as well as you did. But there you do. But

yeah, I. And then at the end, you know, we see this, this moment where he mocks his son

for not recognizing his hero. And I was just like, excuse my language, but I’m gonna say

this, you shut the fuck up, man. Like, this kid is in shock that he won, like, and you couldn’t

just say something nice about being proud of him. You had to mock him for not



his hero that it’s it’s not like today where you see these people on Instagram and TV. And

all of a sudden, no, he had a picture that was stolen from him. I was so so angry. Yeah. And

so I don’t I don’t think that that to me read as vulnerable, though it is. And therefore a little

more sympathetic. It’s still a dick move. But I didn’t hate him for it. Because I saw that he,

he was just he didn’t know how to process feeling like his son hated him. Sure, I get that I

think, I think this character really reminds me of a guy I went to college with who was a

year younger than me, who grew up on a farm. And his dad never once told them, I love

you, or I’m proud of you. And the way that it really,


it really messed with this guy’s life to feel like he wasn’t worthy of his father’s affection.

And I and you know, being in theater, you kind of get a little bit more into each other’s

backstories personal lives and emotional lives and all this stuff and how much in some

ways it like fucked him up to just not here and so I don’t have a lot of forgiveness for

someone who treats their kid like this. And like I said, I don’t have forgiveness for him

either. If this was a real person that I knew in real life, I think he was a fucking asshole, and

I would not want to associate with him. But as a, as a fictional character, I find it an

interesting way to go to take this fundamentally unlikable character and present them as

trying, you know, like, like, it’s, it’s an interesting arc for someone to start from a place that

is essentially a villain and then show how can they you know, this is not the story of

somebody who doesn’t want to connect with his son This is the story of somebody who

apparently really wants to connect with his son and simply doesn’t know how he himself

was raised by somebody like this so I don’t


know No, no I cuz I don’t think he’s trying so much as he’s got like these moral parameters

that you do not cross. You do not hit kids. You do not get anybody else on like any other

miners killed you, like people shouldn’t die in the mines. Like, these are the things that he

cares about. And that’s it so long as you don’t cross those lines. He’s gonna be an asshole.

Well, but you have to at least give that he struggles in this movie that like there are you

know, it’s not just


Homer who is unhappy with how these conversations go down, he, there are multiple

scenes where the dad is trying to, to,


like, like he’ll sort of start to do something conciliatory and then kind of recoil from it. And

you know, it’s not he’s not just sort of brushing it aside, ag Be a man and move on. This is

somebody who is looking for a way to connect, and


I can I can’t help you here. I can just I can see the chain of fathers stretching back. I know,

and I get it, there’s a there’s a history that has that really leans heavily on this man, and I

get that. But that doesn’t mean I going to be particularly sympathetic to his, his traumas.

It’s it’s a vicious cycle. Yeah. And we know that, that we know that that’s how this sort of

abuse works. But yeah, I, it doesn’t mean that I, I can just check that box and be like, that’s who you are, man. And I good on you. I’m not sayin that’s what you’re doing. Okay. Just, but I, I cannot just give him any sort of passes. And he’s sort of like extra sympathy or anything. I can’t give him anything. Yeah. So that’s, that’s where I’m with him.


Not wild about him. In In a similar vein of this movie, capturing how people really work. I

had to chuckle there are a lot of movies every year, there are a lot of movies that depict

some version of the awkward teen. But I feel like this movie speaking as someone who was

an awkward teenage boy, this movie did a really good job of capturing what it’s like to be

a genuinely clueless teenage boy. Like, it’s not just that he doesn’t know how to talk to the

pretty girl, it’s that he didn’t even realize that the pretty girl was talking to him. You know,

like, there’s there multiple scenes in this where there are, you know, girls that are flirting

with him or somebody trying to get his attention that he just doesn’t even clock that that’s

what’s happening. I feel like that is a subtly different thing. But that, yeah, that spoke to my experience. One of the other things that I kind of liked. So recently, I saw something about how clicks are

changing clicks and like high schools and middle schools and and in some ways for the better word, a lot of groups are intermingling in a way that in this movie you don’t see in my high school you saw a little bit of


and it you know, there’s a moment in here where


you remember, one of the kids is shooting his car? Because it’s dead again. And he’s mad.

Right? And they’re talking love that scene. Yeah, it’s a great scene. And they’re talking

about getting out of the town. And one of them says, you know, we’re never gonna get out

of this town route. We’re all hillbillies. Well, except for Quintin. Yeah. And then what you

see is that of all of them. quittin is the most hillbilly in terms of where he comes from

external variables. Yeah. And I loved I love getting that glimpse into his life. And the fact

that Homer didn’t make a meal out of it. The movie didn’t make a meal out of it. I was

wondering why Homer was talking to a prostitute. And then suddenly, we’re going


to the woods to the shack. Yeah. And, and Homer doesn’t care. He’s like, This guy has

become my friend. I, you know, he sat down at this table, and everyone was like, in shock,

which they did make a meal of that totally. But that was less important.


They’re not making a meal of where Quintin came from. And I loved that they did that. I

thought it was it was a nice touch on the director’s part that they did that and, and the

writers part for putting it in there.


Because quitting was obviously determined to at least try to not stay in town. Not that he

was probably going to get out of town. But right. Yeah, yeah. There were a lot of things in

this movie that were delightfully understated. They’d never made a meal about the fact

that Oh, della has a bad leg. Yeah, that’s a thing that that character has. And for all I

know, it was just a decision that the actor made because it was nowhere in the script. So

yeah, maybe it’s something that the actor has. And because there were times where it was

worse than others. No, and it was just a part of it. I feel like I don’t think it’s something the

actor has, because I’ve seen him in other stuff. So if it is, then it’s something that he knows

how to hide when he wants to.


But yeah, that there are a lot of things like that that were just very nice. Do you remember

the scene and the lab


Where they are mixing up something and then they pour it down? And do you know

exactly what happened? Yeah, so because I need, I need a little bit more play by play.

Yeah. So they’re, they’re sitting there as sort of a classic scene in in high school movies

about smart people, you get these in these scenes in Spider Man movies and stuff is the

the kids are in the back of the room. And they’re doing their own science experiment that’s

so much more advanced than what they’re being taught. In particular, it’s Quinten,

showing off a formula for essentially rocket fuel. It’s, it’s his version of what they’re going

to put in the rocket to make it blast off. And they’re working on it, and and examining it,

and then the teacher starts coming their way. So they very quickly, they pour it into the

sink, and then they run the water and wash it down the drain. Now you have to imagine,

all those desks have sinks, and they’re all going to feed into one pipe. So somewhere down

under the floor, all of those things are connected. And so they, they watch this rocket fuel

down the drain, and then they go back to their experiment. And a couple of minutes later,

one of the girls in the class strikes a match to starter Bunsen burner tosses the match into

the sink, and the fumes from the rocket fuel that they’ve made just explode up out of every

sink. Yeah. And I, I guess, really what I’m asking because that all made sense. And I caught

all of that is what did Do you remember what the chemical composition was of it? I don’t

remember the specific composition. That’s fine. I didn’t ask you before the show. But I, I

was sitting there going Wait, what? What is? What’s there? Yeah, that water wouldn’t

affect that it would still light up like that. Yeah. But it’s fine. It’s I did, I did appreciate in the

world of rocket fuel, I did appreciate that. They made the shift from solid fuel to liquid fuel.

That is the thing that they really use liquid fuel and rockets. And so it was cool. That was

one of the few moments where we get told a specific scientific principle that is executed

on screen sort of in the style of the Martian. And I really appreciated that, especially

because it had to do with Roy Lee saving the day with moonshine, which was one of the

most charming shots of the entire movie. Another example of using science and this is just


probably my favorite scene in the entire movie.


And the most synthesis moment in this movie is finding och 13. Yes, I’ve loved that

moment. That whole sequence of doing the math, learning the trigonometry, doing the

math, figuring out how far it could have gone, and then measuring it out. With the rope is

and the music. I listened to that I have the October sky soundtrack, and I’ve listened to

that song 400 times. Listen, I think my favorite part about it is they do the math. And then

they and then you know, they have to do the boring human part. Yeah. Which is alright,

one, two, like we’re gonna we’re gonna take the rope from here to here. All right, let’s,

alright, now you move. Oh, that’s two. This is three. Like, oh my god. That is. It’s it’s just it

felt so human it felt. So


I feel like probably what a lot of scientists feel like we get, we often see the cool stuff that

the scientists do in movies and TV and stuff like that. And, and kids are going to often be

inspired by how awesome it is. But then there’s the mundane that you have to do. And it’s

honestly a good portion of what you do. And that’s what we see here. And then I love

seeing the moment of like, what, what how did we go wrong? Yeah, the math is right.

What didn’t we consider? Yeah. And then they figure it out? And? And that just felt so real

to actual science as well. I don’t know. There’s, that was one of my favorite parts of the

movie. Well, I feel like, you know, we made an interesting distinction back when we’re

talking about the film, The Martian. And that is that the book of the Martian is the story of

someone coming up with solutions. And the movie is the story of someone presenting

solutions that we don’t actually see Matt Damon come up with the answer on screen the

way that in the book, we do see Mark working through the problem. And obviously, it’s just

a matter of screen time, you know, whatever. But most of October sky is presenting the

science Hey, look, they figured out how to make our rocket. But I feel like the search for

rock 13 is the one moment in this movie that really celebrates the process of science that

it’s not just about finding the answer. It’s about how do


Did you find the answer? And what led you to that? And once that is solid, you know, the

answer is going to be solid, you know, if you if you did the process, right, that is the

promise of science, the promise of math is if you did the process, right, your conclusion will

be solid. And it was, yeah.


I have to talk a little bit about the educators. Okay. Yeah, movie.


The principal is a villain.


He made me exceptionally angry. Yeah. So my grandfather was a principal for many,

many years. And you know, I know, I lived with him for for a good while. And I know what it’s like to be

around someone who is, you know, can be harsh, and who’s an educator and rigid and

can be rigid rate, but my grandfather would never, ever keep anybody from trying to learn

something. Yeah. And I, I,


the fact that this principle is so entitled, because he can, he’s allowed to go off to college,

and he’s allowed to get out of whatever city he grew up in, and be a principal here, but

everybody else, unless you’re a jock, everybody else, you’re gonna, you’re, you’re poor, and

you’re going to the mines. And that’s just the way it is. And you should, like, it’s, it’s fine. If

you drop out of school.


I was horrified by all of this, and it was, I really, really struggled watching him and Miss

Riley, not be on the same page. And like, thank God for the Riley’s of the world.


I think I hope everybody has had, like, Has everybody had a teacher like that? I hope that

you have, please tell me that you have. I was lucky enough to have a couple. I had a

wonderful English teacher, I had two incredible debate coaches, who also for the most

part, were in the English department that were phenomenal. And they never, they never

let you slip. But they always had they it always felt supportive. Right? Yeah. And this

principle is like, Oh, no, these kids are our bad kids, because they’re making rockets and

learning math and science. Shame on you. Also, I’m going to let the cops arrest you at

school. Anytime, anytime. Anything else happens. He’s like, What’s happening here? You

can’t make a scene and he lets the scene happen. He lets these boys be completely

humiliated. And so anyway, I wanted to drop kick him. Yeah, to the to me. So I am

frustrated by him. I don’t think I hated him as much as you did. But the biggest, most

damning thing that the principal does that I just, it makes me bear my teeth. Every time I

watch this movie, is when they have found Doc 13. And Homer is showing off the

trigonometry that proves that they couldn’t do it.


It very quickly becomes obvious that Homer is right. There is not a long time in that scene

where the where the principal is like holding his ground and insisting that Homer did it. No,

it’s like, oh, okay, well, you found the rocket, I guess you didn’t do it. But as soon as Homer

starts presenting the math, the principal makes a crack about how you learned more in

the coal mine than you did in high school. And that, to me, is just the most petty, like that

is the thing that makes me decide this is not somebody that I care to sympathize with,

because he knows he’s wrong. And he’s still lashing out at the kid for being smart for

having knowledge. That’s the crime that he’s ridiculing right now is that this kid learn to

something. And that is just inexcusable for an educator. Like That would be bad from

somebody who worked at the mine, but at least with that, I could write it off as like, Oh,

well, he’s like, sort of, he doesn’t have an education. And so he’s threatened by people that

he thinks feel superior or whatever, but like, this guy’s clearly educated. He’s clearly pretty

well off. He should be celebrating kids who go out and learn trigonometry on their own.

Yeah, you know, this scene also reminds me of I don’t remember what the statistic is, and I

don’t remember where it’s from, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway. So join me for the ride which is a How we talk about how the cops close a lot more cases than they used to. And we should

be proud of them for that, and all of this stuff. And I’m sitting here going, Well, that’s

because of science. And also because the work didn’t have to be done. If anybody had

showed those kids, the rocket that the cops had found,


when they found where the fire had started, the kids would have been like, we don’t know

how to make that, that has spring loaded fins. Like, that’s insane. This is so cool. We know,

we should have thought of that. And by the way, the principal was the one who took one

look at it was like, that’s not their rocket. That’s like, I know exactly what that is. That guy

probably served in World War Two. And he Yeah, yeah, like the lack of work that went into

things and the assumptions made, and the stereotypes that were used to, to convict I

don’t know, if it’ll, if it makes you feel better. One of the things that they changed in the

movie, that is not how it went down in real life, is exactly that. Apparently, in the real story

that actually happened in the 1950s with the rocket boys. The cop showed up. And they

were like, hey, somebody started a forest fire. And we heard about your rocket, and we

think it was you. And it was like, a couple of minutes before everybody was like, wait a

minute, you couldn’t have made this rocket. And they they were they never like, got

expelled or anything like that doesn’t make me actually feel a little bit better. But yeah,

yeah. Sort of.


Within the context of the film, it’s still frustrating. I was I, you know, there was a moment in

the movie where I was, you know, we learned that right? Miss Riley has Hodgkin’s

lymphoma. And I was sitting here going, Oh, man, was this just for the movie? Was this

true to life, because we know that this is based on a true story. But true stories always

have something that’s embellished, as seen by your example. And it broke my heart when

we saw at the end that she died at 30. And she died at 31. And I was just like, Oh, fuck no,

like the amount of kids that are losing out on a light in the school.


But by the way, I’m older than 31. And that’s weird, somewhere, like I didn’t notice. But

somewhere along the way, I passed the age at which people can die young and still have

like, done things with their lives. I’m still in the mindset of like a teenager where if

somebody died younger than me, then they like sort of didn’t get to live at all. It’s very

strange that somebody can be several years younger than me and the Billy Joel song.

Only the good die young no longer applies to us. I know. Right?


Who What have we done? Yeah, seriously. weird shit people, demonstrably. So. Obviously.


I, I, I don’t have a lot more to say. But bringing it home, I will. I will say I would like to talk

about a couple of the shots that we see that again, they don’t make a meal out of


I’ve got three of them, go for it. The first one is when Homer is going down into the mineshaft for the first time, and he’s on night shift, you can tell he looks up through the grate in the elevator and we see Sputnik go over Yes. And somehow it did not feel on the nose to me. And I was like, how did they do that? And I

think it’s this maybe the setup? Or the fact that it’s not commented on? I don’t The setup is

we’re going to they’re going to see it every night after sundown. And you’re going to be

able to see it like the hour before dawn. Yeah, something like that. Right. And we we’ve

already established that. And I don’t know, I think part of it is that they don’t do it a lot.

There’s the scene at the very beginning where they look up and they see Sputnik and then

the next time they do it is that scene two thirds the way through the movie. If it had been

like this recurring theme that like every night he’s looking at the sky and watching Sputnik

or something, then it would have felt more heavy handed when he’s going down into the

mind and he’s still looking up at the sky. But the fact that it just it’s played more casually

than that, like, yeah, that was the day that everybody was looking at it and then it was just

part of the sky. Yeah. But it’s still up there. It’s still up there. It was, it was a beautiful

moment like this. This sinking into his own personal hell and watching what has inspired

him further away, again, further out of reach.


It was beautifully done and a very literal hell, the whole mind sequence was just that as a

terrifying environment, not into that at all.


The number 723 that’s Ike Ike’s number when he gets sent to the mine. And we see that

they they show us an insert of of that and then we


He pulls it out later. Yeah, completely forgotten about that medallion. And he pulls it out.



At the science fair? Yeah. And, you know, he has a moment within I was just like, Oh damn.


off day. I’m like, we haven’t seen him playing with it. I as an audience member forgot it.

And then you’re gonna do this. And I just like,


I loved it. It was so lovely. Yeah. And then my last one is, they’re going, they’re doing that

final launch. Right?


And, yeah, it’s cool that his parents show up.


They set off the rocket. And it’s, it’s me. But then when they pull out, and they do all of



super wides, and you see it from all of these other people’s points of view, yeah. And

getting and Miss Riley getting to see it through her hospital window and knowing what it

was. That was a shot, Okay, I’m gonna cry, I’m absolutely gonna cry. I didn’t, I teared up. 

But I did that last

scene, every time that I see that, like, I can watch that clip on YouTube. And I tear up that

whole last launch with the dad. And you know, counting down it is by the way, I lost track

at a certain point, but I’m pretty sure that that is the only launch in the film that actually

happens after one. The entire film there like 543 I think Yeah, there. There were a couple. I

noticed that too, that there there were not very many. It’s actually it’s it’s relevant to

another thing that I really liked, which again, in the understated, they never really make a

meal of it thing is they’re increasing infrastructure. Over the course of the film, they’re, you

know, at the very beginning, they’re like lighting the match and then running away. And

then a little bit later, they have like an erector set with a match and a string. And then a

little bit later, they have like a electrical sort of switch that they throw. And then at the

very end, it’s this very nice like wooden box with a light and I really appreciated that their

infrastructure improved over time. You got the sense that they aren’t just making rockets,

they’re refining their whole process.


Another thing that I broke my heart, but I liked how they played it off was him meeting

von Braun and shaking his hand and not even realizing that that was von Braun until he

was gone. Apparently, even that is wish fulfillment on the part of Homer Hickam who

wrote the book rocket boys by the way.


He never met him apparently, apparently in the real story. He went out to find Verner von

Braun at this conference because somebody told him that at the science fair Verner von

Braun was attending and that moment that he went out to go find Verner von Braun and

try to shake his hand was the moment that Verner von Braun decided to visit his exhibit.

Oh, no. And I hate that story. I could have I could have done without that.


very heartbreaking that you are leaving us with that. Well, no. Well, so the last scene with

the rocket launch, that is something that just gets me every time the music, we I could do

a whole nother episode of the sentences just talking about the soundtrack to October sky.

But there’s something


this is one of those things where I feel like I’m putting something on the film. I don’t know

that this is necessarily what they were going for with the shot. But it’s what I took from the

shot. This the scene that you were talking about with the the rocket being viewed from far

away and watching it go go up. And I just that shot gets me for a very specific reason.


That is a much better way to end this episode. All right.


So that is it for us on The Synthesis tonight. Tune in next week. We have a very special

episode. We’ve got one more episode this season on the synthesis. And we have a special

surprise. We are going to be interviewing Wait, wait, wait, are we actually telling people? Is

this how we’re telling people? I think we should we’re Yeah, we got it. We got to build hype

Right. I mean, yeah, I suppose. Guys. Yeah. I don’t know. You guys. This is a big deal. Yeah,

we worked hard to get this this and I don’t know it’s like it’s like a surprise party. I feel like

we’re supposed to be really quiet about it until it’s but that you’re right. We should. All

right. We should tell everybody so that they can get excited. But all right. So after reading

the Martian for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks, we reached out to Andy weird to

have him on our show. And we got him but we’re not talking about


The Martian. Oh no. Andy Weir’s next book. His third novel is coming out next week. It’s

called “Project Hail Mary”. And they sent us a copy. We read it. I read it in like 18 hours. And

it’s an awesome book. And we have Andy Weir next week for an interview discussing his

new book “Project Hail Mary”. So here’s the deal. If you there are spoilers in it. Yep. So if

you light spoilers, we don’t go through every single twist and turn. But there are things that

you don’t get from the back of the box. Yes. And so I just want to put it out there that I

would say that there are some lights and some midsize spoilers. So be careful if you are if

you are a big reader of, of Andy Weir, go on buy it. It’s a great book. It will be on shelves. I

think the day that our interview airs next week. So So get excited to, to me, Andy Weir and

his adorable dog. Yes. By the way, for those just to underline, this is a pre recorded

interview. So we’re not going to be taking questions from the audience or anything like

that we need to work around a year’s schedule, but we’re going to be releasing it at the

usual time. 5:30 pacific time on Thursday next week. I believe that’s may 6. So tune in and

check out The Synthesis interviewing Andy Weir. We talked about “Project Hail Mary” we

talked about his second book Artemus and we talked about the Martian. So tune in next

week. Bye, guys.

Ad Astra – more like BRAD Astra, am I right?! | The Synthesis

This week, “Ad Astra” starring Brad Pitt. Wowie Wow Wow. Space cowboys and Brad’s awareness for humans being wasteful. Not too shabby. BUT will Alex point out some major flaws? Will Lacey freak about the abyss of space or the lack of emotional availability!? TUNE IN.

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey, folks, 


this is Alexander Winn. And I am Lacey Hannan. 


And you are watching The Synthesis, the show where we examine how real science is used in entertainment. Tonight we are talking about Ad Astra the Brad Pitt film from a few years ago. 


Yes, we’ll give you a little bit of a rundown. It’s a, it’s kind of a domestic drama, played out in space, we have a almost like an EMP happening that comes from around Neptune. And it’s causing a lot of problems and the rest of the solar system, especially on Earth where you know, it super matters because people live there. And they’re thinking that it’s anti matter is that something along those lines is causing it. And there’s a ship out there that they’ve had some problems with. And so they bring in Brad Pitt, because his dad was the captain of that ship. So Brad Pitt is part of Space Command, which I will say is better named then space force. But he is what? He’s not a captain. He’s a major. Is that right? And yeah, so he he’s working on the space elevator, EMP hits. 


They’re like, Okay, 


we got to do something about this. And so they call him in, and they’re going to get him to Mars so that he can be in contact with his dad. And then the whole thing kind of spiraled out of control from there, as he takes off in a ship and kind of accidentally kills the entire crew. And then wanders out to Neptune to go get in contact with this dead person face to face. Yes, indeed. So that’s, that’s those are the basics. Yep. And we’ll just kind of go through it. 


Yeah. So this is very much a Heart of Darkness story. That’s the vibe that I was getting very much. All throughout Heart of Darkness. For those who haven’t read it is a book from the late 1800s, about a guy who is trying to find one particular person who has disappeared into Africa. And this is back when Africa was, you know, the dark continent, it was just a big blank space on the map. And so this person is going into the wilderness of activity going beyond what is known to find one particular person out there. It was famously adapted as Apocalypse Now, a story about someone during the Vietnam War, who’s going off into Vietnam to find a commander who has disappeared into Vietnam. And it’s exactly the story. It’s apparently it’s not like officially an adaptation of Heart of Darkness. But I don’t know why. Because it’s literally the same story. So yeah, it’s, it’s interesting. I figured. So this was a film that neither Lacey nor I had seen before we before last night. And I added it to the list of things that we wanted to do for the synthesis. First off, because it’s a sci fi astronaut, movie. And that’s kind of what we’ve been doing. But also specifically, because, you know, the synthesis is all about examining scientific realism, in entertainment. You know, we’re not doing the Star Wars and the Star Trek, that sort of thing. We’re doing stuff like the Martian that at least bills itself as being plausible. And the writer, director of this film, James gray, said, specifically that he wanted to make, and I quote, the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s ever been put in a movie. And to basically say, space is awfully hostile to us. And so that was a that was a flag that I could not ignore. That is exactly what we want to talk about on the show is the most realistic depiction of space travel ever put to film. And let’s talk about how he did. 


I’m not wild about it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, listen, I didn’t hate this. In comparison to some of the things that we’ve seen and in a vacuum, my might hate it. I don’t know. I don’t want to. I don’t I don’t like hating things. Yeah. But I just felt like, there. There was a lot in terms of the space travel specifically that just felt wild wildly. Wrong, like basic basic is, how did his dad was there the McBride’s right? Yeah. Okay. How did commander McBride stay alive on a ship? For decades? Yeah, he’s out there for like 30 years. 30 years. Yeah. And it was not. It was supposed to be half that long. How did he How did he manage that? We don’t we don’t have any Yeah, way of creating food and water for an oxygen for that long. 


Yeah, we are, we are left to assume that they had some sort of like algae tank or something that they could grow their own food in perpetuity, but it’s never commented on. Yeah, yeah, that’s that’s something that I have had to make up what I just said, to explain 


Yeah, you have to fill in some plot holes for them. And I just felt like I wanted them to tell us. Yeah, like, how does this work? Because it’s cool. 


Yeah. Is that surviving alone in space is the entire premise of the Martian? Like there’s, there’s a whole movie there that that you could have gone into for Tommy Lee Jones? Yeah, I think. So I had a funny little realization, where I was like, Oh, I think I, I have a good point. And then I realized that it was not a good point. The thing that I that I was thinking, after I saw this movie was I felt like that quote, from the director about how he wanted to make the most realistic science fiction film, the real, most realistic depiction of space travel that had ever been put to film. My my gut feeling was that he sort of told the art department that and nobody else like he didn’t tell the writer that he didn’t tell, you know, that sort of stuff. Because there is so much that is beautiful. In this movie, I love the art direction. I love the cinematography, I love some of the set pieces, like visually, this probably is the most scientifically accurate thing that I’ve ever seen put to film. But then the story is so not scientifically accurate. That I was I was left thinking, Okay, this guy must have like, been brought on to the project with a pre written script, read it and said, I, the director want to make this the most scientifically realistic thing ever. But I still have to deal with the script that was handed to me. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable explanation. And then I got on Wikipedia, and I realized that the director was the writer. So I guess that wasn’t it. He if he wanted to do it scientifically, accurately, he missed the mark. That being said, like I said, there are definitely a lot of things about this movie that I I really enjoyed in that. In that vein in the scientific realism side, 


listen, like, let me point out one other thing that I really struggled with, but then I will follow it up with something that I liked. And I know you liked it, too. Yeah. Okay. So one of the other things is Mars to Neptune, in 79 days is impossible, and ridiculous and cannot happen. So why, why? Why do that? And I recognize that the story kind of calls for it. Oh, my gosh, there’s this uncontrolled release of anti-matter and it’s going to kill everybody. We don’t have a year or two to get out to Neptune. Yeah, 


exactly. But you, you made this, like, you wrote the story and 70 they said, as he says when he lands on Mars, it’s been seven weeks since he’s had oxygen and sunlight and something else. And I’m thinking that seven weeks from Earth, and then there was this moment that he is on the moon for a while before they head off to Mars, and I’m also sitting there going wait seven weeks, seven weeks to get from from to do all of that. You know, I don’t believe you. Oh, 


yes, seven weeks is a little more realistic like in other universes, like if they had said seven weeks to get to Mars in the expanse universe. Yeah, I buy that. Like they’ve got these crazy Epstein drives that can burn it, you know, high g for the entire duration of the trip. Yes. I completely believe that you could get to Mars in seven weeks. I don’t even think it would be that hard. But if it takes you seven weeks to get from Earth to Mars, how the hell are you getting from Mars to Neptune? In 79 days, math doesn’t work. Yeah. 


And speaking of math, by the way, I actually did the math, I looked it up from Mars to Neptune is on average, about 2,654,820,000 miles. And on in that distance to get there in 79 days, you would have to be averaging 1.4 million miles an hour. Now obviously, Brad Pitt’s fragile human body cannot just put the pedal to the metal and get up to 1.4 million miles an hour. So in order to do that, you would have to have a long period of acceleration and then a long period of deceleration. But if you spend a long period accelerating a long period decelerating, then you by definition have to go even faster in the middle part. So it’s just the math does not work. Like if he has an engine that can get in from Mars to Neptune in 79 days, then you don’t need to be searching for extraterrestrial life, which is what Tommy Lee Jones his whole mission was about was trying to contact alien life. That’s not a problem and Because you can just go there. Yeah, like, if you can go that fast and Neptune, then you can just get to Alpha Centauri without it being that big a deal. 


And so I just, I feel like the director did not accomplish what he set out to accomplish. And he failed me. And I don’t approve of that. Generally, but what I will say I really enjoyed Mars or the moon, when they when they get to the moon, and we see how things, you know, the the gravity change. And you know, there’s that chase with the pirates. That’s like, that was cool. I had one minor problem with it, it doesn’t even matter. Yeah, it’s the, the whole thing that that going off the side of the crater, and just kind of 


spinning out into nothingness. 


And then landing. Like, we talked about this earlier, landing in the shadow. And of course, the shadows on the moon are so dark, because there’s no atmosphere to diffuse the light. So you get it’s like it was, it was awesome to see someone do that and, and get it right. Yeah. So I enjoyed parts of the space travel, it was just so few and far between that it barely 


I feel like the biggest strength of this movie. And I really, it never got to like the whole movie, this is the part that I was just really loving, was, they did an incredible job of making sci fi stuff seem mundane, that like this is just Yeah, you’re just we’re going to send you the Mars, you’re going to stop by on the moon on the way we’re going to take a commercial flight to the moon to keep a low cover. And, and then they just move on. And like they really a lot of time, filmmakers sort of can’t resist the urge to be like, Oh, he’s going to the moon, you know, like, like, they sort of make a meal about it. And they really the actors and the editing and, and the writing, everything really led to, like the guy said, we’re going to send you to Mars by way of the moon. And it really felt like he was saying we’re gonna send you to Oregon by way of Kansas. And that’s just how this goes like, that’s, it’s no big deal. It’s not like a crazy top secret, you know, insane mission. It’s like, no, we’re just, we’re gonna send you to Mars, 


we’re gonna set you to Mars. So that it, it feels a little bit so that it’s not as noticeable. It’s 


exactly like we’re gonna stop by on the moon because it’s convenient for for, you know, keeping your cover, it’s not a big deal to go to the moon. And there were just so many things like that, in this. In this world, there were so many things that were just sort of casually, futuristic, you know, the whole opening sequence on the space elevator, which, by the way, is the coolest, and maybe the only representation of a space elevator that I’ve ever seen in a big budget thing. But also not a space elevator. I guess it’s they describe it as the International Space antenna. Yeah. Which is weird, because if you’re building something that high, and that thin. That doesn’t work, unless it’s tethered to something in space. Like if it’s a space elevator, it makes sense, because it’s a cable running between the Earth and a counterweight. But if it’s just a tower that he was like, at the top of the night, that’s weird. So I wish that they had just called it the space elevator because way cooler. So tell me tell me more about this. Tell me why it’s weird. 


So you know, with anything that you know, in, in the world of just sort of like kindergarten physics, okay. If you have an object that is going back really far, guys, yeah, if you have an object that’s taller than it is wide, there’s always going to be a tipping point. And the tipping point is, as you tilt it, the point at which its center of gravity is no longer over itself, the point at which its center of gravity is over air, it will start to fall. And so the thing about building really tall things like skyscrapers and antennas, and that sort of stuff, is that you need to widen it to make it taller. That’s the fundamental concept behind a pyramid. You know, like, if you’re gonna build a really big a really tall thing, you need it to be really wide. And, you know, you can you can fudge it as your materials get better. You know, it’s, it’s no, it’s no coincidence that skyscrapers happened at the beginning of the 20th century, right when like, really strong steel was developed because steel can hold it, but the taller you get, the less wiggle room there is, you know, like if you if you picture a radio antenna, that’s like, you know, 20 storys tall. If you’re off by half a degree, you’re already leaning so much that your center of gravity is off the base, which is why if you’re, you know, driving across country and you see a radio tower, they often have cables hold holding them

Because those, if it ever starts to lean in one direction, the other, the cable will pull it back, you know, that’s why they they’re designed that way. So if you have something like what we saw at the beginning about Astra that is ginormous, heaven tall. Yeah, that is space tall. But you know that that thing is not like the whole complex that he’s working on isn’t really any wider than like an office building, you know. And, and this, most of it is just hanging off of these quite thin tubes, that are the actual structure that is reaching down toward the ground. And so the idea is that if you have something that tall, you either have made it out of a manner of a metal that is infinitely strong, that can just handle any kind of force, the atmosphere and wind and you know, like everything is putting on it. If we assume that they don’t have God metal, then then it needs those cables that radio tower has, or, and here’s the big thing, or it needs to be tethered to the sky. And that’s how a rate that’s how a space elevator works is a space elevator is a real thing. You can really build it. It’s perfectly valid science, and it shows up in a lot of science fiction. And what you do is you have a counterweight, you have a big thing like a moon or an asteroid or a really big space station in orbit, and then you do a cable down to the earth. And the cable wants to fall, the cable is not supporting it’s on wait. It’s just taught, it’s pulled between the Earth and this counterweight. And you can imagine like somebody swinging like a bolo, the force of that orbiting object is pulling the cable taut so it stays upright. And so you know, when when the movie started, and he’s out on this incredibly tall thing, and he’s like doing maintenance operations on and I’m like, Oh my god, this is so cool. It’s a space elevator clearly, like the only way something could be this tall. Is it the space elevator? And then later, they refer to it as the International Space antenna. And I was like, what, what? 

What? That’s, that’s weird. Like, why not just call it a space? That’s clearly what you have is a space elevator. And it’s so much cooler than an antenna. Right? It was a it was an odd choice. But either way, in my head cannon, it was a space elevator. And that’s awesome. For sure. Presumably there was an elevator in the antenna. That’s how we got up there in the first place. 


Oh, right. Yeah, cuz they didn’t just climb. 


Yeah. That was not, that was not literally a stairway to heaven, built into this, like a spiral staircase with 15 billion steps. Yeah. 


Is it Stairway to Heaven, like a song about to his little girl that died? So that might get really sad. And really, I mean, it’s also just a phrase. But yeah, but that’s okay, whatever. 


But yeah, like, you know, that was an example of that was a super cool representation of the thing. And what what I was talking about earlier, this mundane sci fi, it’s like this incredibly awesome set piece of sci fi storytelling. And he’s like a repair guy. You know, like, he’s just going out. And he’s licking himself onto it. And he’s going down, and he’s doing stuff. And he’s, he seems to be functionally the equivalent of like, a window washer on an office building. And I just I loved that. There are so many things in his movies where they took this incredibly cool sci fi thing. And then they were just like, yeah, that’s how the world works. 


I will say that this is the first time that I’ve ever cared about commercial spaceflight. Oh, yeah. The way they showed it. I was like, Oh, yeah, no, this just feels this feels the most realistic. Yeah. You know, we’ve seen spaceflight in the expanse. We’ve seen it in other areas. And it always feels really kind of grim. Yeah, to me, and this just felt like, oh, you’re getting on a Delta flight, you’re getting on a United Airlines Flight, whatever it is. And, and, you know, you’re, I guess paying for your blankets and pillows by then which is a crock. But, you know, there was there was something about it that just felt like okay, this makes sense to me. And it’s cool. The only thing that I really didn’t like, and this is just my, I mean, I think it’s actually a big deal. I’m I shouldn’t downplay it. But the tree hugger comes out in me. The the moment those huge fuel stages just come off and you’re sitting here going, how many commercial flights go up every day? And what about those fuel tanks that just land in the ocean? 


I guess it’s especially interesting because that’s old tech. That’s how it worked in the 60s. But that’s not what SpaceX is doing these days. They they’ve got reusable rockets that you don’t need to just jettison things off into nothingness. So that was an odd choice. It 


was an odd choice. They had some they had some old stuff happening. Yeah, there was something that felt that was clearly in the future. Because they can get, yeah. So Neptune in 79 days, 


it almost it almost seemed like, you know, there were enough throwbacks to sort of the Space Age tech and design and stuff that it almost you could do a reasonable headcanon with this movie, that it’s sort of like a sequel to for for all mankind This is like it’s an alternative universe an alternative history of a world where the space race never ended. And so they do still kind of do it like they did in the 60s, because they never stopped doing 


it that way. I guess there’s, there’s something kind of interesting about that. I’m not usually one for filling in potholes, like, my, my thing is that I want to take things at face value, like, oh, look for the symbolism, I will do all of that. But it didn’t. It doesn’t, it doesn’t always work. And so in this case, I’m happy. Like, I’m not happy to but I’m willing to fill in a couple of the plot holes. And one of the things that they talk about is the amount of war that’s happening. He says that he spent three years over the Arctic Circle, or what the fuck is happening over the Arctic Circle do and the moon has turned into the Wild West. Like, this is all worse than it’s turned into, like, you know, in Mogadishu like, yeah, it’s 


and then and Mars is the same way they talk about, you know, the the outpost that they go to is the American one. And it doesn’t seem like you want to go to the other ones. If you’re an American, like, what is happening? We have not we apparently went to space without coming up with some treaties first, which I think is problematic. 


Yeah, it’s almost like this movie is set during world war three. And they sort of forgot to tell us, you know, that, like, there are all these military installations everywhere. And everybody’s fighting everywhere. And they just kind of like it’s not relevant to this story. So we’re not going to get into it. But like, you set up a really book world. 


Yeah. And but believably so like, it wasn’t post apocalyptic. It was just, this is the futuristic version of the 1930s of the 1940s. Not the 1990s. You know, it’s not a perfectly prosperous time. Are you? Me? It made me sad. 


Yeah, it was. 


I don’t know. It was hard before we move on from the moon, by the way, in the world of odd choices. And I it’s not a criticism. Exactly. It’s just sort of a dot dot dot question mark moment when I was watching. You know, Richard Branson, has a SpaceX competitor. There’s a company called Virgin Galactic that is trying to do private spaceflight, and that sort of thing. And they sold some tickets. Famously, they offered William Shatner a ticket to go into space. And he was like, No, like, No way and for him. But it was, it’s an interesting choice when they take a commercial flight to the moon. It’s Virgin Atlantic. It’s not Virgin Galactic. It’s, it’s Virgin Atlantic, which is the company that really exists that you can like fly to London. 


We did Virgin Atlantic go under. I think 


they were sold and like it was consumed by another airline. But yeah, and they kept the aesthetic. The whole room is lit in sort of pink and purple, which is like if you’ve ever been on a virgin flight, that’s actually how they decorate and stuff. Yeah, well, I’m 


so close even says like, she loves that, that there’s DHL on the moon. And it’s I do appreciate that some of these corporations have stuck around. Yeah, 


I just I wonder what kind of behind the scenes licensing deals had to be struck to get virgin but it wasn’t Virgin Galactic. Yeah, it was the what was the specific legal delineation there because you know, they wanted it to be Virgin Galactic. But yeah, that that whole sequence go on to the moon. It’s all great. I loved on an art direction level. I don’t know why this I got such a kick out of this. I think it was just because I wasn’t expecting it. In one of the very early scenes after he’s fallen off the space elevator. I was admiring their uniforms. I liked the it was it was green, but it had a black shirt and a black tie. It was just kind of like looked all gray. It looks pretty green to me. 


Maybe I’m wrong because it was kind of dimly lit, but it it read to me as army green jacket with a black shirt and a black tie. And it was just one of those things that Yeah, I believe that as a future fashion choice that they wouldn’t do right now. But it’s not so different that I couldn’t see them doing it in a few decades. But and so I was like, okay, that’s kind of cool costuming. And then they went to the moon and I noticed that all the soldiers had lunar cammo they had this like camo pattern that was white and gray and black, but it wasn’t Arctic camo. It was like, sort of futuristic and had all these straight lines that were sort of breaking up the profile. And then when they went to Mars, those same kind of guys were wearing, like tan and gray and orange camo, and that’s Martian camo. And they never talk about it. Like they never address it. They never make a meal of it. They just, that’s what the soldiers look like at this base. And I love that that is exactly the kind of world building that I Appreciate where they just thought about it a little bit, you know, their soldiers aren’t wearing green camo because you wouldn’t wear green camo on Mars. Right does. Putting aside from the fact that you, when you go on the surface of Mars, you’re wearing a spacesuit. Like they’re never gonna wear that camel outfit on the surface anyway, but it’s the army. You got to give them something to wear. And yeah, it’s gonna be Martian camel. I just I love it. Yeah, 


I wasn’t entirely sure why it was green. But okay. What? The Space Command? 


Oh, the Space Command. dress uniforms. Yeah, that they were beautiful. I thought they were nice looking. But they they fell. Oh, hold on. I was like, What? What is? What is what the green? 


I’ll tell you what is up with the girl? And it pisses me off? Oh, no, it’s realistic in a way that makes me mad. Because spaceforce which came out after this movie was made, but this movie was pressured. Us space force the new division of the armed forces. I know where this is going. Uses army ranks. Come on, guys, they don’t use Navy ranks. You haven’t watched enough science fiction to know that the person who’s in charge of a ship is supposed to be a captain. Come on. Space Command is supposed to use Navy ranks. That’s how this is supposed to work. Everybody knows that there was even a bill in Congress that was going to force space force to use Navy ranks. And it got voted out because Congress is garbage. And it makes me mad. And so the the answer to your question of why is their uniform green? For the same reason that he’s a major? It’s because the US Army ranks? You guys, I have heard this rant multiple times. I think it may have even already happened on this show once. So, you know, I can’t get into it much. 


I’m just saying Congress needs me. Like, this is us. Congress needs to get your shit in here for a number of reasons. But one of them is you gave us space force army ranks. And that’s stupid. And anyway, they have army ranks in this too. And I’m sure that’s why their uniforms are green is because their army guys not Navy guys. So yeah, we will wait. Okay, 


that’s our show tonight, folks. Thanks for watching. We’re done. 


So I I need to talk about the character. 


Yeah, look for a little bit get some film stuff in we have more science to get back to but let’s Yeah, I entertainment side. 


Yeah. Let’s talk about the part where we get into the fact that Lacey didn’t super enjoy the movie, and I kind of did enjoy the movie. 


So Brad Pitt and so here’s the deal. I think Brad Pitt is a great actor. I think he’s interesting to watch. But I thought that the words they put in his mouth were stupid. Oh, I’m sorry. Not necessarily the words they put in his mouth. The words they put in his head because all we heard was freaking voiceovers. Okay, so his initials, 


this is going to be Lacey’s army ranks rant. 


Listen, the initial monologue that he has is like he’s, he won’t be vulnerable to mistakes and he calls his relationship unimportant. And I’m sitting here going, dude, you’re putting so much pressure on yourself. And he talks about how good he is at compartmentalizing. I was like, oh, man, dude, you’re setting yourself up to fail. This is not how EQ works. This is not how mental resiliency works. Who gave you How did you get to be a major 


you use your 


ability to handle stress is bullshit superhero stuff. Like this is not real. And and I’m not the only one who thinks that because I found a whole article on inverse calm Hold on, I have to Who is it? I don’t freaking know. It’s a NASA psychologist on Ad Astra and, and combating stress. And he talks about how AI is really not going to cut it. And he’s like, I’m not trying to be defensive. I was impressed. Because you know, I have harped on this multiple times you guys about the psyche vows or the lack thereof, as seen in 


the one of the interstellar graphic smart like basically everything that we’ve done on the show except for the Martian. It’s got a really bad psychological screening. 


And he talks about like, I’m not trying to be defensive, but it’s going to take a very long time to get to a point where AI could do what psychologists do, because you’re first looking for. You’re looking for people that are good at handling stress, but then you’re also looking for being able to to train people to handle stress, and you okay over there got a cable, like, tangled in my chair. 


I’m sorry, all I’m seeing is the top of your boss 


on me. I’m just being weird. 


Okay. Bye. But, 


you know, stress, there was a there was an astronaut that came back to Earth. And then because of the psychological stress she like, attempted to kidnap somebody. I 


mean, the straw. Yeah, got real weird. She wore diapers so she could stock people longer. And yeah, I got real weird. 


Yeah. So I’m just saying, like, the idea that psych evals could be done. The way that they do them in this movie, like, I appreciate the amount of them. I don’t appreciate how they did them. Because I think it’s BS. I don’t think like, I know that this movie is not set in the next 10 years. But it seems like it’s set. Not that far in the distant future. And I don’t believe that neural networks are going to be great for psychology and psychological evaluations, because there’s no trust there. Humans don’t just trust machines. And one of the things that this NASA psychologist says is, humans don’t like to give up agency to machines, we are practically unwilling to do it. And now, that’s going to be with like super private things and, and things like that. And so the amount of work that they have to do to build up enough trust to get astronauts to actually talk to them, is huge. And he just says that you can’t like, it’s it’s not that it will never happen. But it’s unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. And I appreciated that because it it fed into what I was feeling I was sitting there going, I’m sorry, this guy, you remember, there’s a James Bond scene, and I think it’s with Oh, I don’t remember which James Bond where they open the they open the movie with him pretending he’s dead. And he has like, slowed his heart rate down to zero. And he’s in the hospital. And so they declare him dead. And then they leave the room and he gets up and walks out. I think it’s a Pierce Brosnan one. And I felt like it was like this. It’s just so it’s so not real, that a man would never have his heart rate go over 80 know, when he’s falling from the sky, you know? 


Yeah, there’s a certain there’s a certain amount of it’s not about tough. You’re, you know, there’s a I think it’s in the Dresden Files, books. There’s some book that I’ve been that I read recently, where the main character talks about how, when something is flying at your face with the intent to kill you, you get scared. And that’s not a matter of toughness or cowardice. It’s not a matter of training, it’s not a matter of anything. If you have bilateral symmetry, you’re going to be scared. Like, that’s just how this works. And that is to me. Yeah, like there’s no such thing as a guy who’s whose heart rate never goes above 80 when he’s in the military. 


And one of the things that this guy says, I’m going to read a quote from this article, it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting. And of course, you know, at one point, he talks about the Martian, which we love, so the only makes it better. But he says, as humans, agency is so important to us having our self determination that I think it might be a source of information. And it might have a high degree of predictive probability on things, but human decision making will always be in the loop. And there will be a myriad of factors that determine an individual’s readiness to perform a mission regardless of what the psychological status and I just think that’s interesting, because my whole thought on those cycles is they’re not taking in there are too many variables that I, I think that they didn’t look at, and also the variables that they did look at felt like BS. Yeah. So anyway, I could go on about it for the rest of the time that we have, but I won’t, 


I will overflow agrees with you. Because soflo stated that he’s got the emotional range of a pet rock. 


Yes. Yeah. And you can even hear it in the, in the in the voiceovers. Because, you know, a lot of the language is very philosophical, but it’s not deep. at all It feels like it feels like a freshman. Like poetry slash philosophy major, like talking about his mental state. I have very specific people in mind for this. And I’m sure all I think we all do, right. And that’s just it feels so emo. Yeah, totally, totally Alex. But I really struggled with the voiceovers because they, they felt very shallow, even with the vocabulary that they use. One of the other things is he’s like they’re using me. They’re using me. So you know, he’s on. He’s on Mars. And he’s been given the script to call out to his dad. And then they put him in a calming room, which is like one of the least calming 


Yeah, we’ve ever seen. 


You ever need to stress me out? You put me in that calming room was horrifying. 


And he’s just like pacing. Right? And definitely not calming down punching the wall. Yeah. And he’s like, they’re just using me. God damn them. And I’m like, Yeah, man, they’re trying to save humanity. You do what you have to do. Like, who gives a shit if they’re using you? 


Well, and also they told you, yeah, we’re gonna use you. Well, that’s that’s the mission is to be used by the army to make contact with us and you agree 


to it. So if you have a problem with it, lay out your argument. I want to know what it is. I’m sure you have one. Even if I don’t agree with it. Just lay out the argument. But you can’t just say they’re using me and think I’m gonna feel bad for you. Like I had zero empathy for this guy the entire time. I just didn’t care. I didn’t care if he found his dad. I didn’t care if he went back to his wife. He said his relationship to her was unimportant. Like that as one of his very first line. So for her sake, I hope she never goes back to him because he’s toxic. And it just like, I don’t know, I felt like the main character had zero emotional depth. 


Yeah, well, there were a lot of things for it throughout the story. There are a lot of things were the human side was weird. Like, I mean, the biggest one for me, isn’t even Brad Pitt’s character. It’s that the professionally trained spacepilot freezes up at the landing. Yeah, like, this is your whole job, man. Like, what? What is the problem? Exactly? And they never say like, there’s no, there’s no indication in the storyline of what exactly is the problem, they get hit by a surge. So they they’re not going to land on autopilot. And I mean, the only thing that I can think of is that we’re living in a world where autopilot is so universal, that he just actually doesn’t know how to land without it. Like, you know, yeah, sure. If all of the automatic transmissions in all of the cars and all of the worlds suddenly stopped working, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to drive a manual, you know, like a stick shift. Yeah, sure. But you’re a pilot man. Like, even if you don’t know how you should be figuring it out. You should be grabbing the stick and punching buttons and figuring out what to do. You shouldn’t just be sitting there and then glancing with a four lawn look over at the guy next to you like what the fuck is your job? And then at the end, Brad Pitt is like, I will not report what you did to space calm, and I’m sitting there going okay, but like, you should. Yeah, like, for the for the betterment of everybody that’s ever going to be on the sky ship. You should report this is exactly what you need to 


crew at the very least would have died. Had it not been for Brad Pitt’s character. Yeah. And, and not to mention the people at the landing site. Yeah, it just what the hell 


yeah. When a pilot responsible when a pilot can’t land his plane, you report that shit to space calm? Yeah, it was it was very strange. There were a lot of things like that, that were just okay. 


Yeah. And I kept going, you know, they’d have you, you’d, you’d have trained for all of this. And then, you know, my mom’s a dental hygienist. And she has to go to a certain amount of training every year, and it’s rather a lot. And pilots get refresher courses 


all the time. Yeah. And so what the hell is your problem, man? And, you know, we’re totally skipping over the first time that we see this guy, lose his cool, and it’s just a touch. But that’s when there’s the Mayday and what the what the hell was the point of that Mayday? I don’t, what what did it do for the story, to have these deranged, poor animals, lose it on their scientists and then kill the captain of this pilot that was checking on the Mayday? Like, what the hell was that and why? 


Yeah, it’s I mean, to me, it was interesting. Yeah, like doing animal testing out there and one of them gets loose and there’s a crazy like, how do you how do you deal With that, that’s an interesting premise. But what did it do for this story? Like if you had cut that scene, what would you have lost? 


Nothing, literally nothing. Yeah. So all you just get is this weird gore fest for a minute. Yeah. 


And, you know, there was a point with the with the sound or the music earlier on in the film that I was like, Okay, wait, did we just step into a thriller? Or is there going to be like pops of horror in this movie? Because the music kind of set that up? But the trailer did not. And so I was confused. And I, I didn’t. I didn’t know. I don’t know what they were trying to do with this movie. I felt like they were trying to mesh too many genres. And they didn’t do a good job of it. 


Yeah. Well, so segwaying back to some stuff. That was really cool. The Lunar Chase was really cool. That was a really cool action scene. And, again, from the from the sort of art design side, I felt like that scene had a lot of really cool, subtle things to it. So for example, when you’ve got a bunch of people in white spacesuits on white rovers, driving across a white plane, it’d be really easy to lose track of who is who, you know, that’s, that would be a real concern. And I feel like they did a great job of not letting you there were there were little cues like the the good guys had gold visors, and the bad guys had black visors. The rovers had subtly different designs and that sort of thing. But they were Yeah, like that whole thing and worth mentioning. This movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing. And it was that scene, I’m sure that got it for him. Because the the sound mixing in that scene of there is no sound in space. But there is sound of stuff hitting you. When you drive into a rock. You can hear it because it’s coming up through the rover. And, you know, that sort of stuff is that is that was really well done. I thought that it was exceptionally well done. And I and I will say that there, there were things that were totally beautiful the cinematography of this movie. I often love to not always I felt like some of the trippy stuff got really distracting. But there were times that it was just gorgeous. And you know, it’s the same cinematographer I believe who did and that did Interstellar. Yeah. So you know, the the planets were stunning, just like it. It was one of those things are just kind of makes you drool over where we where we get to live, 


right? Yeah, 


it’s so beautiful. 


I want to go to there like, Oh, 


yeah, yeah. 


There is. 


I don’t Did you did you just just just 


just went out of my brain. There was the thing. And then there wasn’t. 


I’m sorry, I interrupted your whole thing about the sound mixing and the the the chase on the moon with cinematography work, because it was something I could compliment. Oh, so I had to interrupt you just to say something nice. 


Yeah, no, you’re you’re, you’re good. Yeah, the the lunar Chase was awesome. There were there were a lot of things that we haven’t seen before. You know, like, these days, for those of you who are watching it for all mankind is an Apple TV plus show that is dealing with the idea of combat in space. It’s alternative history where the United States and the Soviet Union continue the space race. And so they have they each have lunar bases and their conflicts on the moon. And they’ve made a lot of hay out of the fact that season two sees the first actual combat on the moon and they’re all the press material have these astronauts carrying like white and sixteens and all that. And so you know, that is starting to do it. But Ad Astra obviously been out for a little while. That’s the first time I think I’ve ever seen a realistic depiction of a battle on the moon. You know, that’s, that isn’t just like Star Trek, you know, that. That was astronauts fighting and I believed it that seemed like about how it would go down. Which is to say quick and really, really deadly. 


Yeah. Which I Oh, tell me about your take on the fight when he gets when he gets on the shuttle that he’s not supposed to be on? 


Yeah. So that I thought was interesting. I feel like again, from a storytelling standpoint, I sort of have some issues with it because you just slaughtered three people and took over, essentially an Air Force jet. And you know, like that was Whoa. But I did really appreciate That, you know, 03 combat is weird. You know, like, that’s, that’s not what humans were meant for. And I feel like they really captured the elegance of it. You know, Hey, he’s like, don’t, don’t worry, I’m not here to do anything. And they’re like coming out and one, one woman pulls out a gun and, and then all of a sudden the rocket kicks on. And you forget that, Oh, you don’t just float in space, you float in space, if your ship is floating in space, and then as soon as your ship starts moving, and you’re not strapped in, it’s effectively gravity. And she just gets squished. And it’s, it’s painful to watch. But it is a good reminder that like, you can’t treat this stuff as a given in space. And then, you know, the other guy and Brad Pitt are wrestling and they’re sort of spinning end over end as, as they’re fighting. And it just, I feel like, you know, one of the things that people talk about is, when you see a bar fight in a movie, it’s, it’s easy to follow. It’s like a boxing match. And they’re, they’re pounding each other and they’re taking, you know, they’re, they’re trading blows. And if you ever see a bar fight in real life, it’s like, it looks more like deer just locking antlers, it’s like two guys just run at each other. And they just sort of like grab each other. 

And it just looks like a really angry hook. But let me tell you, as someone who worked in a sports bar for a very long time, those bar fights tend to turn into many people. Yeah, they tend to end up on the street. And it is not elegant, it’s totally hard to follow, and you don’t know who you’re fighting or why Yeah, and then and I’m not part of it, I’m just saying I’ve seen 16 people stop traffic because of this. And it’s 


absurd. And the the the thing that I’m sort of leaning into right now is it’s not you don’t keep your distance, you know, it’s not to boxers, they’re like, you know, reaching out with their arm to punch the other guy. For the most part, they sort of smash their faces into each other’s shoulders, and they’ve got their arms like trying to hit each other in the back and they’re like me and each other, like, it’s just this sort of dog pile of, it really looks like an angry hug. And it that I feel like what’s captured in this scene is like, two people are trying to kill each other in space and it just looks kind of dumb, like, like they’re just kind of spinning it over and and try to get at each other and it’s just inelegant. Does 


anybody know what was in that canister? That got loose? And then it just like killed the captain? Or the pilot, whatever? Because that makes no sense. And why didn’t the captain who was an arm’s reach of of oxygen put on his own oxygen mask? This man that pilot had zeros like serve to make his survival skills are zero and he should not have been in this position? Obviously, and the psyche, Val’s would have told us that, listen, I will try not to come back to the psyche. Val’s repeatedly, 


but the psyche valid, you want to believe you 


told us to this? And Alex was like, I take you know this. Do you think the military really has good psyche veils? And I was like, I don’t know. I mean, they’re probably not great. 


Don’t get me to actually give the backstory on that comment. 


Would you like to know, because it’s, the whole thing is like, these are all military people. And we like to think that the military has does good psyche. Val’s. But my question that, and Alex said that he you know, like he takes you were saying that you, you could handle the psyche vows. And that you took that at face value, which is, you know, the military is not great at everything. 


Yeah, that basically Lacy was arguing that the the psyche vows were so bad that they were unrealistic. And the way that I read the film was that the psyche, vows are really bad, because the army kind of doesn’t care that much. They care if you can continue the mission, and they don’t actually care that much about your well being and as long as you can continue the mission, then they’ll, they’ll just sort of rubber stamp it. And that seems like exactly the sort of thing that the military would do. I just, 


I couldn’t I can’t handle that. Like that just is so heart. Like it’s not heartbreaking. It just like it’s heart crushing. Yeah. And it’s, it is in itself crushing. And so I just, oh, I couldn’t I couldn’t handle it. And I kept saying like, they’re all of these people in these positions, that you’re asking me to take it at face value that at face value, that they should be here and that they should be in these positions, but I can’t take it at face value because I don’t value its face, and that the pilot is one of them. And also you can’t handle the edge cases which are both of the McBride men come on. And Ruth Megas character also probably shouldn’t be in the position that she should be on on Mars. So anyway, I’m just saying every last one of them had they’ve been promoted beyond 


their capabilities. And I don’t like it. You don’t like to see it? Well, the way we got off on this was talking about the canister that gets shot that is that yeah, that is something that like, I really wish that they had just like thrown in a line of dialogue that that was like some kind of super toxic gas or something. And because I don’t think they mentioned it at all. But there was one thing that Brad Pitt says sort of like in passing, which it sounds like he says it was oxygen. And that doesn’t make sense. So yeah, I just have to assume that it was some kind of like nerve agent that God, 


why would it just be sitting there on the wall like that? Yeah, 


it’s, I mean, it seemed like it was maybe close to where they were keeping the nukes. So maybe it was some sort of like, super radioactive gas? I don’t know. It’s like, you can sort of fill in the blanks and come up with something that kind of makes sense. But I wish that they just thrown in a line and been like, yeah, that’s what, oh, no, you released the nerve gas that we were going to use to kill everybody on the ship that you know, whatever. Yeah, that was kind of odd. 


Should we? Should we talk about the climax of the movie? Yeah, 


I was about to say, let’s, let’s get to Neptune. So he’s so our hero arrives at Neptune. He’s there to to sort of reconnect with his father recontact his father and bring him home, and then also to destroy the ship because it’s been established that the the surge, the problem in this movie is coming from this ship. And I kind of misunderstood. I thought that this movie was a mystery about what is the surge? I thought that we were trying to get to Neptune so that we could figure out what is Tommy Lee Jones doing to create this phenomenon? And then it turned I guess that’s, I guess that was a misunderstanding. That was not what this movie was about. It’s just his ship is broken. And it’s causing this and there’s no like, 


and his his thing is that he says that the crew mutiny, the mutiny, the last bit of the crew mutinied, and things went wrong, and that’s what started this. 


Which, by the way, we’ve already established that the crew mutinied earlier and he killed them all. And so if these are his last loyal crew mutinied against him, these people suck and mutinying man, like this guy already killed everyone who rose up against him. If you’re going to rise up against him, you kill him in his sleep. I mean, come on, like you don’t just tell him, Hey, we’re going home and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. Like, there is a thing you can do to stop you. So like, you should really do a thing. Yeah, take take precaution. 


They leaned into the creep factor. And a way that I felt was forced. 


I appreciated seeing it from Tommy Lee Jones. This is an unusual role for Tommy Lee Jones and he he crazy this, 


I mean, like, sure, but yeah, I’m talking about kind of the environmental stuff like Brad Pitt gets into the ship. And the first thing we like, the first thing we see is someone dead, with their head in a bag, like a plastic bag, and then you start to see more dead bodies in implying by the way that he was killed like by hand like this is not a guy who was killed because he got locked in an airlock. 


This is someone who was murdered, face to face. 


Yeah. And in the background is a TV playing at Black and White musical number 


in the creepiest way possible in 


the creepiest way possible, though, I would love to know what that film was because I want to see that. I’ve never seen that clip before. So if it’s a real clip, I need to know what it is. 


Sure it is. 


But it was just like it felt like creepy for creepiness sake and not actually for to move the 


sense in the universe. Just a storytelling. I kind of 


felt like they between that and the monkeys and some of the way that no drowning. 


You can die in space for monkeys, but you can’t drown 


this. Listen, 


I like it not true. He goes underwater. He goes through an underground Lake it does. There is actually the risk of drowning in that asteroid. 


I did not enjoy that part. But I didn’t hate it because there he wasn’t. 


Yeah, there’s no actual problem. But I felt like the director slash writer was like I want to see these things and it was like walking into a convenience store. And just being like, I’m at 711 or while I’m here I’m going to get pick up my reasons and my cheese. It’s on my Coca Cola, and it was just like it was just like a grab bag of random shit. And I I couldn’t handle it because it just Felt pointless oftentimes? Yeah. So 


we do have a few scientific things that happen around Neptune, which are interesting, including one doesn’t happen very often. That was more scientifically accurate. Then I realized I called it out. And then I realized that I was wrong. Okay. And that is he gets, you know, he, there’s a whole thing with his dad, where’s that basically commit suicide. And then he plans to do and he goes to go back to his ship. And he essentially peels off a piece of the hole to use as a shield. And then he rockets himself up through the rings of Neptune to his ship. Yeah. And I wrote down in my notes, flight through the ring was too smooth and too short. But still cool. That’s actually not true. I ended up I ended up looking it up after the it seemed like you know, this is space, like the rings of Neptune, the rings of Saturn, these are going to be huge. It’s going to take you hours to get through the the space that constitutes those rings. And I actually looked it up. Spaces weird, you guys, those rings of Saturn that you can see from Earth, you know, I think they are 30 feet, or 30 feet thick. That is razor thin, compared to the circumference of them. That is insane. If anything, the depiction of them in this movie, he’s in them for too long. Like it’s actually erring on the side of being too thick in this movie, he should have just kind of shot straight through. But that being said, it was too smooth. He was just yet right. He didn’t course 


I didn’t understand why the rocks hitting him didn’t change the knocking projectory. Yeah, 


or at least spin him like that really more than changing what direction he’s going in. They should have he should have been spinning like a top when he came out. They should have been hitting him at oblique angles. And 


yeah, also, they were very blue from the inside. And I felt like that would be true. From the outside. You’re getting you know, from far away, you’re getting like the reflection and the ice, which is what a lot of what those rings are made up of. You’d be getting reflection from the planet or whatever. So that’s what you know, okay, we see them as blue. Cool, but I think inside of it, you wouldn’t. And it really looked like they had like a blue carpet with rocks on it. 


Yeah, there, it didn’t look good. 


There are so right here at the end, we get several things that are not scientifically accurate, which is unfortunate, because again, like there was a bunch of things that I really enjoyed. One of them was that another was this was one of those. So one of the things that I get so frustrated by in, in these sorts of things is like, why did you even put that line in? Like why do it if you’re not going to do it accurately? You know, and we’ve talked about this in in previous stories, where they’ll throw in some line or some picture that isn’t real. When they didn’t need that line. You know, in interstellar, there are lines about how Oh, it’s such and such it breeds nitrogen. That’s not a thing. And it doesn’t need to be. And I had to laugh. There’s this beautiful moment where Brad Pitt is talking about how you know his father is obsessed with the search for extraterrestrial life. And they’ve come out here beyond the edge of the heliosphere, which by the way is not Neptune. the heliosphere is 123 astronomical units wide Neptune is only 30 astronomical units out it’s way further out the Neptune but whatever. They’ve come out beyond the heliosphere to detect alien life. And he’s been working on detecting alien life. And there’s this beautiful scene where Brad Pitt is sort of looking through his data. And he’s looking through and he says he captured strange new worlds in greater detail than ever before. And there’s this montage of all these alien planets that he’s been photographing, right? Those aren’t alien planets. Those are the moons of Jupiter. They’re literally using photos of like Callisto and stuff. Like there’s a picture of Venus that they use. And it’s not even touched up. I know this because I used the textures of Venus in TerraGenesis. There are portions of Venus that haven’t been fully mapped. So if you look at a map of Venus, it’s sort of stripy, there, there are portions that are at higher resolution than others. And it’s frigging stripy. Like they didn’t even give it to a graphic designer to touch up the picture of Venus, this Callisto and there’s Europa and there’s like, over and over and over. They’re all these pictures of worlds from our solar system. Are you making a speech about strange alien worlds? And then using these like, Oh, my God, you could Get on any sci fi forum and find 20 graphic designers who would love to do pictures of alien worlds for Hollywood blockbuster, or, and here’s a radical notion. Just don’t show them. Just have him talk about it. 


But that Okay, so here’s I didn’t know that you guys I did not know that that’s what I was looking at. And I was like, Whoa, Wow, those are really beautiful. My goodness, like, what a cool universe we live in, that there could ever be planets or whatever out there that look like this. Those images are what got me through that scene. And it takes me back to what I said earlier today about how how we’re so lucky to live in our solar system. It’s just so beautiful. And oh, that’s so sad. That makes me really sad. Like, 


I’m not joking you guys. I have looked up Photoshop tutorials for how to make photorealistic images of alien planets with like procedural landmasses and all that kind of stuff. It takes like 20 minutes. Like, what was the art department thinking? Like, come on, just show us some cool alien planets don’t take the NASA archive of pictures of moons that people have been looking at for 500 years. Like this is literally the Galilean moons. Galileo saw these things. This is not new. If they didn’t even use pictures of Pluto. Come on. It was crazy. And then, so hold on, hold on. 


I’m so sorry. You guys. So flow is you. I’m giving you like hero points today because 


first of all, soflo is winning the chat on this but the movie was orchestra wives and I am so here for knowing that. No. And the next time we do a classic movie night, that’s what we’re watching. 


I see. And I watch old movies on the regular 


and it’s just so much fun. I wasn’t raised on them. So I know. I do not know my classic movies and I was on all of them. 


Yes. And all. And then I just got a quote. What was said Vice soflo in in the chat. Helio pause for a moment you’re telling me they budget to the science on the heliosphere? Okay, I don’t generally enjoy putting that one. I am here for 


guys. She always enjoys ponds. Lacey loves bonds. She doesn’t think she loves bonds, but she loves bonds. She’s mad because I called her out. I telling the truth, just so. So the takeaway here is if you have any really good bonds, be sure to send them to Lacey hunt, 


oh, my God, we’re going to be a dead man. 


That’s just your opinion. So the last little bit of scientific realism that we have to talk about is the very last moment in this movie. And I giving the benefit of the doubt because again, there were a lot of things that I really liked scientifically about this movie. The quote from the director that I gave at the very beginning, he did not actually say that he wanted to do the most realistic depiction of space. He said he wanted to do the most realistic depiction of space travel. So I guess that’s, you know, that could be read as just the getting from A to B, except that theory breaks down at the very end, because he tries to ride a nuclear slash anti matter explosion as what he himself describes as using the explosion as my primary propellant. Which is not a thing. You don’t just get to put a nuke at your back and surf the wave. That’s not how nukes work. But also, I just had to laugh. Because normally in space movies, you don’t know exactly where the spaceships are relative to each other. Like it’s just it’s an empty vacuum, you don’t you know, they might actually be tilted at 90 degrees relative to the sun or whatever. In fact, oftentimes they are in Star Trek if you really think about it, because they’re lit from above, which means that they would have to be like this and the sun is that way. But you know the space is very amorphous, there’s no upper down it’s tricky to know but in an Astra we have a rare moment where we know exactly where we are relative to both ships and to the planet because he went from one ship to another ship and he had to do it by going through the rings. So we know that his ship is on one side of the rings. The other ship is on the other side of the rings. So relative to Neptune they are north south from each other. Right there is a there’s a vertical axis here. Neptune does not have a particularly intense tilt the way for example, Uranus does. If this if this had been set on Uranus, it would have been Right, it actually would have been like, weirdly accurate in kind of a way if you could write a nukes, Shockwave or whatever. But with Neptune, we know that if one ship is here, and one ship is here, and he’s going to ride the explosion, that means that the vector of his travel is going to be the line from the first ship to the second ship, it’s going to send him straight up out of the plane of the ecliptic, and earth is that way. 


And by that way, he’s going in 90 degrees. Like, yeah, that’s not a thing. 


He really and also, I had this moment of, dude, you’re doing it wrong, because he was like, staring at back at the at the his dad ship that was about to explode. And I’m sitting here going, Man, you can’t look at a nuclear explosion. You, you are going you will be blind for the rest of your life. 


And hope you enjoyed those eyes. Yeah, exactly. 


I was I was actually panicked. It was like the only time that I cared about his well being for the irony of the movie. It was this moment of going. Don’t be stupid now. 


Why up here chiming in in the comments, I on sale, not something you can make from trash. Yes, exactly. If you had a ship that was specifically designed to capture the force of an explosion in space, sure, whatever. But oh my god, you can’t just take a rocket and be like, I’m going to set up a nuke behind me. By the way, an anti matter nuke. Remember that this whole movie is powered by the anti matter reactions going on. And anti matter is way more powerful than a nuclear explosion. And then just like write it and be okay. 




Come on. You got Oh, 


I’m just gonna put it out there. For all of those people. Who similar to to Roy McBride. And yours truly, Lacey Hannon. Who have father problems. Let me tell you, it is a it is a lot easier to just go to therapy than to travel billions of miles into space to deal with it, 


especially to travel billions of miles into space to find a man whose opening line is, I never loved you or your mother. As soon as they gave me an opportunity to leave. I took it. 


And Brad Pitt’s character even said something about like how we kind of knew that. Yeah, and I’m sitting here going, dude, then why are you Why are you here? Yeah. You were told multiple times your dad’s bad dude, 


when people tell you who they are. Listen, 


yeah, yeah. So anyway, therapy, I, you know, I’m just gonna harp on it every single episode therapy. It’s so so. 


So you know, there are a lot of things. There’s actually there’s more that we haven’t even talked about. We didn’t even address the fact that he sent a message to his dad from Mars to Neptune. And then they waited for a response. And when they didn’t want to get one in a couple of minutes. You guys, the light delay from Mars to Neptune is over four hours. And that’s when they’re at their closest point. Once it’s an eight hour round trip to hear a message back, you can’t just sit in a room and wait for a response. There’s more. But fundamentally, Ad Astra gets high marks for scientific realism for the art department. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. And it’s well designed. And it’s it’s great world building. And it just everything that you see with your eyes is great. If the problem only comes when that information reaches your brain. 


I will tell you my favorite image before we sign out. Yeah. That moment on the moon when he reaches what is what is it called that that moon sand. Like there’s a word for it. regolith regolith, there’s a moment where they’re driving along. And he sticks his hand up into the regolith as because it’s just kind 


of dust suspended. And yeah, and it’s like, it’s like when you see in a movie, someone puts their hand out the window and they kind of do that wave thing with the air that streaming by right. And it was really, it was beautiful. And there was just like this lovely contented feeling that you get right before they start getting shot at. 


But that was beautiful. Also not scientifically accurate. 


I don’t. Okay, listen, this is the one time that I will give it to them. Because I it because I loved it and I needed the beauty. So anyway, there were some things that were fun and interesting. Brad Pitt. I didn’t love this. I didn’t like this. I hated this character. But Brad Pitt is fantastic. Yep. The roof Ruth negga is always great, always great and somehow always terrifying. I never know what I’m supposed to expect from her and this movie. Didn’t Let me expect anything from anybody at any point, because I didn’t know what was happening. But I still enjoyed her. There were some there were some great actors, given some weird stuff. And it was beautiful. 


Yeah. So I think that’s it for this week. Tune in next week, Thursday 530. Pacific, we are going to be talking about October sky. We’re going to be going back to our roots Episode One was Apollo 13. We’re going to be doing another historical movie. 


Yeah, I’m interested in this because we’ve had a couple of weeks of me not enjoying the things that we’re watching and i don’t like that I love to love things. And I’ve seen this movie once in my in my time, I don’t remember it because because it made me cry and i and i don’t like crying. And so I put it out of my memory. So we’ll see how I feel about it. But it’s there is definitely continuity. Here. We are continuing the theme of oh my god terrible fathers. That is who Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s gonna be fun. But check out October sky. It is based on a true story of the childhood of someone who grew up to be a rocket scientist at NASA. And for my money, it is beautiful. I’m really excited to be doing October sky because when I was a kid, October sky was like, like, if you had asked 14 year old Alexander when what he wanted to do with his life, he would have just handed you a copy of October Sky 


to make the movie or to be a person on the movie on it. 


It was just it was like the summation of everything that I love. It’s it’s film it’s space. It’s passos. It’s just yeah, I so love October Sky, 


essentially what I’m saying is, I hope for all of our sake, that we can go watch this movie, and just love the ever loving shit out of it. Yes. And then we can just celebrate. And yes, and say good, warm, loving things about it. So that’s my hope, because this hasn’t been been. 


Alright, so that is going to be next week on The Synthesis. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe on YouTube or subscribe to the podcast, whichever you prefer. If you’re on YouTube, be sure to hit the bell. So you’re notified about new episodes. And if you’re listening to us on a podcast, we just recently released the synthesis as a podcast and we could really use your ratings and reviews. So be sure to leave us those. 


It is a huge deal. Please, please, please do that for us. Yes, we also have a Patreon page at Edgeworks entertainment. Nope. slash Edgeworks entertainment. You can get a whole bunch of cool bonuses and rewards both from podcast and then also for TerraGenesis. And yeah, I think that’s it. 


We’ll see you guys later. See ya. 

NatGeo: Mars Ep. 4-6 – OK, WE GET IT. DRAMA | The Synthesis

Lacey and Alex discuss the National Geographic series, MARS, episodes 4-6. A dude obsessed with plants, a giant dust storm, someone killing themselves by opening an airlock, someone being electrocuted, and discovering microbes on Mars. You get the jist, let’s have Lace and Alex break. it. DOWN.

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken. Join us!


Hey, folks, this is Alexander Winn and I am Lacey Hannan, And you are watching The Synthesis, podcast or show where we talk about using real science in entertainment. This episode, we are talking about episodes four through six of National Geographic’s Mars. 


why don’t you sound a little bit more excited about it? Cuz it’s 


National Geographics. Mars, you know, as we went into last week, this is a show that I desperately wanted to like. And I will say this, I don’t know if I actually know if you’re going to agree with me on this. But I will say that I think that these three episodes are stronger than the first three episodes. Partially, I think that that’s because we just have more characters. And you just spread it out a little bit. You know, when you’re restricted to just 

those crew members, you’re sort of stuck with like, oh, the captain is injured. And that’s kind of all that’s going on. Whereas now you’ve got more people. And it’s a sort of a broader story. But the other thing that I enjoy a little bit more about the second half of the season is, in a weird way, for all the sort of conversation that goes on in popular culture, about building cities on Mars, building outposts on Mars, building scientific stations on Mars, and all that kind of stuff. You don’t really see it. Like you, we have some movies like The Martian, and then, you know, sort of lesser versions of that like mission to Mars, or red planet, or, you know, movies about the first landing on Mars, the first people when they’re only like two or three people on the planet. And then we’ve got movies, like, you know, Ad Astra or the expanse where there are cities on Mars, and there are 1000s, or millions of people on Mars. But I can’t actually think of pretty much any other story. Live Action. That is, like 50 people on Mars? 


Well, but I don’t think they get credit just for being the first No, 


but what I’m saying is that I enjoy it a little bit more, because it’s unique, because this is a thing that I have yet to see. Yeah, 


my my thing is, is that I wanted to see that, yeah, but they skipped over so much of the engineering and the like, how it would work. And they jumped straight from this crew of, you know, five people to a larger group. And we didn’t actually see, you know, at one point, they talk about the stages, and the documentary aspect of what we might do on Mars, and they say, we’ll do exploration, and then some sort of research station, and then we’ll do resupply from Earth and rope, rotate people in and out like Antarctica. And they use McMurdo as an analogue, which is the the place down on Antarctica. But then they don’t take the stages any further than that. Yeah. Which I thought was a little bit weird. But there’s a reason for that. Yeah. Keep going. We’ll get to McMurdo I’ve got a bone to pick with McMurdo. 


Oh, okay. Well, so, you know, they, they don’t take the stages of what they’re going to do on Mars, they don’t go beyond those three, the exploration Research Station, and then the resupply from earthen, and switching people in and out. And I was just like, Wait, how are we going? Like, are we going to get to see any of the engineering or the policy? Or the politics come together? Or even just the people? Yeah. Because, you know, one of the quotes is, how does policy, engineering and politics come together to produce great science? Well, we don’t see any of that happen. And science has done so yeah, I’ve just like I was really frustrated, because I wanted to see what you’re talking about. And we don’t really get to see it, 


we get it in a montage, which I think is probably my favorite moment in the entire show. It’s at the beginning of Episode Four. Because remember, Episode Three ended with like, hey, we’ve made a base, we have a place now to stay. We’re here we have a home, we can start really getting to work. And then Episode Four starts. And there’s this really cool montage where you can see them like building new things, and more people are arriving and rockets are coming and going and they’re building up the infrastructure. And literally, the first note that I have here written down is Episode Four, Time Lapse, finally some momentum because you do start to get that energy of you know, the the frontier town, and it was so cool. And they’re introducing new characters and now we’ve got you know, these people coming in, and then just before too long, we’re just back to back to those low gazes and mournful looks. And it’s just like, Guys, you had it like you did it. We know you can do it. Come on. 


Well, I felt like part of part of the problem that we had is, you know, we see that the hab is being turned over. To expert scientists. Well, what were the people that were already there? Yeah. Because Marta, is the only scientists doing what she’s doing is seemingly, yeah, of looking for life on Mars, which seems like she would not be the only one doing that. 


Right. When we met, it made sense with the crew of six, that shouldn’t be the only one. But you think that you’d have like an assistant or something now?  


Yeah, exactly. So I don’t know. So I think it’s kind of weird that they turned, what they what they talk about is by handing over the hab to these expert scientists, it means that the crew that we’re following are the administrators. That doesn’t feel right, either. They are also expert scientists. So I don’t really know what distinction they’re trying to make, other than trying to set up this like, conflict and conflict of wills, a battle of wills, you know, and I just, and it just felt forced. 


Well, and they didn’t, for me, at least, they weren’t ever even really clear about what the chain of command is. Because when Dr. Richardson arrives, she definitely starts throwing your weight around like she’s in charge. You know, like, there’s even a moment where somebody asks, did Hannah approve that? And she says, I told her Yes. Which means I don’t answer to her. But then, as soon as things start going wrong, she has to answer to Hannah like that’s, that’s what happens is, she’s chagrined. And Hannah is putting her foot down. So who is in charge here? Is this is, is one of them in charge of construction, and the other is in charge of emergency response? Or like, it was never clear to me what exactly was the handoff of power? 


Well, and I think that part of the problem is they don’t explain a lot of things. You know, they kind of touch on what Dr. Richardson does. And they touch on what Paul does. Before you see him being obsessive, the plant guy. 


Yeah. But they talk about his work and phosphorus something and, you know, they and then they talk about this conflict between Hannah and the scientists, but we don’t really know what the conflict is about. And I and he was excited to meet this Doc, like this scientist. Yeah, everybody there has read her work and all of these things. So 


it doesn’t seem like they have a pre existing beef, which seems like it probably would have made more sense if these two kind of hated each other from back on Earth, and like they’re putting put together because they are the two biggest experts. But being the two biggest experts, they kind of butt heads a lot. Yeah, 


I don’t know, I just felt like the the explanation for the science. And even the story is just lacking. And I’m like, Well, okay, first of all, we want to see, we want to see this story being told, and the science being shown in a way that we’re going to follow and we’re going to enjoy and, and get to kind of get into, you know, make it a little crunchy for us. I think the only people who are watching the show, want it to get a little crunchy. Talk about the science, but they don’t do any of it. Well, the science but also, you know, I 


I’ve been thinking a lot about sort of where exactly did this show lose me. And there are a few points you know, like it definitely leans too heavily into the dramatic looks and the the long pauses like it’s it’s very slow and that sort of thing. But honestly, I feel like they missed. You know, every show, whether it’s educational or scientific or not, always needs to know its audience. And I feel like they missed an important part of their audience with this show. And interestingly, it’s something that I also feel like the Star Trek franchise has lost recently, which, if you’re a Star Trek fan, you may or may not be watching Star Trek discovery, which is current, the current show that is running in the Star Trek franchise, and it’s, I am not really into Star Trek discovery. And I’ve been wrestling with why and ultimately, what I decided was, it’s because Star Trek discovery is an adventure Star Trek discovery is fundamentally about going out and kind of kicking ass like saving the day. And that was kind of true of the 60s show, to whatever extent a TV show in the 1960s could kick ass but it was it was an adventure. But the Star Trek that I fell in love with was Star Trek The Next Generation and the 90 shows, which seem like an adventure. But if you really think about it, if you really go back and watch those shows now, what they are workplace shows, they belong alongside the West Wing, those are shows about people just doing their jobs. And as much as there is like saving the galaxy stuff. There’s also a lot of just like, yeah, I’m working the night shift this week. It’s been pretty rough. Like they just kind of talk about what it’s like to live on a spaceship. And they have whole episodes that are just about like, sort of keeping up morale and entire episodes that are about like, hey, the lights are going out and jordiz got to go fix the lights. 

What’s wrong with the lights, man? Like why can’t you figure out the power grid that kind of stuff is what brings that Star Trek world to life. And I feel like that’s what was missing from this show. Anybody who’s going to watch a National Geographic show about an outpost on Mars doesn’t just want action and drama. What they want is, what would it be like to live on Mars? And they skipped that part. they skipped the mundane day to day just kind of like sitting around eating your breakfast talking about Mars. And that should have been there. That’s what I wanted. 


Can I Can we just talk about Paul for a second? Because we must. So I had on here that, that the AI is the new Ben because I hate the AI. And then I realized the AI is not the new Captain Ben. There, there are people on the show that I hate far more than Captain Ben, which, according to Alex, I got very red face last week in talking about this, and I should you know, No, he didn’t tell me to tone it. I did. But he No, he would not do that. But also he was like, yeah, you were a little intense about it. There are people I hate more than that. But um, and I will say that Paul is one of them. I don’t know why his wife gets called doctor and their last name and he gets called Paul. My guess is that he he has a doctor is gonna break like, whatever. I just think it’s a weird choice. 


Just maybe she comes across as more professional than he does. And so he’s just naturally Yeah, so listen, you guys, I, I just like, he comes off as inept, like not not inept, intellectually, but physically, and mentally incapable of being here. from the get go. And I’m sitting here going, this guy is so intense, and they do call him intense. At one point, they call that out, they lampshade it or whatever. But he seems like the kind of intense that is not healthy. From the moment we meet him. And I’m sitting here going, why? Why is he allowed to be here? 


Yeah, this is this is not somebody who cracked under the pressure. This is somebody who was clearly unhappy to be here at all. Literally, the first shot that we ever get of him, is him kind of freaking out in the rocket landing. He’s He’s like, kind of hyperventilating and she reaches over and grabs his hand. He’s like, I’m okay. I’m okay. It’s like, if you’re stressed out about a rocket landing. What are you doing going to Mars? Yeah. Like, you shouldn’t be working back from Earth and just telling them what to do. Yeah, 


the whole, like, if we’re at the point where we’re going to start, you know, doing the rotating people in and out. Your wife did not need you here. And you could have done this work from from Earth. 


And it seems like you would have preferred it. 


And he’s like, loudly, creepy. Yeah. Because the way that he talks about things, like talks about his plants is obsessive. And I find it disturbing. Like it’s disturbed from the get go. And I thought it was very weird that Javier was like, finally I don’t have to do everything on my own. And I’m sitting here going, dude, watch out. This guy might murder you in your sleep. 


Yeah, you snip the wrong leaf. And he’s gonna freak out in a jealous rage. Yeah, 


so I don’t know, I just, I mean, there’s a lot more about him as we move through these episodes. But I just need to put it out there now that he freaks me out from the very beginning. And I don’t know why he’s allowed to be here, where the psychologists,  


I did think there was an interesting thing in the writing. Which is, and I may be bringing something to this because this definitely has echoes of the expanse in my mind. But you know, a lot of hard sci fi, that features a Mars with its own population, there quickly becomes this sense that they are no longer beings of Earth, they are Martians, they have their own identity and that sort of stuff. And so there’s language that develops around, you know, calling, calling people from Earth earthers. And there’s kind of an us versus them thing that happens. And I wonder if this was conscious in the writers mind, but Dr. Richardson keeps referring to the Mars base as up here. She keeps talking about, you know, how things are done up here. And what you guys have done up here, and it establishes her as not being of here. It’s it establishes her as having an earth based perspective on what’s going on here. Right and everybody else is just talking about here. It’s just the place that we live. It’s what we need to do. It’s how we’re going to survive and she keeps Talking about what we’re going to do up here. Like it’s not? 


Well, and I think that that, yeah, I think that there’s something really insightful about that. Because what I think one of the ways that I know we are good travelers too, especially together is because every time we go somewhere, it could be for a weekend, it happened this weekend, we celebrated our anniversary. So we took a little road trip. And the first night we’re out to dinner, and at the end, he said, was it time to go home? Everything becomes home, wherever we are together is home, it’s fine. It doesn’t need to be our place. Yeah, in LA. And I think that there’s something important about being able to feel comfortable wherever. And she obviously doesn’t. 


Yeah, I will say this in in, not in defense of the show, but you know, sort of advocating for the show. I do appreciate that. While there’s too much drama in this show. I do recognize that. Like, I wish that this kind of clash of egos, you know, pulling rank kind of stuff wasn’t realistic, but it is realistic. And I will say, I don’t think that in a realistic scenario that Paul would be sent because I don’t think he would have passed the psychological screening. But I do think that Dr. Richardson is exactly the kind of person who’s going to make her way into a Martian outpost before too long, and she’s going to start pissing people off. And that is very realistic. And similarly, later in the episode, we realize that two of the original crew members have started a romantic relationship. And again, it’s kind of soapy. But at the same time, that’s very realistic, you can’t send three, three men and three women who are presumably mostly heterosexual, and not expect some of them to hook up at some point over the years and years and years that they’re going to be there. And so I did appreciate that from a realism standpoint. So 


I want to jump back to something you’ve said, because we’ve hit the the narrative portion of Episode Four. A lot. Yeah. So tell me what your beef is with the Antarctic stuff. Antarctica stuff. 


Alright. So for those of you who follow our YouTube channel, you may have seen I have a video on that channel called Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are wrong. And it’s basically a half hour rant that I will summarize now, because it’s about McMurdo Station, and you can 100% tell that they talked to Neil deGrasse Tyson, and probably Bill Nye as they were making this show. And they told them something that informed this episode of the show, and it drives me nuts. Andy, Andy Weir actually says the same thing. A lot of these people wait, he 


says the same thing as those two 


as those two? Yeah. Okay. A lot of these people who hold themselves up as sort of the the arbiters of how it would really work, argue that any city on Mars is going to be fundamentally similar to McMurdo Station. That’s like their talking point. If you ask, you know, it’s it’s kind of weird, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye two of the biggest futurists around, neither of them believe that there are going to be cities on Mars. They just don’t think that humans will ever live on Mars, the way we live on Earth. They think that all humans on Mars forever, will be like McMurdo Station. It’ll just be a scientific outpost that a few weeks ago. So. So here’s why that’s ridiculous. Because McMurdo Station is like an hour’s flight from South America. And if you get appendicitis, they don’t treat you there. They met a vacu. And if you run out of food, or if a building burns down, they bring you supplies. And whatever goes wrong, you don’t address it there. You get flown somewhere true, because you can’t get in and out of there all year round. 


But for most of the year, it is depopulated. There are a couple of people who live there year round, but for most for a significant portion of the year, all the scientists go home, because it’s not safe. And they don’t have a big permanent presence there. Whereas on Mars, you are at least nine months away from Earth. Like if the crisis happens right at exactly the right time, you are nine months away from Earth, if it happens at exactly the wrong time. You’re like three years away from Earth. So whatever happens, you have to fix it there. If you have a medical emergency, it needs to be addressed. On Mars. If a woman gets pregnant, she’s too far away from Earth to come home. She’s having that baby on Mars. If something breaks, you have to be able to fix it on Mars. Whatever happens, it happens on Mars. What that means is and I actually talked about this in the episode, you have to aim for self sufficiency. You cannot rely on Earth, because if something goes wrong, you have to be able to to address it. There. But here’s the key. As soon as you have a situation where people don’t have to come back to Earth, people won’t, there will be people who will want to come back to earth and they won’t have to come back to Earth. So they will stay on Mars. And as soon as you have people who stay on Mars forever, as soon as you have medical facilities, and entertainment and food and every, you know, industrial production and everything that you need for a community on Mars, that’s a city. That is a population that is going to grow, the people who don’t leave Mars are going to have kids and those kids are going to grow up on Mars. And then it just keeps growing. You have the industrial capacity to repair a hab, which means you by definition, had the industrial capacity to build a hab. So why wouldn’t you build a new hab for your new family? It will automatically grow? 


I think I think that having kids there is like pretty far off. I think that the likelihood is a woman gets pregnant, and however you feel about it doesn’t really matter. There would be an abortion, because like you just could be Yeah, I mean, because they are not ready to deal with that medically. 


Yeah, so but it’s also one of those things where, you know, unless she’s Catholic, like, you’re certainly not going to force it on her. Now, to be fair, a lot of proposals of Martian outposts have required, sort of you don’t have the option. But to be on the pill, like men and women, you get a vasectomy, before you go to Mars kind of thing. So that might be a factor. But even aside from the childbirth thing, as soon as you have a situation where medical where you know, medical emergencies, industrial emergencies, agricultural emergencies can all be handled locally, which they would have to be, some people won’t want to leave, and then more people will come and they might not want to leave. And that’s not McMurdo, that’s not the reality of McMurdo, you won’t have a McMurdo Station, if it is self sufficient. And it has to be self sufficient. So that’s why I always kind of chafe at the idea of these people talking about how McMurdo Station is how it’s going to be, because it can’t be. It’s either going to be a city on Mars before too long, obviously, they’re not going to be self sufficient immediately. It’s going to be McMurdo Station for a little bit. But as soon as they reach self sufficiency, it’s either going to be a city on Mars that is effectively permanent. Or it’s going to be like the Martian, where they just land and then they’re there. And then they leave, and there is no permanent, like installation. 


I really like him. I really, really like my husband. 


I appreciate that. 


So my thoughts on the Antarctic stuff. Yeah, I whatever. I like the landscapes. I mean, I know it’s just it’s such a basic thing. But I’ve never really seen the landscapes of Antarctica and the rock, you see the ice all the time, just flat plains of ice, but they went to really cool places, 


I was really surprised by all of it. I loved seeing them do the work. And I, you know, was wishing that we got to see that a little bit more and the story. The seeing lacrosse, really put me off, there’s a moment where you get this shot of like, you know how, in the US, at least, you’ll just see like, in someone in some ones, farmland. They’re just like, there’s a cross or three crosses, and you’re just driving down the highway and you’re like over there. Right? Okay, there it is. And that happens in a shot and Antarctica. And it it just kind of took me out of the show. Interesting. And I surprising considering you’re a Christian. 


Right. But that doesn’t mean I think it needs to be everywhere, right? I feel like Antarctica is such a global community that I don’t want to if if I’m going to see something that’s faith based I want to see more than just one faith rather represented. However, it took me a minute because I guess it’s you know, they they kind of talked about how the hunt for life is like, believing in God. It’s a type of faith. And I was like yeah, okay, so I guess I understand why you put it the shot in there. It just I harbored a little bit of I don’t know this taste for seeing it there because I just kind of bumped on it well, because I think it’s because it’s such a hard difference between what everything else we’ve seen there which is so this is the science and then just seeing that pop of faith next to it that is that is specifically not based on science. 

Um Well, speaking of faith and sort of pilgrims, I did have to chuckle because we get some shots of isn’t Marta, is the scientist searching for life, I am terrible at picking up character names. That is the there’s a shot of her in Episode Four. That is cool. And it’s sort of carried through five and six of her searching for life. And she’s out on the surface in these very desert scenarios, and I was getting strong echoes of Anne Claiborne from the Mars trilogy. 

This is the the character who represents the Reds in the Mars trilogy, who don’t believe in terraforming because she has fallen in love with Mars itself as it exists right now. And she’s often out on the surface going on these long hikes. And it was just funny because it’s this very and Claiborne image, but it’s the exact opposite of an Claiborne’s. She’s looking for life, instead of enjoying the barren sort of environment. So we get to episode five, and they’re having a power crisis because Richardson is a dumb ass. Well, and 


because we have the fakest storm I’ve ever seen. 


Yeah. Very happy. Oh, my goodness, the art. 


Yeah, I 


didn’t like it. It looked like something out of like a Percy Jackson film or something, you know, just like, 


more mythological than scientific. Yeah. 


It was like, yeah, this is the storm that happened before Noah’s Ark. Like, 


I don’t know. It’s just it’s not a dust storm on Mars. This is you have angered Zeus. 


I mean, it was it was beautiful. It was just so ridiculous. Yeah, 


that’s not what dust storms look. Yeah. I mean, of course, both the Martian and this, you got to play up the drama of a dust storm because dust storms are fundamentally super boring, especially on Mars, because the The atmosphere is so thin that it can’t actually hold a ton of dust. So if you were on a, if you were in a Martian dust storm in real life, it would not be like, you know, sort of pushing your way through the fog. And you can’t see the rover that you just left a couple of minutes ago that it would be like a slightly foggy day, like you would be able to see the thing clearly it would not be pushing you around. I mean, it would just be the horizon that fuzzes 


right. And now, you said that dust storms are boring, and I will tell you that they are not. And so well one of them. I mean, on Mars, yes. 


But well, that’s what I mean on Mars. They’re there. 


I don’t know if any of you guys have ever been in like a true dust storm. When I was in Malta, studying abroad. There you guys this? One of the coolest things and most terrifying was a dust storm came up from Northern Africa and came across the Mediterranean. And it rained through the dust storm. It was raining mud. It felt like revelations, it was biblical weather. 


Oh my god, I was standing at a bus stop going, oh my god. Like, is this Are these the end times like what is happening? I had a mean it. But it was it was a phenomenal experience. And one of the you know, one of the scientists talks about it, how I don’t remember where he’s from in Africa. But he talks about the dust storms and how people would get very lost. Yeah. And they bring that to this show. And I don’t think that they needed to. I think that it could have to me it would be really cool to see it played out the way that it would actually look. Because it gives us a sense of the real danger rather than this. heightened. 


Yeah, in a way it would almost feel more hopeless. Because it would instead of like huddling in the dark against the storm raging outside, which we’ve seen plenty of times in stories set on Earth. It would be like you walk outside and everything kind of looks okay. Except you look up and it’s just dark. It’s just like the night that wouldn’t end. 


And that would be more depressing. Yeah. Really hard on people mentally. 


Yeah. Because it’s like there’s nothing to fight against. It’s just dark. And it’s so simple. And yet so unsolvable. Yeah, I feel like that would be better drama. 


And what it does is they talk about how they are one complication away from total power, like, failure and stuff. Yeah. And I’m sitting here going, Oh, my God. You let a woman come in here and make some decisions that put you in this position to have zero redundancies. This is insane, terrible plan then, immediately after we hear that because we know that the full storm protocol like the it takes five to nine weeks for the storm to pass. And so we learn all of this stuff, and then we get Paul being like, about his plants. They were only babies. Yeah, and I’m sitting here going. He’s such a creep. The way that he has anthropomorphized his lab is just 


Yeah, he’s, I mean, clearly this is this guy is not neurotypical like he’s clearly, you know, they don’t go into exactly what he’s got, but he’s got a and that’s and that’s fine. 


That doesn’t mean you can’t be mentally resilient but exact guy isn’t that 


that’s the problem to me is that they equate he’s weird with He’s scary. And those two things should not be equated like. Like, for example, if they had just swapped his storyline with his wife storyline, and you had somebody who like, came in all full of piss and vinegar, and she’s gonna throw her weight around. And then when everything started going wrong, she just started started kind of gripping harder and harder, and she wasn’t handling it that well. And eventually, she snapped. That would make sense. And then Meanwhile, her husband, who is, you know, a little weird, and a little too attached to his plants just gets depressed the way she does, that would have made way more sense. But instead, we have frickin Dolores Umbridge coming into this to this out. And just making everybody mad do making every wrong decision. She’s never shown to do the right thing. Never in the show, is she shown doing something that is just unequivocally clearly right. And then going on these bitter rants about how nobody could have expected this even though she was warned by everybody to expect this. And like I did everything right? No, you clearly did not like it’s just a weirdly sort of polarized character. Yeah. And then we cut to her husband, the plant guy ranting Shakespeare quotes at his plants, 


that the writers really like to use the biblical and the Shakespearean, and the philosophical, like they go overboard and a way that I just, you know, Alex and I bonded over Shakespeare, 


yeah, we love what we love, good Shakespeare quote. 


And we do not just toss them around, toss those quotes around all the time, 


especially not in dramatic moments. Like, we’ll toss those quotes around when it’s funny, but when, when the shit is hitting the fan, when lives are in danger, you get to work, you don’t quote Shakespeare, 


and I, you know, I went to theater school, and the theater nerds didn’t do this. And listen, I went to school with a gal who had a tattoo that said, untimely ripped, from what from his mother’s family ripped. 


Thank you. And I mean, it was a huge tattoo, and she’s not quoting this stuff. And yet here is a whole group of people that all they do is like, quote, philosophy, and will heiresses and Shakespeare in each other. And it just like, it kind of drove me crazy. Because it took me out. I was like, No, this is not how normal people talk. 


Yeah, let’s bring some scientific realism into the human interactions here, something bring it in somewhere. 


But of course, the way this world is written, this is how people talk. Because even when they’re not quoting things, they use phrases like, finally, when we thought it could only get darker, there was light. That’s not a quote, that’s just Hannah talking. Like, that’s not how people talk. That’s not these kind of things. You know, one of the things that jumped out at me in the first few episodes, and I, if I talked about this in the last episode, forgive me, I don’t think I did. But there are these sort of categories of stories, right? They’re often represented as man versus something or humanity versus something. So it’ll be like, you know, man versus man is a story where two people are fighting. You know, man versus man versus God is somebody struggling against fate? You know, they’re all these things. One of the oldest and most core narratives is man versus nature. And that’s what a lot of the things we’ve talked about the synthesis are that’s what I think, actually, probably everything we’ve talked about the synthesis is, is it fighting against your environment, Apollo 13, gravity, the Martian Mars, like all of these things are fighting against the environment. But here’s what a lot of these writers didn’t get the memo on, is that man versus nature stories don’t need deeply flawed characters. Man versus nature stories are best paired with not like perfect Paragons, but people who are fundamentally capable and optimistic things like Apollo 13 things like the Martian. These stories work best when the hero is doing everything that the audience wishes they would try. You know, it’s it’s like in horror movies where everybody’s sitting there going don’t go beyond the closet like you know, don’t die. Tom Hanks is so good in those movies. Exactly. Because he seems like somebody who is trying everything that you would want him to try and isn’t making stupid, he’s capable 


and he’s cheerful and he’s optimistic. I mean, 


Exactly the one with Wilson. Castaway, 


Castaway. Like. He’s He’s perfect for those kinds of roles because he has that. That buoyant personality 


the way it is, it’s not all of these depressing characters. And here’s the thing, when you 

don’t have leads like that, it actually works against you, when you try to do the stereotypical screenwriter thing of having deeply flawed characters who had to grow over a journey. The audience ends up feeling cheated. Because why would I care about this person, they’re an idiot, you know, like, you watch gravity, you watch these shows where the person is freaking out. And whether or not that’s realistic. Spoiler alert, we would all be freaking out if we were in gravity. But even though it’s realistic, we, as an audience are looking at these characters going, why are you doing that? And it pulls us out of the story, it makes the story less impactful than it would have been if they were sort of unrealistically perfect. And that is something that Mars keeps getting hit with over and over and over, because like, I don’t care about Richardson, cuz she’s doing everything wrong. She’s a very realistic person. I’ve known many Dr. Richardson’s in my life. But she’s doing everything wrong. And so I don’t care. You know, 


I’m with you. Yeah, one of the things that I do like about this episode are they talk, they do a couple of things that it’s not many. Okay. But you know, they talk about how dust storms can go global. And they’re not just regional, which I had never really considered that that could happen, and then they can get charged, and then there can be lightning on top of it. And all of that was just kind of fascinating to hear for, you know, my perspective is the regional that’s what it is here. Right. So like, why would it be any different elsewhere, the fact that it can cover an entire planet, it’s why it’s why you don’t have to make these dust storms, more like crazier than then they actually already are, if they can go global and 


be 30 kilometers high. And, and and have 


lightning, you’re, it’s you don’t have to work any harder for it. 


It’s been handed to you just do that. 


Exactly. And then the fact that it’s like talcum powder, it’s so fine. It’s not even like sand. That means that it can get in anywhere. And that’s terrifying. And they tell us, you know, you can’t get this stuff in your lungs. Of course, then they turn around and they show it as being in the cafeteria, like on the tables. And 


I was like gentle dusting over a pile of books. And it’s like, everybody’s dead. Right? Yeah. That’s how that works. We just we were just told that if you get this stuff in your lungs, you die. Yeah, yeah. So at the end of Episode Five, we do get the very dramatic moment of Paul having his hallucination, which plays out over the course of about half an hour, 


we have completely skipped so much of this episode, go for it. We’ve got the high seas is, and I want to talk about it. Because they talk they talk about this, like, okay, so NASA has its outpost where they send people to, you know, essentially pretend like it’s Mars. 


Yeah. And they in Hawaii, 


then they turn around, and they talk about how Russia did this. And they put people in his space craft. And they, they simulated all of this. And they had to shut it down because people went crazy. And like only two of the people like, you know, after all of the psychological review, two of the nine, or was it seven, whatever? Well, I don’t know total number Oh, nine or seven. But what I’m is that only two of them managed to not mentally break. And then they do this awful thing where they show all of the men coming out of the simulation, and everyone’s smiling and waving and it feels like super awkward because you just heard what went down in there, like someone’s wandering around in a spacesuit acting like a dog or a cow. And then if you look into it more, someone tried stabbing somebody else in their fistfights all the time. Like, this is insane. Yeah. And so that’s why that’s why it’s so bizarre to me that Paul is on this show, this character is written this way, because that person would have been not allowed from the get go because they can’t actually tell who’s going to be resilient enough to handle this. Yeah. And there are markers for it. You know, Emotional markers and all of that stuff. But they can’t promise anything. 

And I, I loved seeing the bits and pieces of that when we get to the documentary side, and we talk about high seas, 


yeah. And just not representing it in the narrative. This, it’s kind of a repeated theme in the show is talking about a really cool thing, and then not integrating it into the narrative. 


And they talk about how if you talk to people about the stress of prison, it’s a pretty good analogy, because they don’t get to make any of their own choices about what they do, when they do it. They don’t get to have their own schedule, like, 


cannot leave 


cannot leave that the stress of present. I mean, I have always thought that sounds like the loss of freedom, I think it would totally, completely mentally change you and rewire you. And a way that, you know, there are people that go back on purpose, because they can’t make it in the real world anymore, because they don’t have the support to do it. Because their brains have changed. 


They know how to live in this world. 


Yeah. And so I thought it was really cool that they talk about how mental resiliency is the biggest risk to the mission is that human aspect, and that you’d have to talk to people about the stress of prison. And as I thought, I thought that the documentary aspects of these episodes were the most fun, like, and I like I actively enjoyed them. 


Yeah, it’s you know, it’s funny that we’re coming right off of the Martian because they talk in the Martian about how Mark Watney was a catalyst for this in his crew that he, the role he filled in the Aries three team was that he sort of kept everyone’s spirits up, even in stressful times. And obviously, he was very capable. But they they sort of hint a little bit in the book that like, this is why he got the job, you know, that like we had other botanists, but he’s such a good effect on morale, that that was the deciding factor. And one of the things that was, again, just another sort of symbol of how the narrative side of this show kind of doesn’t match up to what the documentary side is talking about. In Episode Five, when they’re trying to conserve power, there are so many things that they don’t do, like it’ll cut to an exterior shot of the of the outpost, and there are all these lights on, on the exterior of the building. Why do those lights even exist? But especially if they exist? Why are they on right now, when you’re trying to conserve power? You know, they show everybody kind of huddled up and freezing and very clearly, like the heater isn’t working, but they’re all alone in separate rooms. They’re not like huddling up. And most importantly, nobody is trying to keep anybody’s spirits up. And that, to me is sort of the most damning thing in this episode is it’s a whole episode about your mental state, and what you have to do to get along in this environment, and nobody is saying, Hey, guys, let’s break out the vodka like, this sucks. Let’s tell stories. Let’s get a fire going or whatever, you know, like, just Hey, I brought a guitar, let’s sing some songs. Just all that kind of campfire stuff that people do to get along. nobody’s doing. And 


Hannah’s not doing quite specifically, which is weird. I yeah, we see in this episode, specifically, the number of ways she fails. But 


I you think it would be a mandate like you think that the Elan musk guy back on Earth would be like getting on the radio being like, I don’t care if you don’t want to sing, you’re gonna sing. Yeah, that’s what we’re doing today. It’s on the schedule, 


right. Um, one of the things that I noticed about this, so you know, the two guys go out in the rover, they’re going to try and fix the reactor. And this is one of my favorite moments. And they have this, this moment where they say, one of them says we’re gonna be okay. 

And the other one says, Well, you know, I hope so. And then they laugh, and it’s a little bit hysterical, they’re starting to crack just a little bit together. And I feel like that’s what really close friends are going to do. And it when they’re going through trauma together, and it felt very real. It felt I was like, Oh, this is like, I want to live in this moment. But um, 


I will say all of the original crew did a good job of feeling like they’ve known each other for years now. And there was this subtle sense of we’re the sort of the originals and then there are these new people. 


So one of the things that I really like is you know, the guy goes out he tethers himself to the rover, he untethered himself, which I don’t enjoy, but and then doesn’t communicate like doesn’t even attempt to communicate with Javier, which just drives me crazy. It’s like the lack of communication as well. But what I want to know is what’s, what is the difference between the risks that Watney takes, and the risks that these people take? Because when Watney took risks, I enjoyed it. And when these people take risks, I get really mad. 


Oh, I think it’s I think it’s a very simple and straightforward thing, which is our trust in His capability. That when Mark Watney takes risks, we have already established at this point that whatever happens, he’ll deal with it. And he has probably already tried every other option other than this, and done the math on why it’s not going to work. But if he does this, if it goes wrong, here’s what I’ll do. We know like the story of Mark Watney is handling problems, whereas this gang, it’s just not like this. The story of these astronauts is stuff going wrong and then being bummed puzzled. Yeah, like it’s just any any crisis is met with long worried looks, which is exactly what happens in the next scene. They get the reactor up. And then you have Paul, clearly clearly out going crazy. 


And he full on hallucination, like yeah, just stressed. He’s actually having a psychotic break. 


And Hannah does nothing. She watches it from a screen they call Dr. Richardson down. But yeah, nobody goes in there to check on him to restrain him. There’s no announcement over the PA of Hey, everybody get out of that wing. And apparently that 


they do try to evacuate the wing. But it’s after this has already happened. That’s what I’m saying 


is it takes a long time for them to do that. Yeah, she doesn’t make any choices to start with 


the hurt Richards and literally stands in the doorway with the evidence of what is about to happen and a grief stricken look on her face, and then turns and runs away without conveying the critical information of what is about to happen. Well, and but the thing is, is even without her knowledge, Hannah should have done something. Yeah. And she does nothing. And that’s absolutely bizarre to me. And what’s even more bizarre is that this entire portion of the hab is itself an air lock, there’s a wide open, there’s a door straight to the outside. 


If I can’t open a door on a passenger airline, that door should not be able to open like First off, it should be like welded, shut. Second, it should be locked. And third, it should be remotely controlled from the room that Hannah is in. Even if somebody wanted to open it and could open it, she ought to be able to hit one button that just locks it down. Yeah. And it’s bizarre that they that that isn’t a thing. Like that’s probably the single least realistic thing. And his entire show is the idea that the guy who is who is exhibiting mental stress, like clear signs of mental distress is in the room with an exterior door that he can just open. 


Yeah, why? 


And there are no other you know, like you were saying it’s that whole like wing of the outpost that gets depressurized, it’s not just his room. That’s 


totally bizarre. And I and I can’t stand it and it makes me very angry. And so when I talk about hating someone more than commander Ben, I’m talking about Dr. Richardson. And so anyway, 


I will say this before we move on to episode six because it’s, you know, we’re time is moving on, but I will say this about the end of Episode Five. One thing I really liked about the depressurization sequence is it’s finally what depressurization would look like. I’ve talked before on this show about the problem that I have with depressurization in science fiction is often depicted as a hurricane. And like you open a thing and all of a sudden this air is whooshing out over the course of minutes. And people are like holding on to a steel beam as they get blown like a flag in the wind and the air just keeps flying out. You’re like where’s all this air coming from? And I think the analogy that I used in an earlier episode is if you had a if you had a depressurization like that, it wouldn’t feel like a hurricane, it would feel like you were inside a balloon that popped. And all of a sudden, everything would just go boom, straight toward the exit. And then it would be over all the air would be gone. There would just be a blast that direction and everything would get sucked out. 


Exactly. And so that is what we see in this moment. He opens the door and the instant that it is even like a crack open, it flies open his body is sucked out all the furniture in the room moves toward the door, and then it settles. And we’re done. 


Yeah, yeah. 


I really appreciate it. 


I so there’s something in here that I mean, we’ve completely skipped over the CEO and how just terrible He is weirdly reckless he is. Yeah, 


again, sort of upsettingly realistic, but still dumb. 


So but I’m going to continue skipping over him because I could I could probably speak to most of an episode on all of the things he does wrong. 


Yeah, as as business owners, we have a unique take on him. And everything else. 


Yeah. Yes, in addition to everything else, but um, I, I have. This is like more of a philosophical thing rather than to the episode specifically. So we see that, uh, you know, I’m going to kind of jump to the end. Is that okay? Yeah. Okay. So like, Brandon commented, you know, the convenient plot devices, they’re going to be, they’re going to be brought back home. And because people have died, there, there is loss of, of political will to continue being on Mars. Again, this 


is one of those upsettingly realistic things. Yes. I 100% believe that if somebody killed themselves on Mars, that people would want to shut down the whole program. It’s stupid as hell but yes, 


it is. It’s very, it’s very dumb, because like the Hannah character, she has, she has made her peace with dying on Mars, but her sister can’t handle it. And I just like, and so she’s like, bring them home. So anyway, I feel like there’s another convenient plot device is Oh, Marta finds life, 


just in the neck just in the nick of time. And we keep seeing this just in the nick of time stuff. Except for when people die. But I hate this. I hate that she finds life on Mars. And I think to me, and I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about it. But to me, finding life is not the point of going into space. There are so many good reasons to go into space. And this is not high on my priority list. 


Yeah, it would be an incredible discovery but reducing it down to the Savior moment. This is the pivot point. This is the binary world where as soon as you find life Everything is fine. misses the point. Yeah, like there’s so much else to do on the lesson. 


NASA brings so much back for us I mean, I think I think most people know that cat the fact that CAT scans exist that’s because of NASA but like insulin Patil much more dust busters. Like the the soles on your tennis shoes, fire fire fighters, and their and their insulation, the insulation of those insulation in your homes like all of this is because of NASA, all of it. There are so many reasons to go into space, we do so much work to be able to stay there and to learn new things. And they bring so much back for us. It propels our society forward in a way that we would otherwise be a little bit slower about or maybe not come up with ever because, listen, if we’re not willing to bring down the prices of insulin, who say that we would have ever come up with insulin pumps, like there are all of these capitalism makes a lot of makes us fail a lot. And I this is not like a political rant. It’s just the fact that science is so important to progress. Yeah. And why is it that life is the only thing that would keep us on Mars? Yeah. And I would even just 


even just within the context of the show, like Paul was a creep and ultimately not well adjusted on Mars, but he was developing super crops. Like, why is that on its own not worth continuing to fund. 


Exactly. I would be very interested in what everybody else thinks of like, what their if you’re interested in, in humans being a spacefaring civilization. Why, what what is your number one priority? If you if you were part of a Martian outpost? Would you put the search for life at the top? Or would you put scientific advancement at the top or would you put economic investment? 


And I’m not saying that, if your priority is finding life that that’s, you know, wrong. That’s wrong. I’m not I’m saying it’s wrong for this story. Yeah. I just felt like it was it was an odd. I mean, it’s not an odd choice because it’s highly melodramatic TV. So I guess it’s predictable, but Me, I just felt like it was, it was an overblown choice. 


Yeah, I did think within the context of the story, I thought this was what they needed to save the day they did it, they did a decent job of like, everything’s gone wrong, of course, they’re going to end it. I genuinely bought the fact that it was going to be over. And that the show was going to end with sort of like, Don’t let this happen. We have to go to Mars Don’t let it fail. And then this turned and then all of a sudden Of course, yes. Now they’re going to stay that Yeah, that was the the turn that they needed. 


And you know that the that the CEO guy, I don’t know what his neither know what his name nor his actual title is The Ilan musk analogy, analog sorry. He, like they do in the documentary side of this show, you know that that guy is going to get the credit for launching a new civilization and it? Yeah, that bothers. I had like a whole rant about this. Because at one point, someone says, you know, Elon Musk is going to to launch a new civilization. And I was like, No, he’s not. June, Space X might be you want to know what SpaceX encompasses all of the scientists who work to get everybody there. I’m sorry. It’s not just the money that launches a new civilization. It’s the engineers. It’s Oh, oh, yeah. This is the part where I get a little red because I just I am so tired of seeing the credit given to one person, 


and especially the financier. Yeah, like, at least in the space race with the Soviets. The rock stars were often the scientists, you know, Verner von Braun. And, and these sorts of people were front and center, but like, Can you name a single scientist at SpaceX chime chime in, in the comments if you can name one scientist who works at SpaceX on on these reusable   

rockets that are going to take us to Mars? I can’t. I’m a pretty big space nerd and I can’t name any Okay. What it’s it’s it’s this dichotomy that you know, back in the day, people knew names like Verner von Braun. These days, we only know the financier. We know Elan musk. That’s 


and I get it. He has a vision and the his vision people have latched on to and that’s important that has done great things that helps us propel the program, I get it. And I don’t want to diminish that. However, it is I the idea that he would get sole credit for starting a new civilization made me want to rip my hair out. And, you know, but 


and by the way, up there in the least realistic things in this entire show, is the fact that June gets to make the announcement that there’s life on Mars, the Elon Musk analog was standing quietly to the side on the podium, like on the stage, it was her at the podium and him like six feet away from her just looking down with his hands crossed. Bull shit. Yeah, that guy is absolutely grabbing the microphone. Yeah, they’ve established that. 


I do have to say that watching the success of the, in the documentary side, watching the success of the rocket returning and landing on the launch pad had me seriously choked up. I 


that was some really powerful stuff. 


It was a I just I think that it’s amazing that humans can do something that incredible it is, you know, we could diminish it by thinking of it as like reversing a car. No, absolutely not. It’s a whole other thing. It’s not like flying a plane. It’s none of it’s, it’s nothing we’ve ever seen before. And again, you see a room full of people who have been working on it. And and that’s not even the number. There are so many more people who have been working on it. And I just I loved it for them for humans in general. Yeah, but I loved it for them as well. And yeah, inspiring. 


I will say to like, you know, Ilan musk should not get the exclusive credit for taking us to Mars. But he does. He has done things that nobody else has done before. He definitely gets some credit. And I will say part of that SpaceX sequence that really got to me was his personal elation. He starts shouting it standing up and standing up. Like he’s personally freaking out. Well, I want to I kind 


of wanted to know, because you know, he’s watching it come in, and he’s like, Oh, that looks this looks bad. This looks bad. Yeah. And I want to know what they thought was going wrong. 


I think my read of the scene was that he thought that it should be burning already. Because there’s a while that it just falls. It’s just falling from the sky and Everybody’s freaking out and he goes, something’s wrong, something’s wrong and it cuts to the people inside and they’re all kind of like getting tense. And then finally fire shoots out the bottom of it and it starts decelerating and everybody freaks out so I think it was that it was supposed to fire off earlier. Yeah, well, but yeah, very powerful sequence. It was a powerful 


sequence and I and I enjoyed watching it. I know that we kind of jumped all over with this episode. 


But it’s it’s this episode. To be honest, I don’t have as many notes about this episode. It doesn’t have as much going on. Well, everybody’s just kind of getting ready to go home and sad about it. 


I mean, that’s true. I have a lot kind of notes on the on the documentary side because it’s the part that I enjoyed so much. I really like this quote from Verner von Braun, where he says, if something blows up in your face, you have to try again try again try again. And as like that’s that’s the that’s why this man specifically managed so much is he has the perseverance to make this to make space programs work. And I 


and it’s worth mentioning Verner von Braun does not have like he is not clean. He did some terrible things. Now, a lot of people hate Verner von Braun and they’re not wrong. Yeah. Absolutely. Verner von Braun is actually one of the examples that I often reach for when talking about the difference between immoral and amoral. I would characterize Verner von Braun as pretty much the definition of amoral Verner von Braun wanted to land on Mars. And he didn’t really care if that meant helping Hitler to do it. Like he he wasn’t out to do evil things. He just didn’t care if his work was used for evil things as long as it was advancing the mission. And that’s kind of messed up. Like that’s pretty much just kind of Yeah, that’s that is quite messed up, he made the v2 rockets that reigned fear on on England, there’s actually a quote, when when the first v1 rocket, I think, was first used to kill people, because that was not his original intention. He wanted to build a space program from the Nazis. But the the quote is, the rocket performed perfectly. It just landed on the wrong planet. Which I feel like there’s something kind of heartbreaking about that quote, because you can hear in that sentiment, that even he feels like this is being perverted. You know, this is not what he wanted to be building. But he kept building it. You know, he just was that obsessed with rockets. And with getting to space, he’s not a perfect guy. But at the same time, he is representative of this drive to explore this absolute refusal to stay put on one world. And that is not just evil, you know, like there is there is value in that as well. And, yeah, he’s you know, there’s a there’s a thing that happens in this episode, where they talk about Apollo 13. And Apollo 13 was very clearly the inspiration for this episode. Because what happened with Apollo 13 was everything went wrong, it scared a whole bunch of people specifically, it scared Nixon, and then they kind of said, No more space. Let’s not do that anymore. Like we don’t want to really, which is freaking bizarre, which is stupid, I don’t know. Go ahead, 


well, just just to wrap up for anybody who hasn’t seen. So what they did instead was they invested in the space shuttle, and the space shuttle is great for getting to orbit and coming back. It’s a space plane and you can go up and you can repair Hubble and you can visit the International Space Station and nothing else, the space station, the space shuttle will not take you to the moon, it will not take you to Mars, it was a commitment to go as far as we had gone and no further. And so even though the space shuttle is held up as this sort of great symbol of space exploration, a lot of space exploration, people hate it, because it’s the symbol of the death of the space program. 


And my thing, ultimately, is I don’t know why the lives of the astronauts are more important than other lives, we are constantly putting lives at risk for various reasons. And why are astronauts the exception to the rule? Well, especially because you know, there’s so Lacey and I, along with anybody in popular culture these days, watch a lot of superhero stuff. And I in particular, really enjoy superhero stuff. But 


there are several things that if you watch a lot of superhero stuff you get tired of and one of them is my God. Everybody needs to stop saying don’t put yourself at risk. I will. That’s like every superhero and every single TV show every single episode, they’re saying, No, no, no, you don’t do this. I’ll do it. And then the other person will respond. You don’t have to do that. I’ll take care of it. And it’s like what somebody just do it like it’s okay. Everybody’s willing to risk their lives. Let’s go risk our lives together and save the day and That’s how I feel about these astronauts. They’re willing to risk their lives, 


let them and CEO guy does that. He says that, you know, they they knew what they were getting into. They’ve made their peace with this. We all 


knew what they were getting into. And that’s surprising. Yeah, you could die on Mars. And you know what, if you have regrets, that sucks. 


But you signed up for it. Yeah. And, you know, if there’s a chance that you can go home, and that can be made to happen, you’ll be on the you’ll be on the list. Yeah. But for everybody else. They know what the hell they’re doing and what they’re getting into. I’m sorry, but it’s like saying, I’m going to go be in the military. Yeah, 


we don’t, you don’t get to join the army, and then raise objections because you might die. That’s what the army is man. And like you do trust that they won’t waste your life, that there is a certain assumption that if you die for the cause, that that will be necessary. But at the same time, you might die for the cause. So like, he 


doesn’t feel callous to say, they knew what they were getting into. Yeah. 


And yes, you don’t want to waste and they’re Heroes for it. Like, there’s a certain point at which if you saved every soldier, in all sorts, in every circumstance, if you prevented anybody from ever dying for the country, and you gave up whatever it took to keep them from dying, you’re actually preventing their heroism, like they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their country. And we should let them because the fight needs to agree. Like we don’t want to we don’t want to over blow No, but like, that’s an overblown argument, because but if the choice is lose a bunch of American soldiers to defeat the Nazis, or don’t defeat the Nazis, right, the answer is, you let some of them die to defeat the Nazis, because it’s worth it. And that’s just that’s what this feels like, yeah, you’re going to lose people because of the science and they want to be a part of it. 


They’re volunteers. And I don’t I don’t know why we don’t have the political will to handle that. It’s, it’s the, it’s the downside of humanism is we as a society have decided that the most important thing is human lives, which is generally good, we won’t trade lives for, you know, resources, or for equipment or whatever, that’s a good thing. But what that means is that anything that threatens human life is bad. There’s nothing in this world that causes death. That is good. And you know what, there just are sometimes, like, sometimes it’s worth dying for people’s lives for a lot less. Yeah. And in earlier eras, when exploration was still a thing on this planet. I actually have written in my notes, no one cried for the Cowboys. You know, if you went west, in America, you might die. And nobody, like, wrung their hands over the great tragedy that was all the people dying on the frontier. No, that’s just what happens on the frontier and like, you might survive, or you might not, and if you survive, you might not live as long as you had, as you might have if you lived in New York, but that’s what it means to live on the frontier. And it’s it, it is especially, I feel like it is a betrayal that June is the one arguing that they need to shut us down. I feel on that infuriated. I feel like Hannah would kick your ass. Yeah, you know, your sister would beat the shit out of you if she knew what was happening in these meetings. Yeah, 


absolutely. There would be a rift when she gets home. 


Absolutely. I mean, there I feel like they’re kind of already is one brewing and the episode, she talks about how, you know, I was crying when I woke up because the dream was over. Do you hear me? You know? Yeah. Yeah. So that I will say, unless you have just kind of wrap up. Okay. I have a moment that spoke to me, on the documentary side spoke to me more than probably anything else in the show. And I don’t really know why it wasn’t a new sentiment. But I think it was just the passion with which it was delivered. And it came from Robert Zubrin, who is, you know, he does good work, he advances the cause of Mars. He’s a little bit of a kook. And sometimes I feel like he kind of needs to step out of the spotlight because you’re giving space people a bad name. Because you’re just a little weird. 

But Lord knows he’s devoted his life to the pursuit of getting humans to Mars. And a lot of what he says is sort of cheesy, or it’s sort of cliche, he definitely leans into that just sort of spirit of discovery that is too abstract to really motivate a lot of people. But he has a quote in this episode that really kind of got me which is, look up, look up. There’s everything out there. And I feel like that is so broad, that it kind of comes back around to being specific. There’s everything out there. And of course, you could take that literally to mean there are planets and stars. There’s the whole rest To the universe. But to me what it what it made me think of is potential. Like there’s, there’s music out there, they’re stories out there, their families out there, there’s history out there, there are going to be wars out there. But then there are going to be peace treaties out there, there’s going to be discovery, yes, on a scientific level. But there’s also going to be, you know, parties among friends who love each other they’re going to be, there’s everything that is life out there. And that’s why we go to space, we don’t go to space to discover if there are microbes under rocks, and we don’t go to space to refine equations, we go to space, because there’s everything out there. And it just, it just got me. 


Yeah, it did not do all of that for me. But I love what it inspired. any of that is very sweet. I think ultimately, what we can say is that we enjoyed the documentary side of this show that the narrative aspect was a trash fire. And hey, 


very well intentioned, trash fire. They were aiming for the right thing. They just didn’t hit the mark. 


But I think that there, there was value to just, I would like to just see this as a straight up documentary. Yeah. And I, you know, I’m interested in seeing someone else pick up this, this way of storytelling. Yeah, it’s documentary and a narrative and not just documentary and recreation.    


Yeah, the sound is hybrid storytelling is cool. I’d like to see more of it in different contexts. I like to see a version of this for like ancient Rome. Yeah. 


So I mean, they’ve they’ve hit on something interesting. I don’t think it was perfected the first time out of the gate. But I’m, I’m curious to see. I’m not curious to see where this show goes. But I’m curious to see where another show goes that similar to this. So hopefully, we will enjoy the next thing more than our last couple of weeks. Because we love to enjoy things. Yes. 


So it is not our mode to criticize. Yeah. So 


I think that’s it. 


I think that’s it. 


So before we wrap up, be sure to you know, thank you for watching. This has been fun to go through National Geographics Mars, and it’ll be fun to move on to the next thing. Be sure to more fun, move on to the next thing. Be sure to check out our Patreon page at patreon slash edge works entertainment, where you can get tons of cool extras and rewards for supporting us both for the show and for our other shows. And then also for terrigenesis you can get some cool in game rewards. And a special thank you to everybody who already supports us. Seriously, it makes this possible. We are we are growing our podcast network and the support of people who are here now are making that possible. 


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NatGeo: Mars – WHY SO SERIOUS?! | The Synthesis

Lacey and Alex discuss the National Geographic series, MARS, episodes 1-3. Why so serious ?! A somber show that clearly Lacey and Alex just LOVE….. ish…

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, this is Alexander Winn Lacey Hannan, who I think set me up when the video started here with the latest episode of The Synthesis. This week, we are talking about National Geographic’s β€œMARS” episodes one through three. And I have a question to start us off, do you? 


It’s not a nice question. 


Oh God, 


who was your least favorite character? And why? Oh, all right. Good tone. 


You can pick from the people on documentary side as well. Okay. 




tipping your hand. They’re a little lace. 


You know what, let’s just let’s just be transparent about who we are and how we feel. 


Yeah, yep. Yep. And who are you? And how do you feel? 


I hate Captain but I hate him. 


I hate him. 


All right, so National Geographics. Mars is a show that came out a few years ago. And it is an interesting thing because it it jumps back and forth between documentary and narrative. So you know, obviously, like the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, they do a lot of documentary shows. Recently, these kind of networks like History Channel have been getting into narrative shows, like Vikings and  that sort of thing. But this is both. And that is interesting. They’re taking a nonfiction book and adapting it with a fiction story, which was, you know, ambitious. And I 


mean, usually it’s a, it’s nonfiction with reenactment, right? 


So this, this feels like the first I don’t know if it’s actually the first of its kind with documentary and the narrative. 


Yeah, the completely original story. Yeah. 


So anyway, 


but yeah, it was it ran for one season of six episodes, and then was renewed for another season of six episodes, 


we’re doing episodes one through three of season, not that anybody knows why it was allowed to come back. 


So yeah, what do you think Lace? 


Let’s start. We’ll just start with the narrative stuff. Yeah. Okay. Because I listen, I don’t have terrible things to say about all of it. So let’s just, let’s start with the bad and then move on. Okay. Get it out of the way. Okay. Yeah. I do not enjoy the narrative aspect at all, unfortunately, um, I think that we, we have a bunch of characters that are mostly uninteresting, often illogical. One example of that is, we we this is, this is kind of, in Second, the second episode, which they are trudging towards their, the outpost from where they landed their ship. And there, they’ve got alarms going off saying, you know, your co2 is going up and all of this stuff running out of oxygen. Yeah. And the doctor 


keeps talking, the doctor who is presumably the one who best understands the need for air. 


Yeah. And she just won’t shut up. Like, I’m sorry. Captain Ben is passing out. You don’t need to keep talking to him. Like you’re not. Your job right now is not to keep him awake. Your job is to get him to the outpost to safety so that you can work on him. Yeah. And if you can’t work on him, because you’ve run out of air. He’s worked. Sorry, excuse my language. This, I’m gonna try and keep it down. We’ll see how well that goes. So it But anyway, it’s just like, there are all of these little things that are just super illogical. Some of it’s within the character, some of it is within the writing. Another one is while they’re trudging along, someone notes that they’re moving too slowly. And then immediately, the doctor says to Ben, who’s awake at this point. She says, you know, we can slow down. And he said, No, you know, we have we have to go faster. And it’s like, someone just said, we’re not going to make it. We’re going to slow and choose we can slow down. 


No, no, you literally, you literally cannot, you will die. So please don’t be stupid. 


Yeah, I think so. Lacey and I had a lot of conversations after watching these episodes about the show and specifically the narrative side and sort of what what was the problem because I feel like there was a problem and I wanted to love this show so much when it first came out, you know that this is exactly up my alley. This is the hard 


siphon joy enjoying thing. 


Yeah, we love to love things and we dislike disliking things. And but at the end of the day, I feel like really most of the sort of narrative Sins of, of Mars, come back to one thing, which is they’re trying so hard to make it dramatic. And so they lean in to all this stuff about like, hey, what if the what if something went wrong? Just as they were landing? Hey, what if they landed in the wrong place? Hey, what if one of them was injured? Hey, what if you know, it’s like over and over? And hey, what if there was a fire? What if all this stuff and then they start getting in each other’s throats. And it’s like, they just, they kind of reach for every opportunity to heighten the drama. And there’s so many scenes where people are standing around looking, shaken, and looking scared and looking worried. And it’s like, at the end of the day, going to Mars is inherently dramatic, it is inherently scary, you don’t mean to make it scary. And that I feel like it’s sort of this is the story that it’s like they needed to have watched the Martian, which I think this actually came out, either just before the Martian or just after the Martian. But whenever it was, they weren’t able to have watched the Martian when they were making it. But I feel like they really needed to because the Martian is a great demonstration of how your character can be upbeat and optimistic. And you can be listening to the frickin disco music while he works. And it’s still scary, because he’s trying to survive on Mars. And there’s a there’s a line from a show called Studio 60 that I think about a lot in a lot of different contexts. But it also applies to this, which is Studio 60 is a show it’s kind of like 30 rockets behind the scenes of a show like Saturday live. And there’s a moment where one of the performers goes up to one of the show runners. And she says, I got a laugh at the table read when I asked for the butter in the dinner sketch. I didn’t get it at the dress rehearsal, what did I do wrong? And he says you asked for the laugh. And she said, What did I do at the table read. And he says you asked for the butter. And it’s just this great, simple expression of the line is funny when she asks for the butter. It’s funny, you don’t have to make it funny. If you try to make it funny, it won’t be funny. All you have to do is do it straight, do it real and it will be funny. And I feel like that’s what the creators of this show needed to learn is you don’t need to make it scary. It is scary. And there are just so many times through the show that they try to 


they try so hard and like I mean, the bright flashing light of too dramatic is Captain but yeah. And, you know, the whole time his he’s got one mode. And I feel like the writers and the director failed him. And then his acting. I can’t. I can’t say exactly. I think I think it’s probably everyone’s fault. But it’s he was Loki tense the entire time. And you know, I didn’t mind that his first like his monologue to the crew 


about before they even launched. Yeah. 


You know, if you’re not ready for this go like that was kind of a funny line. Because like at this point, 


you’re probably committed at this point. 


Yeah, but the rest of it, I was okay with it being not this big, big pep talk. Like, that’s fine. And I liked it felt grounded. But then that serious tone was his entire character. And I I don’t understand why a leader. I say that with a smidge of sarcasm, would do what he does to his crew, 


which is he doesn’t tell them things. He doesn’t communicate with them. And to me, that doesn’t he doesn’t allow them to save the day. Yeah, he’s so busy trying to save the day that he doesn’t let his team Yeah, save the day by by hiding from them what they absolutely need to know he is failing them. And that’s not what leaders do. Leaders are supposed to be communicative. And we see later that the team is falling apart because he died, which, 


like understandable, but to the same degree. They were never a team. They always felt like a group of individuals. And the Martian doesn’t feel like that. I would say in our stellar felt that way. Apollo 13 


they definitely well, Apollo 13. them not being a team as a plot point. Yeah, exactly. One of them are a team and one of them is the new guy. Yeah. 


But they, but they still managed to end up working as a team. Yeah. So it’s like, these people felt so quickly into sniping at each other or not working together. Or, you know, the, it was another example of how it just felt. The whole thing kind of felt like it was shifting under my feet, was when we find out that the captain is hurt. The women are the only ones who seem to care. And the guys are treated as pack animals 


like the the men carry the heavy stuff and beast, the beast of burden. 


Yeah, the the women are, are fretting over their sick captain and the men are there to carry stuff. 


Yeah. And it’s just like, it’s so it’s so bizarre, to me how they set up this team and I get it, there’s going to be like, when something that wrong happens. Or goes that wrong? Yes, the team is going to be affected. And things might fracture for a moment. But they’re all going to rise up to the challenge of making this work. Because we 


have to, which I think is sort of the the biggest thing that was missing is there are no triumphs. Well, actually, there is one at the end of Episode Three, we finally get a win, which is when they set up the city, in the lava in the lava tube. And it’s great, there’s upbeat music, and people are smiling and like, this is what you want. Like it’s it’s a real win. But it’s it’s three episodes of just grim kind of, like, even the documentary side, they’re talking about how like, everything is everything is trying to kill you. And Mars is a graveyard and like, they’re all these quotes about how awful it is and how dangerous it is and how just What a nightmare it is. And then people are like, it’s gonna be the greatest journey in the history of humanity. And you’re sitting there going, why it sounds like hell. And you know, the no moment exemplifies this better than at the end of episode one. They’ve had a hell of a time landing, you know, like they it was, it’s a wild ride down onto the surface, and they finally land, they realize they’re in the wrong place, like everything’s going wrong. And then finally, at the end of Episode One, they step out onto the surface, and they’re all standing together in their spaces. And they’re in sort of a, like, an elevator kind of thing, and it lowers them down. And they, they open the gate. And the captain is standing in the front, and he steps out onto the surface of Mars. And this is the first time that a human has ever stepped on another planet. And he says nothing. He doesn’t say a word, he just walks forward. And then the next person steps out. And then the next person steps out and the whole thing is silent. And then just in case you thought that it was a mistake. There is a narration line that says there was no speech, no theater. Like it’s this Reverend moment, and I’m sitting here going okay, but like, there should have been, you know, like, Where, where is my one small step for man. Like, you got to have the first words on Mars. Literally, the first words on Mars in this universe, our mission control confirms the rover is 2000 pounds over payload with all of us on board. Those are the first words that humans spoke on Mars, like, Are you kidding me? Come on. This is you’re not going to give us a triumphant moment of the first words on Mars when you’re depicting the first words on Mars, and you’re 


going to tell me that you’re not filming the entire thing, or it’s not being recorded for people back home because everybody wants to be a part of this. This is this is not just SpaceX doing this. No, no, are the SpaceX analog. This is the what is the International Space Agency. This is for all of humanity. Yeah. And it’s bizarre. Yeah, totally bizarre that they just decided to make it about them. Yeah, there’s himselves Yeah, 


it’s it’s very weird, storytelling choice to, to just have no sort of ceremony around any of this. There’s no moment where they’re like, holy crap, guys. We’re on Mars. Yeah, yeah. I feel like it just they were just leaning so hard into making it dramatic, that they missed the parts. 


I’m one of the other things that really kind of drives me crazy through the whole thing is outside of the interviews with the astronauts, we don’t really see anybody smile. And, and even then, it’s not very often. And like, Hannah, the actress who played Hannah has an incredible smile. 


And we find out in Episode Three. Yeah, yeah. 


And it’s like, it doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be a big celebration ever. Episode but something that that kind of, like brings us in, so that we’re not just watching them be traumatized over and over. We, we want to see people win. That’s what we want.

And we get zero wins until the end of Episode Three. And it’s horrifying. And like we we see the captain died and you want to know what my reaction was? He’s dead. Good. 


That’s not what will stop getting in the way. 


Yeah, like, like I was sitting there going, we wave who gets their spleen taken out, puts on a heavy ass like, shoot, and then goes, you know, mountaineering? Yeah. And it makes it and then you realize, Oh, no, this is like, his final fantasy. And he died. And I was just like, cool. We don’t have to deal with him anymore. Which I don’t want to say as an audience member, this is a guy that I’m supposed to be rooting for. And they didn’t pull me into his character. They didn’t give me any reason to trust Him, which I’m now realizing, through this show that I need. I desperately need things to latch on to, to trust our leaders. And it, I get it, that’s that’s gonna be true of everybody. You know, we want to trust the people that are leading us. But I didn’t realize how much it mattered to me and entertainment. Yeah, you know, I don’t I don’t deal well with the corruption side. Like I’ve recently learned that through d&d, like I don’t corruption stories super bother me. 


And this isn’t 


when the leader is an obstacle when you’re sort of wishing that this guy would cut the crap. It just takes away. 


How did he get here? Like, why would? Why would anybody make him the leader at all? And then there’s, you know, his backup is Hannah, who’s the pilot, and someone back at Houston says something along the lines, and we’ve got this pilot leading the crew. And I’m like, Yeah, man, you picked her first of all, and second. Yes, the pilot, like pilots often work together with a co pilot, just in case something bad happens. And the copilot takes over. Because that’s what they’re trained to do. It’s they’re trained to lead and they’re trained to handle this. And I was just, I was, oh, I was so mad. I was you guys. I was so mad. Anyway, I, I struggled. Yeah. So I I, let’s see, is there anything else that we need to touch base on the characters? Not great. too serious all of the time. 


I will say this for the narrative portion, which is that the production values are awesome. Yeah, this looks like a movie. It does. It’s beautiful. And it’s, you know, again, it kind of makes it more tragic that I didn’t care more about the story because it looks great. This is this could be a pier to the Martian. It’s honestly like you could sort of view it as the midpoint of the Martian and gravity This is what would happen if if the gravity rules applied to the Martian story where everything goes wrong all the time. Yeah. But they do a great job with you know, the rover looks very convincing. The rocket looks very convincing the hab like they Yeah, it’s, it’s and especially in in Episode Three, when they start exploring this giant cave. There were several moments where I’ve literally like sort of stopped the video and turned to Lacey. I was like, look at that shot, just you know, her dangling by this tiny, thin rope as she descends into this massive environment. Very cool. cinematography, 


I love I love watching people AB sail in film. I don’t know why. And it’s always right before something terrifying happens. So and I don’t do horror. So it’s it’s weird that I enjoy it. But nonetheless, I do. Yeah. But yeah, I think that I think that there are just, you know, one of the last, one of the last things I’ll say about the narrative portion, is it really felt like a lot of the acting was not meant for the show. It felt like it was meant for the HBO or something, you know, it felt like they were in the wrong. They were on a TV show. That was for National Geographic. And it felt like at minimum and needed to be an HBO show for them to be in, or it was a film. There’s different kinds of acting and it didn’t jive well for me at all. So there’s just like, they just they had some odd, they made a lot of odd choices, and they didn’t make things very clear and there weren’t the redundancies that we expect a multi billion dollar mission to have. So and you know, the redundancy, we talked about this in our stellar that there weren’t enough plans and stuff like that. So I just feel like we keep being let down and I don’t want to keep being let down. So I, I don’t have high expert, high hopes for the rest of this season. But it’s kind of where I’m at at the moment, anyway. 


Well, there’s an interesting thing that I found myself noticing throughout the show, but especially after episode one, which is that they kind of so you know, the whole show is, is, is designed around this sort of two sided structure. So we cut to the narrative side in 2033. And then we cut back to the modern day in I think, 2016. And they’re talking mostly about SpaceX. It’s a little bit of an ad for SpaceX, which, you know, is fine, because SpaceX is our best chance to get to Mars. But the odd thing is that they don’t really parallel each other that much. They’ll talk about stuff in the documentary side, and then the narrative side doesn’t represent that, like they’ll talk, you know, the the first time that I think I really sort of bumped on it is, in Episode Two, there’s this big period where on the documentary side, they’re talking about how, you know, on the journey to Mars, you’re going to be in zero G. And they talk about the toll that that takes on your body, and they talk about modern astronauts, and some of the things that they have to deal with, and how, you know, we may not know for years, what they’re sacrificing because of the radiation, and you know, all this stuff. And especially, they talk about how you’ll be really weak when you get to Mars, because you’ve spent so many months in zero G, that you won’t have the muscle mass. But then the characters in the narrative side aren’t weak, that they’re not representing what the documentary is describing, which I thought was odd. Like, I kind of want to learn more about, you know, like, did they shoot all the narrative stuff? And then do these interviews? What was it that led them to highlight these really big things? And then not do that? In the I 


mean, I think that it’s because it’s specifically made to be a a new form of storytelling, because otherwise, it would just be like all of those crime shows where it’s like, we’re going to interview the investigator, and then we’re going to recreate it. Yeah. And I think I think it’s interesting that they weren’t recreating what they’re talking about. 


Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t need to be one to one. But it just, it seems like when you’re when the whole point of a show, is to depict realistically how something would work, you would do that, you know, like you would take the thing that you’re pitching as being an element and make it an element of the story. 


I hear that but I don’t know that the narration is really all that realistic. 


I feel like that was what we were sort of build with a show. Like I agree. What I’m saying is, I think that it isn’t really but it’s odd, because that seems to be the whole point of this show is documentary match with narrative that the implication is that we’re going to be showing you in the narrative what we’re doing in the documentary, but 


that would just but to me, again, that it just comes back to trying to tell a story, while telling the true story of what it’s going to look like to get to Mars rather than recreating the true story. Because that’s, that’s like the true crime stuff. Yeah. And so I imagine that they were trying to figure out how to navigate that. And I wouldn’t mind it if some of it overlapped a little bit more. But I, I, I hear you. Yeah. Just a response to imana economist. So in talking about like, the different styles of acting, 


your mom economist, by the way, asked in the comments, I’d love to hear more about these different types of acting for different media. 


Oh, yeah. Sorry, guys. So they’re, they’re like, you can kind of think of it as breaking it down for different levels. When you’ve got that really, really simple. Simplified acting. You’re talking about something that’s going to be on HBO, you’re going to we’re looking at suddenly, I’m not coming up with any of my what’s the one that recently Oh, shoot, I’m gonna look it up. I’m gonna look it up while we’re sitting here. The the actor from Arrested Development, What is his name? You’re not gonna whatever. But he’s got this really like dramatic TV show that’s in like, the third or fourth season. And that is, it’s really pulled back. The show with Yeah, Jason Bateman. And I We’ll figure out the title of it. But then you’ve got something. So like a couple steps up, you’ve got the CW, which is melodramatic. So you know that’s going to be Riverdale, it’s going to be your DC shows, it’s going to be your vampire shows, where it’s teen drama is really the audience 


heightened emotion. 


And then the next step is going to be your comedies that are over a little bit more over the top, even, you know, even when you’ve got characters who play a lot smaller, like, you’ve got the office, you’ve got Michael Scott. And then you’ve got Jim Wright, and they still live in, they still inhabit the same world. But there’s really big, and then Jim is playing to the camera. And then you’ve got the next step, which would be like Nickelodeon, and Disney and, and things like that. So that’s kind of that’s, that’s what I mean when you’re talking about different styles of acting. And the Jason Bateman show is Ozark on Netflix. And now you know, that’s even Handmaid’s Tale, it’s really pulled back. So you’ve got a couple different levels that you’re talking about. And I felt like this played a lot more in the was the tone of this was a lot more in the three, where it’s it was very melodramatic writing and all of that stuff. But all of the actors were in Ozark. And it was pulled back so much that it made it even more dramatic, in a way that it was like, let us tell you how high the stakes are, without, without really the story owning up to how they would have prepared for this. 


And I guess I guess that’s a good way of putting it for a lot of the things that we watch on the synthesis is, there’s a there’s an asymmetry in the quote unquote, realism that they tried to attribute to the consequences. And the realism that they tried to attribute to the actions of our heroes that like in you know, Mars is trying to sell us the same thing that gravity tried to sell us, which is the stakes are high, but the prep was low. You know that like, in the Martian, the stakes are really high, and things go wrong a lot. But they also prepped for a lot of them, you know, our hero is capable of responding to them. And so there’s a symmetry because the the danger is really high. But the capability is also really high. Apollo 13 was the same way. Everything is going wrong. But our heroes are smart. And they’ve got NASA behind them, and they can handle it. Gravity and the Martian are in this weird zone where they’re trying to sell us on stakes, not the Martian, or Yeah, gravity and Mars are trying to sell us on stakes, that are sort of Apollo 13 caliber. But with people that are not the crew of Apollo 13 caliber, you know, the the it just doesn’t match up. And I think that’s where a lot of this sort of friction comes from here. Yeah. We do have a question from another listener, which is, who should be campaigning planetary exploration corporations or governments? is probably one of the biggest questions in space exploration right now, thanks to SpaceX leading the way, honestly. So Elon Musk has said a number of things that are contradictory over the years about what exactly he plans to do, because on the one hand, he’ll say stuff like we’re planning to build a city on Mars, we want to build a city of a million people by so by by such and such year, there was also that very weird thing where apparently every person who uses every person who buys a Tesla now has to sign a contract, which includes a clause recognizing Mars as an independent planet. This came out like six months ago, and everybody was like, that’s not a thing. Like that’s not gonna hold up in court. That’s not a thing. Yeah. But yeah, I get that I get the impulse. You have the option to do it. You might as well give it a shot. But but you kind of have to ask why, like, does that mean that Elon Musk is already planning on doing some shady stuff on Mars? And he doesn’t want to answer two laws on earth like what is the what is the thought behind this anyway? But on the other side, Elan Musk has also said some stuff about how they don’t want to build cities on Mars. SpaceX is not in the business of building cities on Mars, but SpaceX is not in the business of settling or colonizing Mars. What SpaceX wants to be. He made it very clear, SpaceX is a transport company. SpaceX wants to get you to Mars so that you can build a city on Mars like whoever Are you are you can hire SpaceX to take you to Mars, and then you can do what you want. And so, to me, the the answer to who should be doing planetary exploration is corporations or governments. Governments are, I am not the kind of anti government person that a lot of people are these days, I think that there is a place for, you know, government funding and government action. But one thing that it is hard to argue with is that governments have a lot of waste, whereas corporations are often very tightly controlling their revenue and their expenses. And so to me, the best answer is both. The best answer is SpaceX takes NASA to Mars, that SpaceX failed to Yeah, SpaceX is gonna run the numbers and keep it inexpensive, and keep it affordable and keep those ships moving. And then NASA can do the work on the plane. Well, 


and NASA isn’t going to be as you know, there’s not gonna be as much exploitation. Yeah, exactly. planet that or would do more of the people. 


You know, like you. You don’t have to be some flagwaving socialists to recognize that a lot of corporations really screw over their people. Yeah. And if you are going to Mars and you can’t come home, like there are so many stories of corporations, even with just like bases, you know, in remote areas, where, you know, they basically charge you your entire paycheck just in random, because where else are you going to stay? Yeah, and that kind of thing is just too easy to do on Mars, especially if you have all of the people driving your cars signing waivers that declare Mars to be an independent planet. Yeah, so I trust NASA way more than I trust SpaceX. I guess, I guess that’s the best way to put it. I trust NASA more than I trust SpaceX, but I trust SpaceX as accountants more than I trust NASA’s accountants. Yeah. 


I mean, I think that’s, that, that’s pretty reasonable. I also expect that government governments would clash over who does this belong to? Yeah, in a way that would move the conversation forward? In terms of who should it belong to? Because I think it belongs to Earth until it doesn’t. But maybe, maybe that’s not true. You know, like, it really is going to take a lot of conversations, to figure out the best way forward, and, and actually looking forward long term. And a lot of corporations, they’re going to look long term in in terms of their company and their profits, not in terms of their people. And, you know, again, it just comes back to exploitation of resources. And I think that the government, governments would be a little bit more wary of doing that. 


Yeah, I think that, you know, at its core, again, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, at their core, a corporation operates on property. That is the thing that a corporation exists to do as it exists to acquire and produce property, and then sell that property to someone else, at which point it becomes their property. Like, the whole thing is about property, whereas a government fundamentally, right, or like good government, or bad government, a government is about rights. A government is about what people are allowed to do. It’s more focused on the people than the stuff. And at the end of the day, I would like the conversation around Mars to be more about people than about stuff. 


Yeah. And I mean, of course, this is a pretty big generalization because we can look at some very specific countries in this world, rather large ones who burn through resources like nobody’s business. Yeah. However, when you’ve got scientists leading the charge on what happens with resources, and then you’ve got governments and politicians arguing over the laws, and who does this belong to I feel like what you’re going to end up getting is something that is better than just any one of those three groups, the scientists versus the politicians versus the corporation’s any one of them, I think, would be doing it for their own powerful reasons. And by working together, it’s it’s a lot more likely that we’re going to get somewhere that’s healthy for a planet. We’re all of those. For those who don’t know, I very much believe in planetary rights. 


I was I was about to say, I keep talking about the the sort of the systems and you keep pivoting it back to environmentalism. 


I mean, I can’t help myself I’m I, I truly believe that a planet has rights on its own. Which we we absolutely believe in because otherwise We wouldn’t have national parks and we wouldn’t have a UNESCO sites. And we we totally believe that as as a collective that the Earth has, to some degree, right. So it’s on whether or not people want to admit it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have these things. 




I will, you sort of you bounced off one more good point, I think, which is that really, you know, if you imagine, like, if you sort of, if you take the extreme of both side, the extreme corporate and the extreme governmental, on the extreme corporate, the people who are going to be going, are the corporate people, like they’re going to be going to set up mining outposts, and, you know, profits, profit generation centers, and like everything in that in that Martian outpost is going to be revenue driven, because that’s how the corporation works. Whereas if you imagined the pure governmental side, they’re not going to be sending politicians, like politicians don’t want to go to Mars, politicians want to be in Washington, they’re going to be sending scientists, you know, the US government doesn’t have a space program, the US government has NASA. And NASA is good. And so I think there’s there’s also an asymmetry in just sort of the on the ground experience between a corporate and a governmental outpost, the corporate is going to be focused on doing corporate things, the governmental is not going to be focused on doing governmental things, they’re gonna be focused on doing science things. 


And here’s the deal, the government can’t do it by itself, because the power power changes too often. So yes, it depending depending on, you know, because we are, we live in the US and we are both American. We talk about it about Washington, but it’s going to be a global effort more, most likely, to some degree, right? One can only have one can only hope. But I feel like the Oh, no, I think it just slipped right out of my mind. Just, oh, what I was gonna say, Sorry, I got there, I got there, I found it. The government would have such a problem. Because every you know, depending on where you you’re living, every for eight years, whatever, you’re going to have politicians going, we’re not making any money. We’re losing money on this. And one of the nice things about corporations is I’m gonna, I’m gonna say its name. Amazon lost money for what, 20 years. And people were still like, this is going somewhere. Yeah, we’re gonna let it It might be in the red now. But the whole point is that it’s not going to stay there. 


Ironically, corporations which come and go are better at long term planning than governments, which can last for 1000 years. 


So you know, this. What do you think actually just kind of contradicts what I said, like five minutes ago, but I think we’re talking about two different things. So you know, don’t don’t question the internal logic we’ve got going here, guys. Does that answer the question? We should move on to the documentary stuff? Yeah, so on the documentary side, and I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I know. I just said that. Listen, the reason we can talk about this forever, is because of terrigenesis. Like, these are the conversations we have in the office. These are the the arguments that I’ve had with friends over too much wine. And my stances
have changed. I think I’m in a stance now that’s not going to change anytime soon. But we could have this conversation found your local minimum, you’ve 


worked your way down to the point. Yeah. to the to the base point of your beliefs. 


Yes. Yeah. So anyway, I want you to know that we could do this forever. 


Oh, yeah. We could just have the show about that. Like, we could just talk about the ethics of space exploration and just 


Yeah, and 


it’s 200 episodes, and each one is eight hours long 


as we’re all yelling at each other because 


we’re just getting madder and madder you’ll be able to watch you know, I was about to say you’ll be able to watch our divorce in real time. Except I think that you and I are pretty much on the same page about most of this stuff. So yeah, you’ll be able to watch our murder by our employees. 


Yeah. Listen, for any for those of you who play terrigenesis I am I have a question. Yeah, just I mean not through through it’s like 90 and then maybe 10% something else but do you have you ever settled on faction? 


I love them all. I if I had to pick one I would if I had to pick one I would probably say USA just because I love the the human experience I love the the exploration the sort of that that James T Kirk kind of thing. 


And then we’ve got we have an absolute through and through guy and 


100% raging guy in in the US. 


I don’t know that we have anybody who’s totally horizon. 


Oh, yes, we do. He just works at our publisher. Is is 100% horizon. Yeah, yeah. Are we we’ve got all the TerraGenesis factions represented, and we 


could absolutely just talk your ear off about it. So I wanted I want, I know, we took like 20 minutes to have that conversation. But 


I think it’s almost got out and you have pulled us back. Yeah, 


I know. But I thought it was a really it was really interesting question. Yes. And 


no, it is very relevant to this episode. Yeah. You know, it is the that is one of the things because, you know, I was talking earlier about how there are things that they talked about in the documentary side, and then they don’t do it in the narrative side. One of those that I sort of appreciate is that it’s not SpaceX. They keep talking like the documentary side, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the documentary, but I don’t Yes, the narrative side, I’ve got a lot of problems with the documentary side is super cool. That being said, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t just like an ad for SpaceX, like all they do is talk about how great SpaceX is and how they’re pushing us into the future. And they’re showing like all these, you know, heroic moments and heartbreaking moments and all this stuff, and it’s, it’s an ad for SpaceX, but I appreciated the fact that it’s not SpaceX in the narrative. They made up their own Ilan musk and their own sort of SpaceX equivalent is way easier to look at. 


And not to body shame. I’m 


sorry, that was that was incredibly rude. Sorry. 


But yeah, so getting into the documentary side. Yeah, I think it had a lot of good info, and I really appreciated that it. I liked the fact that they showed SpaceX failing. Like that was Yeah, I mean, they framed it in a very sort of martyr tragic what you know, like it wasn’t framed so much as a failure as just like a tragedy. But But still, 


I noticed there was it What was interesting for me was it’s humans, all I care about are humans. We see at one point, this rocket exploded, we’ve been watching them prep for this launch and all of this stuff, right? And then it takes off. And then it explodes. And it’s, you know, that sucks. But later, we see. Another one must explode, something goes wrong. And they’re focusing on the people. And it’s just this crowd, in some room watching. And you see this woman who’s middle aged, just completely lose it. I’m like, getting choked up, because it was so heartbreaking to watch her. Watch this rocket. And I had, you know, seeing the first rocket exploded. I was like, God, that sucks, man. And then watching another one explode. But seeing the reactions of the people, I was just like, Oh, my God, your life’s work. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Yeah. And I there’s they brought me into the, the experience, I think more than the narrative side by quite a lot. Yeah. So I, I’m all about the documentary side. I’m all about it. 


Yeah, I did think it was kind of funny that they had Andy Weir, author of The Martian as one of their experts. They didn’t lean on him too hard. You know, like, he wasn’t dominating the conversation or anything. But he was definitely in there multiple times. Just sort of talking about Mars. It wasn’t even, you know, his points weren’t even like, this is why I wrote it. In my book. He was just talking about Mars, he could have just been a guy from NASA. Yeah. Which was cool. 


I, you know, there were there were little things that I really enjoyed. There’s this point where they’re talking about launch pad, she’s like, she’s trying to remember where she wrote this down. And she slides her way through pages and pages and pages of notes. And I’m just like, I’ve just got it like, centered on my screen. I’m just there. Those are my notes. 


Shut up. Anyway. So there’s Launchpad 39. A, and this is, so it’s, you know, this piece of space history is what this launch pad is. 


This is the launch pad of Apollo 11. Space Shuttle and 


SpaceX gets 


to use it. And I all I could think of was how in is it what every Pixar movie, they somehow get a room? There’s a room number like 136? a, no, yeah, that is in its Cal Arts. And this is where you This is the room that you take intro to animation or something that everybody has to take. And so in every movie, you’re going to find this little easter egg because it’s their little, you know, a module. 


Yeah. And I’m just saying you’re going where is 39? A and all of my space movies. Yeah. Because that’s just so cool. And if you’re not going to do that one, then it needs to be what is it by core, which is the Lord Just one that’s the one that was in Russia or the Ukraine. 


Which I Baikonur something. 


Yeah, Baikonur. I didn’t know how to spell it. So I misspelled it is what I did. But yeah, I was I was fascinated. It was so cool to watch people talk about the, you know, the twin, the twins, the guy going into space, and they are studying his twin here on Earth just to help see, as much as they can the differences. I don’t understand. There was a there was a line about, we will probably never know, what, 12 years, 12 years, 12 months in space does did to him, 


like what he sacrificed? 


And I don’t completely understand that. So I need you to explain to me, why is it that we can know so much about the body and anatomy and physiology and your mental space? Like we can know so much about it? And there’s a control in his brother? Yeah. And they won’t probably know. 


Well, it’s I don’t think the quote was, we’ll never know, I think the quote was, we won’t know for years. 


No, they said, We will likely never know just how much Oh, fair like, and I can’t quite wrap my I mean, basically, it’s because zero G is weird. Like, there’s just there’s sort of no equivalent to it. And so who knows, like, you know, we can make estimates about what that would do. The list of things that happened to your body and zero G is, is strange. There are a lot of things that are not what you would expect. You know, your eyes change shapely your bones lose mass, like, there’s their weird stuff. It’s not just like you get weak because you don’t have to stand up, which you would sort of expect. But there’s a very strange phenomenon that has happened to the body. And of course, nobody’s been in space for that long, like 12 months is I don’t know if it’s still the record, but it was up there. You know, there’s there’s never been anybody that stayed in space for five years, let alone 40 years. Right. So it’s just this sort of dot dot dot question mark around what is that going to do long term? And how quickly do you bounce back from it? 


I guess it kind of I guess it not kind of, but it does make sense. There. There are enough things that they’ve been like, yeah, this is true about pregnancy. But we don’t know why. And I’m sitting here going, but how we’ve gotten this far, and it’s been, you know, 1000s upon 1000s of years of pregnancies. Yeah. So well, I guess. Yeah. 


So one thing that I often find useful in that, in those sorts of instances where you you ask how have we not figured this out after, you know, 200,000 years of Homo sapiens of modern Homo sapiens existing? There’s a point that I’m pretty sure. It was made in the book sapiens, which, by the way, if you haven’t read sapiens, read sapiens, it’s incredible. And it will literally change how you view humanity. But there’s a point that they that he makes in that book, which, again, changed the way I view the world, which is that we haven’t been working on this for 200,000 years, we’ve been working on this for like, 400 years, we’ve been working on it since the beginning of the scientific revolution. And before that, people just thought it was ghosts, you know, like they did, there was no, like, people would find their way to sort of herbal solutions, because they just noticed that, hey, I put this spice in my stew, and it helped my acid reflux. So I guess maybe the spice has something to do with it. But there was no kind of systemic approach to the problem, no, real growing of knowledge, in the sense of trying to separate what is true from what is just suspected. And so oftentimes, there are these questions around like, Yeah, what how does this work during pregnancy? Or, or that sort of stuff? Where? How have we not figured that out? Well, it’s because we haven’t actually been looking for that long. You know, you can trace back a lot of things that are just fundamental about our world that, like, they didn’t know about that in World War Two, you know, like, plate tectonics? Well, they didn’t know about in World War Two. And that’s not that long ago, 


even just say, like, people will talk about how there’s been this rise in autism. Well, no, the definition of autism has changed. And if the scope had been the same as when they first decided this, you know, like, yeah, oh, we have a name for this. Then the numbers would have been higher. Yeah. And you have to disseminate the information and you have to get the information to doctors who are going to be able to diagnose this. So like, I guess, yeah, okay. No, I can I retract my question so that we can move on. 


And one last point is just that. The thing about Kelly, that was so cool was that they did have a control group in the form of his brother because they were twins. But even then, I don’t know the exact numbers on how many people have been to space like total, since you know, Eureka garden, but it’s probably less than 100. That’s probably a lot less than 100. It’s, it’s not that many. And with a sample size that small, it’s hard to say, what is the effect of zero G on the human body? And just what is the effect of zero G on him? You know, yeah, like, there are a lot of things that like, if I go to, to high altitude, I’ll be fine. But if you go to low out the high altitude, it’s going to kick your ass because whatever is different in your biology, you know, that sort of stuff. And so it can be hard to figure out exactly what is consistent with that few people to look at. Yeah, so 


just as a for our listeners soflo commented about is there is it they’re drowning. And I want to put this out there that if they can find a way they’re gonna do it to probably do it. 


There is ice. 


Yeah, they got ice. 


I mean, that drama. 


You could argue they did say that the captain’s punctured his lung. So that guy was drowning in his own blood. That that is the thing did comment on how much blood there was. It’s but it’s about the same thing is not my fear. It’s not the way the cliche, so we’ll see if they get there. Yeah, they, 


they might over terraform 


Yeah, exactly. I mean, Lord knows if terrigenesis is any indication flooding your world is a real danger. So my God, also slow soflo calling me out for being in love with my nerdy wife. And yes, I am. 


Hey, I lived with an animator for a while. And it was a weird ride. I mean, I like him, but it was a weird ride. 


So I think just for the last few minutes of the show tonight, you know, we’re we’re here to talk about scientific realism. And that is one area that I think for the most part, the show does really well, which you know, you have to sort of assume because that was kind of the whole point of this shows National Geographic but but at the end of the day, yes, they did a good job with with you know, depicting the landing depicting some of the challenges, it is kind of a highlight reel, you know, like, this is not a normal mission to Mars, this is kind of an What if everything went wrong mission to Mars. That being said, it is a tour de force of all the things that can go wrong on a mission to Mars, you know, you get everything from landing in the wrong place, you know, the really big stuff like landing in the wrong place, or somebody dying all the way to down to the little stuff like, Hey, you forgot to put the cover back on this thing. And now it’s covered in dust and it’s gummed up the works or, you know, the the littler kind of complications that you would have to factor in 


which as we know, if you’re going to take the cover, and you need it for something. You just need duct tape. 


Yeah. You follow Mark Watney? Yeah. Get some tarp? Yeah, 


yeah. That’s, that’s 


how. So yeah, it’s I think, for the most part, they do a really good job. And what I’m excited for is with the introduction of the lava tubes, we are finally starting to get to something new. This is something that even even Mark Watney didn’t do. You know, I, to my knowledge, this is the only sci fi thing that has ever been made, that talks about building habitats in lava tubes, which is something that people at NASA talk about all the time. And that I really appreciate. We are we are finally starting to break new ground in scientific accuracy. At the end of Episode Three. 


Yeah, I, you know, I think that they, they brought up a lot of interesting tidbits in the documentary side. And then we didn’t, we often didn’t get an expansion on those topics, like, you know, what is this going to do to the body? What is gravity going to do the body? What about you’ve got all of this time and zero G? And then suddenly, you’re landing on another planet that that landing? What does that sudden gravity change going to do to you? You know, and then you’ve got the historical things, like I said, about this launch sites. And I really appreciate it getting the I I don’t always understand the science stuff. I really appreciate getting the history, because I feel like I feel like we I have never heard of Baikonur, like, tell me more, man. It’s the it’s the largest one in the world. I would not have guessed that. I would have said the largest one of the world is probably somewhere in Florida. You know, and 


the Soviets go big. I mean, I know the kind of their move. 


I mean, when you’ve got that much land Yeah, 


why not? Yeah. 


It makes me think of the difference between New York and LA, where New York is like we’re on this island and everything has to go up and LA is like, spread it. Don’t get so close to But you know, just talking them talking about the cardiovascular system and the immune system and the muscular system of the twins. And, you know, they talk about how, if you’re going to go up in space, you, you have to be willing to give up your I don’t remember what the word was that they use, but you have to be willing to give up your connection to other people. And just these little tidbits that are just so real, that I, and I know that that’s not science based, but 


sort of like, if you’re going to Mars, you’re going to be alone with these people for a really, really long time. And, you know, there’s not the rest of your life, like, you know, very likely for the rest of your life, these are the only people you’re going to interact with. 


Yeah. And you know, they, they have a quote that actually comes from Captain Ben. I don’t know what his last name is. So he’s Captain bed, where he talks about how we have migrated, we’ve built settlements, we’ve built cities, and you know, will is a double edged sword. And are we pushing too far by going to Mars? And I feel like, narratively, it’s a little too late to ask man, but it’s worth, it’s worth actually saying out loud, you know, the way he kind of glosses over what migrating and building settlements and cities and other countries has done to those countries. And by kind of glossing over I mean, he completely, the dialogue completely glosses over it, what colonization has done and stuff like that. And what does that mean, when we take it to a new planet? But I, they, they bring up good questions, which I, I appreciate it, you know. And so, again, it’s not hyper scientific, but it kind of goes back to that question that weichen asked about, let me know if I mispronounce your name. Was that asked about, you know, who should lead the planetary exploration corporations with the government? And these are the kinds of questions we’re gonna have to talk about? These are the philosophies, we’re going to have to talk a lot about philosophy. Yeah, before we do this. So 


it’s, you know, there’s a, there’s a big thing that gets talked about when it comes to space exploration, which is the opening of a new frontier, and the fact that humanity has been without a frontier for, you know, about 100 years, maybe 150 years, for the first time ever, like human history, there’s always been a frontier, some wild forest, that you don’t know what is in it, and then we ran out. And now we’re going into space, and there’s going to be a frontier again. And I think that it’s going to be interesting to watch humanity, figure the frontier out, again, because we’re so used to a world where everything is controlled, and everything is managed, and everything is connected. That I mean, there’s sort of the obvious stuff like supply lines, and just the psychological effects of going out onto the frontier. But there’s also the cultural effects of going out onto the frontier. Because if there’s one thing that history has shown us every single time, people have left the mother country to go to the frontier, it is always that they have different ideas of the goal. The mother country is always trying to reproduce. And the people who go to the frontier are always trying to get away. And America did not become Britain. and Mexico did not become Spain, and Britain did not become France, and Europe did not become Rome. And like you can go back further and further and further and Iran did not become Greece. And like every time a country has spread into a new area, they were trying to spread what they are, and they ended up either creating something new, or blending into something new. And that was just assumed for human history. You know, like when people went to America, it was America, it was new. But I feel like we’ve fallen into this idea now that when we go to Mars, we’re going to build cities, and they’re going to be fundamentally American, or they’re going to be fundamentally, you know, familiar, and they’re just not and it’s gonna be interesting to see society wrestle with that, as Martian identity starts to coalesce. Yeah, 


because I mean, there’s a there’s a good argument to be made for it will probably be very Western To start with, and that will have 


very Western or very Chinese. Yeah, one of those two, I mean, yeah. 


And there’s a place for it to really not be that forever. I mean, I just think of like little things. Remember that image. In this show, when they’re I think it’s when they’re, they’re walking to the outpost, and you get to see the Milky Way and look all of its glory. Yeah, I have seen the Milky Way, in a lot of glory. And very rarely like that. And I, you know, think of all of the galaxy things that you’ll see in terms of fashion in terms of, like home decor, the the amount of star stuff, and galaxy, backgrounds on things. And that might not be a thing on Mars, because they get to see it every single day. That’s special. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s still gonna be beautiful, but it’s not going to be something that a majority of them don’t get to see on a regular basis. And so even just little things like that, I think are going to be really fascinating. 


Whereas on the other hand, a park is going to be the most exotic thing ever. 


And so what what is that? What does that do to a culture? What do you have that? I, you know, I remember, even just like, crying when we went to the southern hemisphere, and we were, we were at one of those dark sky reserves. In New Zealand. 


This is like tech. Oh, my God, 


I love Oh, my God, you guys. 


Go to Lake Tahoe. 


First of all, go to Lake tekapo. Second of all, do a tour. There. There are now four. We’re very lucky in the US. We are now there now for gold star, I think gold level dark sky reserves in the world. And let’s see here. We’ve got I think it’s Ireland, Nigeria, New Zealand. And now there’s one in Utah, 


I believe was in Nigeria. I thought it was in Namibia. 


It might be Yeah, I haven’t looked it up in a long time. So excuse me for not knowing. But I, when we were down there, and we saw it, you know, you get they, they take you. We were there in the middle of summer. And it was still we were in parkas it was for reason cold. And which is great for watching the stars. And they had all their telescopes pointed at different constellations. And of course, they’re ones I’ve never seen before. 


And not constellations, but like things like they’re well under the planets and Nebula and like, Yeah, but there was that constellation that looks like someone had dropped a purse of diamonds. Oh, that’s just like, Yeah, I know something about the Well, I don’t know, eemaan if you know what I’m talking about, feel free to speak up. 


But I, I cried when I saw that one specifically, it just it literally looked like I you know, when you go to fountains, and you throw in a penny, and make a wish, it kind of looked like that. But I’m diamonds and it was phenomenal. And we have nothing, nothing like that in the Northern Hemisphere. And so it’ll be fascinating to see what, what stories we tell about, about that sort of thing. Because at one point, at the very beginning of Episode One, we taught someone talks about how we’re taking our place among amongst the gods, we named our planets after gods and gave them power to dictate our lives. You know, which is a Mars is there, and Saturn is there. And this means this thing versus that thing. And now you’re going to have Mars, which is going to be a community that is mostly scientists. So it’s probably not going to be astrology, but still there’s going to be a culture that comes up around the stars that they see versus what we see. And I it’s just, it’s just little things like that, that make me so I’m so excited to see what the scientific community does with going to Mars. And I think we get a taste of it in this show. I’m more interested in what humanity does with it. It gets me very bright eyed and bushy tailed, 


you and me both. That that is the the number one thing that I love about the idea of space exploration is the development of new cultures and new stories and new mythologies, and just future history. And what people do like I just I love thinking about what are people going to do not not what are what are governments and corporations going to do? But just like people like what urban myths are going to exist on? What cuisine is going to exist on Mars. It’s all what dance is going like, 


yeah, if you’re living in 1/3 gravity, there are going to be different kinds of dance. Like I’m not just talking about different steps. I’m talking about different genres of dance that are not even possible on Earth. Yeah. And yeah, I 


think of once once we get to a city of a million people Think of what happens 400 years later, when they’re, you know, they’ve got a whole story around us, the people who were looking to even get there. Yeah. And you know, that’s hundreds of years in the future, there’s going to be mythology that is what history is. There, there’s going to be, you know, history, the way we look at it. Now, we hope that we have reliable narrators, when we’re talking about ancient history, and it doesn’t even have to be super anxious to talk, you know, Hamilton, the musical you have, there are different takes on all of these people, because who knows who the reliable narrator is. And now, because we have media, the way that it is, his machine and the and the machine of social social media as well, you’re going to have a lot more to dig through and a lot more to work with. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to still be mythology and still be people who float to the top of who, who do we care about when we tell these stories and people that get forgotten. 


And we’re sure George Washington was not as important to the American Revolution, as elementary school education would have you believe they sort of attribute everything to George Washington, whereas he was really just one guy. And it’ll be interesting to see as time goes on, if maybe like Neil Armstrong starts to become a bigger and bigger figure in the American space program, just in the way it’s told. Yeah.


So anyway, I again, I feel like it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be fun. And the the documentary side of this, I think we’ll talk more, 


we’ll try and talk more about the science next week. Because that is, that is the fun part of the documentary side and the science side are kind of are definitely the more fun part of this show. Yeah. So we’ll try and hit that more. But this is these are conversations, Alex and I can like we can just do whole 24 hour road trips talking about this stuff. Oh, yeah. So this gets into the detail of what we love. 


Yes. So next week, we’re going to be talking about episodes four through six of National Geographics Mars season one. So be sure in the meantime, be sure to check out our Patreon slash Edgeworks entertainment, where you can grab it, tons of cool extras and rewards for supporting us. And thank you to everybody who’s already doing so you really do make this kind of thing possible. You can also find merch and a bunch of other stuff on our website. Edgeworks entertainment calm, we’ve got terrigenesis merch, we’ve got Edgeworks merch, we got a whole bunch of really cool stuff 


working on new stuff. 


Yep, we’re working on some cool new stuff. And in the meantime, just be sure to subscribe for more episodes. And if you’re watching us on YouTube, be sure to hit the bell so you’re notified when we come up with new stuff. 


I’m going to leave you with perhaps my favorite quote from the show. 


Yeah. Are you ready? 


This is just something for you to mull and chew on for the next week. “Making humans interplanetary is just another engineering problem.” 


Excellent. See you next week. 


Bye, guys. 

Interstellar: SPAGHETIFICATION BABAAAYYY | The Synthesis

Lacey and Alex explore HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THE MOVIE INTERSTELLAR… or do they?!

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey, folks, this is Alexander Winn. 


Hey, I’m Lacey Hannan. 


And we are watching the latest episode of The Synthesis which started a couple of seconds. sooner than we thought it would. Welcome to the show. This week we are talking about Interstellar, the 2014 film by Chris Nolan. But before we get to that, we have a an exciting announcement, which is that all of you who have been watching the synthesis on YouTube, and especially who have been watching it on YouTube Live, you are going to have a new way to listen to the synthesis, which is that we are releasing it as a podcast. Starting to starting tonight, basically tomorrow, we will be releasing episodes of the synthesis three each week, as we catch back up to where we are now on iTunes and Spotify and all the places that you get your podcasts. So be sure to check it out. If you are listening to this as a podcast, know that we are talking to you from the past. And we hope that the future is working out well. like it did in interstellar. 


My my Notes app is just not killing it today. So we’re gonna see how this goes guys. I know I’m I’m killing it 


to do a bit of backstory for this particular movie, just so everybody knows the journey that we’ve been on. Lacey and I really wanted to see Interstellar in theaters when it when it came out. We were both really excited. And we kept deciding, oh, we’re gonna go this weekend, and then something would come up and then we’re gonna go next week, and then something would come up. And then finally it wasn’t in theaters anymore. And then it came out on, you know, iTunes and all that. And we were like, Oh, we should print that and 


and part of it was really like this. This really seems like a movie we should watch on like the big screen. Yeah. So like, we have to figure out how to watch it on a bigger screen than our TV at home. 


And I think they even like rereleased it in theaters a couple of times. We’re like, Oh, great. We can finally watch it on the big screen. And then we didn’t do that. And 


everybody’s like, you guys are gonna love this movie. Yeah. So this movie was super hyped for us. 


Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s been seven years. Wow. Yeah, that’s crazy. 


And then we started getting to a point where we didn’t really want to watch it because I’d been hyped. Yeah. And, you know, we’d seen some reviews. 


Yeah, yeah, there was there was a little bit of there was curiosity, but a little bit of fear, a little trepidation. The other thing to note, as we talk about this, of course, the synthesis is a show where we not only talk about entertainment, we talk about how scientifically accurate it is. And after we watched Interstellar, I was doing some research on some of the science. And I discovered that there’s a guy out there who was the scientific consultant on Interstellar, and who has subsequently written a book called The science of interstellar, in which he sort of justifies a lot of stuff that people a lot that people generally say was unscientific and explain some things they might not realize they’re scientific. And anyway, he has apparently responded to a lot of reviews about it, talking about the scientific accuracy. So if anybody finds our bodies, dead with a Nobel Prize sticking out of our corpse know that it was Kip Thorne, Caltech physicist and Interstellar consultant, who, by the way, three years after Interstellar, came out won a Nobel Prize, along with ranier, Vice or Weiss and Barry C. bearish and I love the name Barry c bearish for and I quote, decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. So rock on Kip Thorne, congratulations on your Nobel Prize, and I’m sorry if I say anything that makes you mad. 


I’m surprised that Interstellar had a consultant. So that’s where we’re starting from we we are going to do our best to not just hate on this movie. There. There are things that there there are things that I will point out some of the stuff that I loved, but it’s not the science, so buckle up. 


Yeah. If you’re watching this live, be sure to chime in in the comments and let us know Are you an interstellar super fan? Or do you think that Interstellar was super overrated? Have you not seen it? Where do you stand on Interstellar cars? Yeah, Lacey and I we had decisive opinions.


Wait before we do and I think that we would love to answer what do we think of JJ Abrams? But because this podcast this this episode could go so quickly down the we hate everything. Yeah, rabbit hole. We should not answer. That question. 


Yeah, I went on a bit of a rant yesterday during the terrigenesis q&a about JJ Abrams, which I assume is where this question is coming from. Because in an hour long q&a, I think I spent about 20 minutes of it just ranting about how much I hate JJ Abrams. So if that wasn’t where this question came from, then you are you are really on the ball. But yeah, 


I’ve worked with them. 


What’s not my favorite JJ Abrams? Yeah, Lacey Lacey worked with him as a as an actress. 


So that was my summer. No, it was fine. Yeah. 


Okay, let’s talk about Interstellar. Yes. Okay. So right off the top. I love I really thought that I was gonna love this movie, because I love how many questions that they just like they bring up for the audience. Okay, so we’ve got the some of these quotes. He was a farmer like everyone else. Excuse me what this is not this is not a job that most people do let alone everyone. 


Well, especially because he was a farmer, like everyone else back then, is the full line which is, which is sets up this interesting dichotomy because on the one hand, it this movie opens in a fairly, like, not quite apocalyptic, but sort of, like, bordering on post apocalyptic world, but at the same time, the first line of the film implies that things get better. Yeah, so we’re not actually supposed to think that the world is ending because clearly, this old person survived it and is speaking of it in the past tense, 


right? And like, he, he is he’s farming corn, like the rest of us. What does that mean? The the airforce drone, who just takes off after an Air Force drone like that to the point of ruining crops, and probably your truck, when we’re in a in a world that these are, your truck is going to be highly important. This is this is a valuable, valuable thing to own right. So I found, I felt like I found all of the questions to be fun and interesting, because in our world, if you were to attempt to take down an Airforce drone, the Air Force would come look for you. And so I’m sitting here going, what did they think they’re going to? He thinks he’s going to do something 


and hack it. And especially because of the Indian Air Force, it’s not even the American Air Force. This is clearly something that like they just the airspace is not particularly well patrolled. Right. 


So the fact that we’ve got all of these questions that are just, hey, here’s the thing about this world. I love being thrown into a world I think that is I think that’s one of my favorite things is when people are like, I will help you understand this. But you we’re going to drop you into the world page one. And there’s something about being wrapped up in it that is just really fun. And I don’t I have an escapist so like, give me give me the ability to escape. And this is one great way of doing it. And so I got really excited. Also, I want to know where the film was. Filmed. Yeah. Because it was beautiful. This is not this is not the the corn state that I am used to. Nebraska is flat and boring. Iowa somehow is greener, and so it’s a little less boring. I don’t know. There’s just like it’s you can love the prairie and I do and still think that every so often driving down I 80 through all of the cornfields it can get a little boring right but this was not the mountains of the background. Oh, stunning. Well, 


I mean the visuals in the whole movie are incredible. You know, the the cornfield is is gorgeous, but also is sort of the least of the gorgeous scenes. And it’s like you know, the the ice planet, presumably filmed in like Greenland or something was incredible. The probably the most famous image from this movie is the black hole, which was done using crazy scientific calculations to render what a black hole would actually look like. And it was gorgeous wormhole. 


The images of Saturn I think that was probably my favorite. I almost cried. Yeah, we went by Saturn because it was just stunning. Gorgeous. 


So you know, there, there are some things that I love, but they pretty much show up at the beginning, or they’re the imagery. So you know, there’s that I just from of film thing I am really sick of and I feel like sci fi does this a lot because a rival does it too. But Christopher Nolan did it in Dunkirk, which is the dialogue is so quiet and the action scenes are so loud Yeah. So you’re constantly playing with the remote trying to not like blow out your speakers. 


The audio compression is the I feel like people are sort of not doing audio compression anymore. Like a lot of movies these days, the the loud is really loud and the quiet is really quiet. And I guess it’s supposed to make it feel more epic and real, I guess. But it’s more intimate and the dialogue scenes but for me, I mean, I know that I don’t have perfect hearing, but I want to be able to hear the movie. Yeah. And I mean, I guess I I’ll turn on subtitles. But there’s a certain amount to which we did 


actually watching this movie, like two thirds of the way in, we finally were just like, I guess we just need to turn on subtitles because some of these scenes. Well, I understand that. But you know, we talked about Michael Cera being like the king of mumblecore. But I would like to nominate Matthew McConaughey because oh my god, speak up, enunciate. Like you’re an actor, we are taught how to do these things. And I get it. It’s supposed to be we’re not living in the time of Stanislavski we are living in a time of Hyper Realism in terms of acting and the stories that we tell and stuff like that. So but, you know, we’re also taught by our mothers to speak up. Unless it’s just my mom. I don’t know. But I there. So there were a couple of just like film problems. Script wise. I, I read I skipped the science part four now. 


Yeah, we’re gonna circle back around to the science later in the show. 


But I found that the dialogue was hybrid melodramatic. And I struggled with that because it was just felt unnecessary. That you know that. So we’re not going to do this in chronological order. There’s no point. that argument with Matt Damon, Dr. Ma’am, that his name. Come on. Like, I feel like that was. I don’t I’m trying to find the right word. It’s sort of too hard. 


They tried too hard. And it’s sort of the, you know, people make fun of movies in general, especially sort of spy films and superhero films for bad guys who monologue. And that’s what that was like. It was literally just the bad guy pontificating on his his worldview about instinct and survival ism. And it was practically a soliloquy. 


Like, it was. It was Matthew McConaughey. His character didn’t need to be there. And it just it felt it felt forced and I was not into it. And it’s that’s just one of many melodramatic moments.


I didn’t really know what to do with Anne Hathaway’s speech about how love is the only thing that can transcend time and space and that like we didn’t invent love, it must be an artifact of a higher dimension. 


I mean, I, I get that not everybody’s as into like neuro chemistry as I am. But no, we did invent love, like love is a thing that happens in the brain. It’s you can you can reproduce it chemically. It’s not the the artifact of a higher dimension. And the the one that really just lost me was when the computer tells him that’s not possible. And Cooper responds, no, it’s necessary. And I just wanted the computer to be like, I don’t think you know what possible, man, I don’t care if it’s necessary. That’s not the you you still can’t do it even if it’s necessary, right? 


Yeah, I just there, there were, you know, and there were these arguments that were so like about the poetry that it didn’t really feel like they ever got to their point in a way that made sense. I don’t know how many of you have seen the very old movie Adam’s Rib, which they should someday make a remake retitle it, it’s it’s a men versus women. 


battle of the sexes battle 


of the sexes. It’s a husband and wife were lawyers and are on opposite sides of the same case. And it’s fun. My biggest problem with it is the the woman’s arguments are not well executed. And I feel like this movie continually doesn’t execute its arguments. And I which means that, I guess what people are trying to say, and I think I’m right. But you could have done better, you know, and I just, I wanted it to be elevated and I didn’t feel like I felt like they tried to elevate it by making it. Like really hyper intellectual without actually when you’re when you’re doing that and not making your point. That then you’re you’re failing, and it’s okay. It’s frustrating, 


you know, it’s okay to just be poetic you know, the the thing of speech from Anne Hathaway about love being an artifact of a higher dimension, you didn’t need to frame it in the language of science, like just have have it be a speech about the power of love to motivate people that we are social animals. And love will always be the most powerful driving force in our behavior. That’s all you need. You don’t need to frame it in the language of quantum physics to make it profound. And I just I found that there were, there were a bunch of moments in this that, that they tried to draw profound meaning from things that didn’t mean that, you know, starting with, for example, there’s a very powerful scene very early in the film that used it in pretty much every trailer for this movie, where his daughter is sort of pouting and she asked, why did you name me after something bad and he said Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. It just means that whatever can happen will happen. That’s not what Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s law means. If something can go wrong, it will. You can’t change the meaning of a thing, and then draw a profound message from the meaning of that thing, like, make up a new phrase. Don’t make it Murphy’s Law. Yeah. 


I have to say, when it comes to the daughter, I loved all of the actresses who play the Dodgers. They’re incredible. I thought, so apparently, it was supposed to be a boy. Really? Yeah, the way that so Christopher Nolan’s brother, john, who has since passed away, he wrote it as, as a son. And when Nolan came in to direct it, which apparently wasn’t just a given, he changed it. Because his thought was, we’ve seen a lot of men and are like, fathers and the way they shaped their sons lives. But we don’t have a lot of fathers and daughters, and you expect to be protected, and then suddenly, they’re gone. And I had a little bit of a problem with that, quote, yeah, but you know, whatever. And so I, you know, I liked this, this relationship that they had built up. A, it’s interesting, especially when in in comparison to the brother and his relationship to his son. I did not grow up with any siblings in the household, and neither did he. So the concept of like, he’s playing favorites pretty, pretty heavily. Which, you know, it’s a movie, whatever. But I was really taken aback by that. And I, I, I had a moment of Oh, my God, like, I’ve heard of this happening, but like, does it really happen? Do people really do that? So, you know, I’m curious if anybody has, if anybody wants to tell me about their trauma, sorry. 


But well, I mean, all the performances in this movie were awesome. You know, the, of course, the scene. Almost all the performances in this movie, were awesome. Of course, the scene of Matthew McConaughey watching 23 years worth of his children’s lives, that is heartbreaking, heartbreaking and perfect. And he just nails it. In fact, I actually turned to Lacey afterward. And I said, I bet and I don’t I have no way of proving this. But my spidey sense tells me that that was the scene that this movie was based on that like somebody had an idea of this guy watching the home videos of the kids, he didn’t get to watch grow up. And they built a movie about that. 


And I would, I would have said that that has to be true, because it’s such an incredible scene, except for we learned that it’s the scientist. What’s his name? Kip Thorne. Kip Thorne, who pitched to the idea he was the one who had the idea first, so 


it’s not actually the case. But it really feels that way as it’s just sort of the emotional pivot point of the whole film. Matthew McConaughey does a great job. I mean, Jessica 

Chastain is great in this movie. Anne Hathaway like they’re all they do good jobs with their characters. 


I just just I don’t like a lot of their characters. I don’t think a lot of their characters are very well done. But I love the Poltergeist stuff. I love that this the daughter is like I have a poltergeist. I mean, I’ve had a poltergeist True story. Our producer knows she witnessed it. I’m not lying. Not terrifying. A little disconcerting. And it happened for I would, I would say, seven, eight years, something like that. So I was really into the idea that that we were going to have a little bit of not not like true sci fi, like horror, sci fi, but just to have a juxtaposition and they pretty quickly took that away. Yeah. Which is fine. You know, it’s fine. I will tell that story someday. Now, it’s not really time. Yeah, but one of the other things that I, I found, just like on a personal note, in watching this movie, it was so bizarre to watch this movie during the pandemic for the first time, because you see them putting on their masks and all of this stuff. And I know it’s because of the dust storms. But it’s a different cause a very familiar behavior. 


Yeah. And it felt really, like, weird. And I felt seen by a movie that was made in the past. And it just kind of, I don’t know, it made me really uncomfortable, but in kind of a fun way. And that’s nothing that the movie could have predicted, obviously. But just a matter of timing, 


I suppose. Well, you know, the Poltergeist, this is one of those things that again, I don’t like saying bad things about movies, I actually struggle with criticizing movies a lot. I like to like things and I don’t like talking people out of it. But like, one of the things that I was just left kind of shaking my head about is they established that she thinks she’s got a ghost. And, and the dad is just not believing it. Because you know, he’s a man of science and all that. And then there’s a gravitational anomaly in that room, that he gets really fascinated by and realizes that its coordinates and he follows those coordinates. And it turns out to be a real place. And so clearly, like, something’s up like there, there is a thing that is happening in that room, some kind of gravitational anomaly with an actual message that leads to an actual place, this is a real thing. And then he comes back, and she says, my culture, my Poulter goat. Poltergeist sent me another message, and he just like, rolls his eyes, and then moves on. And it’s like, what? Like, you already decoded the last message from this ghost, you don’t think that it’s possible that he sent a follow up? Like, how is that that just doesn’t track for me? Like, I want to know how a gravitational pull happens specifically in this room and not in the room below it. Yeah, it’s not that you know. 


I really struggled with a lot of that stuff. Like the the gravitational pull thing because what we get at the end is okay, are there two answers to what’s happening in her room? Is it is it that he is doing a bunch of the stuff he’s, he’s doing the books and whatnot. I guess he’s doing the dust as well. But it sounds like this has been going on for a while. And like other things have been falling off and breaking 


that’s actually an interesting point. He she specifically says this ghost has been happening for a little while at the beginning of the film, and the only things that we see him do in the film are the stuff that we saw on camera we didn’t see him create any effects that she was already he doesn’t do anything to the combines with the combine is common. Supposedly, it’s because of a gravitational pole.  


I guess maybe we’re supposed to assume that it’s, it’s the, the aliens the future humans, like sort of setting up this experiment that they they created the bridge, and so it created some weird stuff. And then he used the bridge to send a message. I don’t know. It’s not explained. 


It feels like we’re reaching. Yeah, yeah. I don’t know. There’s okay. 


I don’t know which one of these four I will say first of all, I do like that they they touched on some real honest to goodness, what we do today science, which we know about firsthand, the the GPS workings of a combine. We have a friend who is a farmer and Denmark and he is a he’s got like his master’s in agriculture, where we were high tech farmer. Yeah. And it’s incredible. We were down in New Zealand and he came down to work on some farms and look at management’s and all of that stuff. And one day he was showing us like how he could hop on to this software. And from 


space like he essentially he could see where these carbines were in Denmark, and he could plan a route for them, then, and he could base that on what he’s seeing from the satellite images, not just what he’s seeing. They had a system where you could tell the computer what is being grown, and the computer knows what shade of green, that plant is from space, and then it would map out the path of the machine to go through the field. And it could put different amounts of fertilizer in different portions of the field based on the green pattern, and where different plants needed different amounts of 


fertilizer and Do you see like a glimpse of that in this because they’re not manned. They, he says that he was able to, like reboot their all of their GPS systems and like, whatever, which is cool. So like, there was this moment of Oh, that exists in the world. And we don’t, you know, I don’t think you see as much of it, at least where I’m from in the US of unmanned combines, but, you know, they’re coming, you know, in 15 years, it’s gonna be 


Oh, that’s gonna just be the norm. Anybody actually in the combine is going to be like, quirky old. Yeah, guy hadn’t updated with the times. 


Doesn’t want to do it. But okay, I have to tell you something I’m really mad about. I know. There’s something every time But listen, you guys, how is it that in every, every fucking space movie, there’s a drowning scene? 


How was this possible? 


I don’t, I don’t, I don’t understand. And I would really like, I want to start calling it a cliche, so that people feel bad when they do it. In movies. I need to get this out there. 


That is just not a fan of drowning. 


I mean, who is 


i? i? 


I am terrified of drowning. Thus, the scuba certification, which I think we’ve talked about when we talked about gravity. I can’t handle it. And I’m, I’m done with it. So if anybody would like to be out there on Twitter with me, mocking the movies that come out with this. Let’s just say we could tag team maybe and just make people feel stupid for putting it in their movies. 


Yeah. No more sci fi movies with drowning? No, loud. 


Crystal Mighty No. 


Guys, I can’t I cannot. They did. Can I, I can I tell you they did something to me that flabbergasted me and I, you know, I kind of appreciate it. And I also totally love it. Which is for the first time ever. I understood the, the how anti science people feel. Like, actively and with great Nxd I had a reaction of like, you guys, oh, this none of the science is believable. So I think you’re full of bullshit. And I, I hate you. 


And to be clear, I think what what Lacey saying is, I don’t buy it. And therefore I think it’s objectively untrue. Yes, that’s, which is what anti vaxxers do. Like, it’s something you know, at a certain point, I don’t believe in ghosts. And therefore, I think your ghost sighting isn’t true. that’s reasonable. But there is a point at which it doesn’t matter. If you don’t find it believable. It might still be true, like vaccines don’t cause autism, right? climate change is real. These are things that are objectively true, they can be proven with evidence and the fact that you personally don’t believe it is irrelevant. But Lacey was saying after this movie, that was her sort of takeaway was a lot of the science in this movie. I don’t believe it. And therefore, I’m just assuming it’s not true. 


And and what I realized, what separates me from people that are anti science is, in the real world, people have built we have built up lots of trusts, the scientific community has, has done their due diligence to prove that they are not full of shit. Nolan did not do that. Yeah. And my, my trust wasn’t there. There was no reason to trust any of the science of this movie. And I am so I’m mad that I understood the anti science people for a brief second before I logic my way out of feeling like I’m a part of that group at all. Well, that is a perfect segue into talking about the science of the Martian. But first, I want to address a comment from one of our viewers, Rylan chimed in that there was no drowning in the Martian. And I just have to correct you there. Actually, there wasn’t in the film. But in the book of the Martian, there is actually a scene where he talks about making the bathtub and taking a bunch of Vicodin to help with his back and he had he expressed his worry that he might pass out in his bathtub and drown on Mars. So he says 


Mark Watney almost drowned space. 


He says, re to drowning. No drowning in the Martian. Okay. Yeah, maybe I misinterpreted if you were saying that. There is a drowning in the Martian then you you go for it. But yeah, this is the fourth thing that we’ve talked about on the synthesis. We did Apollo 13. We did gravity, we did the Martian, and now we’re doing Interstellar. And yeah, there actually is in the book of the Martian, a reference to the potential for drowning on Mars. So that’s three out of four so far. Please is not a fan. Not I can’t watch people. 


But that being said, so when it comes to I have one question for you. Yes. Be so This. This. This is I this is a big question, I think. Before you get into the science, okay, this is philosophy of humans. Okay. There’s this quote, now our brand at edge works is that we are explorers. And we think that it’s innate to, to the human experience. But there’s a quote, that is we’re explorers and pioneers, not caretakers. Cooper says that to his father in law, Father, father in law, whatever, in law, 


I think, when they’re sitting on the porch, I think it’s saying it to his father in law. What do you think of that? 


Yeah, I completely disagree. I think that a big part of the reason humans are explorers, is because we are caretakers, because we are always looking for ways to provide for our family, we, you know, when we say humans are explorers, we don’t just mean that guy wandered off into the forest and was never seen, again, what we mean is that guy wandered off into the forest, and then came back five years later, with all these stories and resources, and, you know, whatever it was that he went off to find, he found it and he brought it back, coming back is a necessary part of being an explorer. Otherwise, you’re just a wanderer. And to me, that is an act of caretaking, you’re bringing things back to society. You know, there’s another quote in interstellar that that dovetails with that nicely, which is, I think it’s Cooper is talking about how, you know, people are empathetic, but he says that empathy rarely extends beyond our line of sight, man, and I just thought, that is Yeah, was that man. So that is the absolute antithesis of the Martian, we actually talked about how the, the ending of the Martian the book, The final thing, on the last page of that book is about how people will come to each other’s aid, people have a natural instinct to look out for each other. And every human is at least a little bit invested in the well being of total strangers. And it’s this incredibly hopeful and optimistic statement about humanity. And I think, born out of objectively by human history, you know, people have looked out for strangers all the time, you can look up any number of stories about like, you know, Native Americans raising $1,000, to send to Ireland during the Irish potato famine, and like all these stories of people looking out for complete strangers. And so I found that, yeah, the the philosophy behind Interstellar was surprisingly cynical. It was like, and it doesn’t, it’s not. 


It’s not truthful to the story itself. Why does he do this? Why does he go into space? He’s not doing it for himself. He’s not doing it to sate his own curiosity. Right now he’s doing it because he wants better for his family. 


Yeah. And for everyone, like, clearly somebody who’s not just looking out for his family and looking out for the world, he keeps talking about how we have to go back and save everybody back on Earth. And that is being a caretaker. Yes, that’s what that is. 


Yeah. So I just, I needed to, I needed to hear you talk about it, but launch into the science. 


So on the science, you know, at edge works, and here at the synthesis, we have this interesting dichotomy where, or not even that interesting, we have what was previously a clear dichotomy between things that are scientifically accurate and things that are not. And obviously there’s a spectrum, you know, there are things that are kind of scientifically accurate, we talked about how on the Martian, it’s mostly scientifically accurate, but the dust storm at the beginning was not, but generally, if you pick out any one thing, it’ll fall somewhere on a spectrum of scientifically accurate or not, and man, Interstellar is kind of all over the place. Like it, this movie is often held up as a very grounded realistic take. It’s got a lot of things that it holds up as being very scientific. And of course, Kip Thorne, out there, Nobel Prize winning scientist, worked on the movie came up with part of the idea for the movie. There’s actually a funny story out there about how the, the image of the black hole in interstellar was the most accurate image that anyone had ever generated of a black hole. Because film studios have more money than universities. And so they were able to get like the computing power necessary to generate this incredibly realistic image that no university had ever had the resources to do. 

That’s awesome. You know, the images of Saturn were gorgeous. Like, there were so many things in this, apparently I don’t know, quantum physics and associated calculations, but apparently the image of the wormhole is pretty much exactly what a wormhole would look like. On the visual level. There are so many things about this movie that are dead on just perfect. And then they do this other stuff that’s just so out of left field wrong. Like, even Kip Thorne I did have to chuckle Kip Thorne. If you read interviews I’ve read like just today I read like eight interviews with Kip Thorne about Interstellar. And you can tell this guy has both professional and emotional investment in interstellar being scientifically accurate. And even Kip Thorne said that he cringes every time he sees the the spaceship brush up against a frozen cloud. 


You guys, you know what happens when water freezes in the sky? It snows. Like this is not an alien phenomenon. This is what happens when when ice forms in the sky. It falls down. Like how did you what is that seriously a thing that is in a in a movie that people are expected to watch and buy into? Like their things? It you keep going back and forth? Apparently so you know, giving credit where credit is due? There is actually the possibility of a planet orbiting so close to a black hole that one minute on. What is it one one minute on the on the nose? One hour on the planet is seven years back on Earth. Apparently, when the movie first came out, a lot of people came out and said, hey, that’s not possible that amount of time dilation is not possible. And Kip Thorne actually came back and said, yes, it is here’s the math, I did the math, and everybody kind of had to retract that. 

So when you read interviews about Interstellar, that is actually a thing you’ll see retractions about the fact that that planet couldn’t exist. But what that’s brushing past is, no one could stand on that planet. If you’re orbiting that close to a black hole, you would die so fast, you would be covered in so many x rays, and the amount of gravity that your body would be just absolutely torn apart. There’s actually, in the world of funny English words, there’s a word called spaghettification, which people talk about relevant to black holes. And what that is, the idea is that gravity gets weaker by distance, right, we all sort of intuitively know that the further you get away from a star, the less the stars, gravity is affecting you, right? Specifically, gravity grows weaker by the inverse square of distance. 

So what that means is that if you double the distance, the amount of gravity goes down to a quarter of what it would be, right? Now generally, that’s not a negligible, you know, amount of change, you know, the, the amount of distance between your feet and the sun and your head and the sun is point 0000000, on and on and on and on and on 1%, who cares. But the amount of gravity that’s put out by a black hole is so huge, that you actually get to a point where the amount of distance between your head and the black hole and your feet and the black hole is actually significant that your head is experiencing a lot more gravity than your feet. And what happens when your head is experiencing more gravity than your feet while your head starts to get pulled toward the black hole. But what happens when your head gets pulled toward the black hole, it’s now even closer to the black hole, which means even more gravity is being exerted on your head that isn’t being exerted on your feet. And so any object that gets within a certain range of a black hole starts to get stretched out. And they literally call it spaghettification because like Slender Man, they look like Slender Man. Yeah, like whatever the object is, you can literally imagine getting stretched out by the by the force of gravity. And of course, people don’t stretch real well. People are not very stretchy. And so what would actually happen is that you would just get ripped apart. That’s what would happen if you stand on this planet. If you go to a planet where the time dilation is so intense because you’re so close to a black hole, which is possible. Thank you for the Kip Thorne. You would die. So that is sort of the weird Lacey’s over here literally crying with laughter I think and how it worked up I’m getting 


No, it’s it’s combination of that and so flow totally seeing right through me. 


Ah, yes. soflo trash panda in the comment says I can see I love this nerd on Lacey’s face it yep, that’s, that’s what that look is. 


Yeah. And also I’m totally laughing at him. So it’s a combination of things, but that’s absolutely good. Get 


I just I found myself bouncing back and forth and having this really weird reaction to this movie because on the one hand, it presents itself as a peer of the Martian. Like, it presents itself as a very grounded, very realistic science fiction story. But then on a really regular basis, it’s throwing stuff at us that is sort of like, I could have told you, that’s not a thing in middle school. Like, that’s not how that works. Everybody knows that if you get close to a black hole, you die. And you know, those sorts of things. And so yeah, and so I was doing research into the scientific aspects. And I’m, I’m, I’m gonna rain in my rant here and address some of the more specific things. I recognize that I am deep nerd. And that is not a standard that I hold a lot of people. Like I recognize whenever I watch a sci fi movie that I am bringing more to it, than the filmmakers mean for me to Yes. And oftentimes, that’s fine. You know, when I watched Stargate, the science in Stargate is a joke. But that’s fine, because that’s not what they were going for. They were going for an epic adventure. And it’s fun, and it’s awesome. But this movie does seem to present itself as a scientifically grounded story. So for example, one of the first things that I bumped on in this movie is the blight. And this is actually an interesting choice. And I feel like part of it was minus understanding, or at least the misunderstanding of people who talked about this movie to me, because I had always been under the impression that Interstellar was set in a world in which climate change had ruined the world. And that’s actually not true. 

They don’t talk about climate change in this movie, the the the dire ecological straits that Earth is in has nothing to do with climate change, or carbon emissions are rising temperatures are rising sea levels, or any of that those things that we all sort of expect to lead to a world like this are pretty much absent. The reason that the world is like this is because of the blight. They don’t go into a lot of detail on what the blight is, but it seems to be some kind of infection or microbe, maybe some pest like a small insect or something like that. But whatever it is, it is systematically killing off entire species of crops. Wheat has been eradicated. okra has been eradicated. Now it’s coming for corn. I did have to sort of chuckle that wheat, okra and corn were the the three big crops that they held up and I don’t know maybe I’m weird for not thinking that okra, like sort of wheat and corn. I would have said peanuts. 


Yeah, something. Yeah. I mean, honestly, because like that’s a huge grab. 


Yeah, like beans or something. I didn’t realize that okra was sort of the linchpin of world hunger, but, but maybe it is maybe I’m just, maybe it’s not where I grew up. But the blight is actually the big bad of this film. It’s not anything that humans did to our world. The blight is specifically described as killing crops, but also, it breeds nitrogen. Michael Caine has this scene where he’s talking about how humans breathe oxygen, which is only 21% of Earth’s atmosphere. This is accurate. Nitrogen makes up almost 80% of Earth’s atmosphere again, accurate, and the blight breeds nitrogen. 




A lot of organisms do interact with nitrogen, and they they use nitrogen nitrates are important for plant life. nitrogen fixing into the soil is an important part of, you know, the lifecycle of many ecosystems. But I know enough chemistry to know that nitrogen is not nearly as reactive as oxygen, you can’t really breathe nitrogen for any useful any useful chemistry because oxygen has a lot of free electrons. Essentially, oxygen wants to bond with things and give away its electrons. Nitrogen is very stable. So the kind of chemistry that goes on in the lungs of any number of creatures on this planet. You can’t really do that with nitrogen. That’s the it’s not interchangeable with oxygen. This is an example of something that I don’t really blame the filmmakers for not integrating because who cares? it breeds nitrogen. Sure, it is a little weird that they tossed that in when they could have just had it be the blight is like a locust plague. Like why did it have to be breathing nitrogen? It seems like if you’re gonna throw in a scientific fact like that, then it should be right. And if it’s not right, then just don’t include that line. But whatever. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to me and like okay, braise nitrogen. So what the implication for Michael Caine’s character is that it is therefore somehow better suited to life on Earth than we are. So it’s going to breed, breed and breed and breed and And then Murphy’s generation, there’s not going to be any more oxygen left. Which again, 


I think it’s just that they’re not enough food basically says, stuff. Yeah, there’s a line where he says the first generation to start or the the, the first generation to starve is going to be the last generation. No, I had it backwards, the last generation to starve is going to be the first generation to suffocate. And that Murphy’s generation, there’s not going to be enough oxygen in the air for them to breathe, which again, I’m not sure how them breathing nitrogen means that we’re running out of oxygen, it seems like if they breathed the oxygen, it would be like if there was some crazy microbe that was using up all the oxygen and the plants couldn’t replace it fast enough, then that would lead to that problem. So that that was sort of the first thing that I bumped on was the nature of the blight. And then, you know, you get into these things around like, NASA is being hidden from the public, because they wouldn’t fund it, despite the fact that it is humanity’s only hope for saving the world. So it seems like everybody would want to fund it. And how do you fund multiple missions out to Saturn with astronauts and keep that seat? You know, it’s like line item budget in Congress $72 trillion for r&d? Like, that’s not really something. 


I do have to say that, that, that takes me back to that scene where the teacher is talking about how the Apollo missions were just propaganda. Yeah. And raise your hand if that was just horrifying. Yeah, like I that made my stomach turn so much to just, you know, to hear it with to hear it as something that is a that it’s this is true, and my lived experiences that that’s 


Yeah, it’s it’s it’s not just believed, it’s, you don’t believe that? Like, it’s, it’s a problem that his daughter doesn’t believe? Yeah, it’s so commonly accepted that anybody who doesn’t accept it is weird. 


And he just, it’s, it’s things like this that make you look back in history at our different misconceptions. The different beliefs that have cropped up over time that have been later quashed or whatnot, that it just kind of freaks you out this mindset that we can get into that. There’s a word for it when we all just kind of follow what’s not mass psychosis? 


Well, I’m sure someone will come up with it, but it’s just like, it’s a psychology term. And anyway, I love hated that. 


I did it. I mean, in a in a world of save the cat, which, for those of you who aren’t screenwriters, save the cat is a phrase about how to get the audience to align with your hero. You know, if you take a character, like, for example, Tony Stark, who’s kind of fundamentally unlikable, like he’s, he’s kind of a jerk and a womanizer, and not in any way, someone that you would actually approve of in real life. How do you make the audience get on his side? Well, you do what’s called saving the cat, which is that you show him doing something good, so that the audience can kind of pin everything on that. Yeah, in a save the cat way. That was probably the moment that I fell in love with Cooper was when he got super pissed off at her. And then she asked, how are you going to discipline your daughter? And his response was, I think I’m going to take her to a baseball game. Yes, that is good parenting. Yeah, that is excellent. Yeah, yeah. And so you know, for example, in this in this dichotomy that Interstellar strikes between scientifically realistic and not, you know, again, if you read interviews, if you read articles about Interstellar from 2014, when it was first coming out, apparently, a lot of people were still unfamiliar with the idea of gravity can slow down time. That was, that was an idea that I guess I’m just nerd enough not to realize that not everybody knew that. But yeah, the idea that you can get so close to a black hole, that times actually slows down. And so there’s this planet where time flows differently than it is back on Earth. That was like this revolutionary idea that a lot of people really responded to. And I, I love that, you know, like, that is exactly the kind of thing that we tried to do here at edge works is introducing people to scientific ideas. 


But if that’s true on the ground, it’s going to be true in orbit too. So like, how did they experience a couple hours, and then they go up to orbit and their buddy has experienced 23 years. It’s not just Earth, that experience point like that would make sense because they’re all near the black hole, but Earth isn’t. But they are literally in orbit. Like the atmosphere is like experiencing time differently than orbit did. And these are the things that I was just looking around going How is anybody describing this movie scientifically accurate, you can’t try You know, 10 miles up and suddenly experience a 60,000% increase in time dilation? Like that’s not, that’s not at all how this works. And, you know, yeah, I love that they introduced time dilation. But you would die on that planet. And and by the way, you wouldn’t be able to catch it. In order to experience that kind of time dilation, you would have to be so close to the black hole, that you’re that the planet would be orbiting, like a hummingbird, like it would just be around the around the black hole. 

And so that, which, frankly, would have made an amazing scene in this movie is how do we catch up to this planet, you know, like we’re coming up, the planet is just blurring past and they have to sort of slingshot around the black hole just to pick up enough speed to land on the planet at all. That would have been cool. And it would have solved several of the issues with the film. It was Yeah, it was just a very strange thing. Another perfectly good example is, I actually loved the representation of the inside of the black hole, and the way it represented time. So there’s a thing that you can look up that is, if you ever want to just bend your mind and really just kind of break your understanding of the universe. 

Look up what a Tesseract is. A Tesseract is a word that gets tossed around in science fiction a lot. It was used in the in the Marvel movies early on. But it is also a very specific thing. And that is if you go in dimensions, and by dimensions here, we’re not using the sci fi term of like parallel universes, like go into another dimension, we’re using it in the geometric turn, like the first dimension, second dimension, that’s a two dimensional image. So the first dimension would be a line. The second dimension is a flat plane. So you can imagine a shape in two dimensions would be like a square, right? And then the third dimension is height. So if you imagine a square on a piece of paper, now imagine it sort of turning into a hologram and it like the square rises up off the paper, and now it’s a cube, right? So you can say that a two dimensional square and a three dimensional cube are the same object in different dimensions.

Okay, right. Yep. If you take that one step further, a four dimensional cube is called a Tesseract. So it’s from square, two cube to Tesseract, those are all the same object in a different number of dimensions. And if you were to ask someone who does geometry for a living, the way they would define this is a square is a set of points where each one is at 90 degrees to the two adjacent, right. A cube is a set of points where each one is at 90 degrees to the three adjacent and three dimensions. A Tesseract is a shape, where each point is at right angles to four other points. You can look up images of tests or acts on the internet, and they will absolutely melt your brain. It’s crazy to look at these things. But the only time I’ve ever seen somebody represent something other than a cube as a Tesseract is Interstellar, the representation of that little girl’s room. In the third act of interstellar looks like a Tesseract, the way it sort of breaks out into these sort of infinite recursive representations of geometry. It’s this, it sort of reads as a cube. Despite having hallways going off in every direction. Your brain wants to say this is a box even though it’s clearly not like it looks like a Tesseract. It’s brilliant. It’s the coolest representation of four dimensional geometry I’ve ever seen. And the way they got there was Matthew McConaughey throwing himself into a black hole. We want not 


No no, not just throwing himself into he flew into it and then ejected himself. Yes, spaceships have rejection buttons, 


like they have ejector seats, like stepping aside from the black hole of it all. What is step two, on a spaceship with an ejector seat? Like if your spaceship is about to blow up, and you hit the ejector seat, and that thing flies off like a fighter pilot and you throws you up into space? Now what man you’re in space, like, you’re, nobody’s gonna come get you, especially if you’re flying away at 60 miles an hour or whatever that was like you would have been better off just blowing up with the ship. And so they fitted this thing with an ejector seat. Why? I don’t know. He flew around a black hole and didn’t get spaghettified Why? I don’t know. He also didn’t get fried by x rays. He also didn’t get burned up with all the ejecta that’s flying around the black hole and falling into it. He flies into the black hole. He’s perfectly fine. He finds himself in a representation of his daughter’s bedroom. And by the way, never questions it. Like there’s no point at which Cooper looks around and goes, What? This is so weird. Am I losing my mind? Am I dead? Doesn’t question things? Exactly. It’s bizarre. And it’s it’s this weirdly frustrating mix of really insightful visuals really beautiful representations of science paired with just what the hell kind of presentation of it. Can I 


tell you? is now a good time for me to tell them about some people’s beliefs about the ending? Feel free? Yeah, I mean, we can always come back to the science if I if I just want to rant some more. 


Listen, I’m not taking part in the science stuff, because I mostly wrote this is bullshit science 100 times next to these are not scientists, and these are not astronauts. So like, there’s just there’s not a lot. I wasn’t concise, because I was so upset. Yeah. But okay, so I did, I had to figure out the ending of this movie. I wasn’t wild about it. And I found some reviewers that posit. I’m not saying this is how you should interpret it. But this is how some people interpreted it. Because, you know, Christopher Nolan doesn’t necessarily insist that you take his work, literally. 


Yeah. He’s He’s a storyteller who enjoys differing interpretations of his work. 


Yeah. And, you know, one of the nice things is he’s he says during an interview with maybe The Daily Beast, that he doesn’t want to tell anybody his interpretation of it, because he doesn’t want that to be held up as like, essentially the be all end all 


be official story. Yeah. 


So what I that is a good thing I can say about Christopher Nolan. Okay, so some reviewers posit that Cooper actually dies after ejecting himself from his craft. And what happens? There are a couple of different versions, but I’ll give you the gist is that weird fight that happens between him and man that doesn’t feel like it belongs in this film. And the soliloquy, queer monologues that man does, about survival and how we we think of our children’s faces, you know, all of that stuff, and how our bodies instinctually Hang on, for as long as they can. For various rebond reasons, I guess. That’s what happens here. And so Cooper is ejected from his craft, he is we’re seeing the embodiment of this conversation. And, and he, his instincts take over, so he lasts a little bit longer. And either he dies, and then in the moment after death, he’s able to interact with this Tesseract or interact in some capacity to communicate with his daughter. Or he’s able to use this higher dimension because we’re told that the day the humans of the future have fifth dimensional beings, yes. 


And we cannot perceive that current living beings cannot perceive this dimension. So in his death throes, essentially he is able to access that because in death, time has no meaning. And it’s not really quantifiable. It stops being linear. So he is able to access that fifth dimension communicate with his daughter, right before dying. So right before or right after his his death. And people say because like, there’s no way that Anne Hathaway’s character is still alive. He’s told to go be with her, we see that, you know, there are these symbolism, these moments of symbolism that we see around his daughter, the baseball field right outside of her hospital door window, which is kind of weird. Anyway, so his body pushes him to survive just long enough so that this can all happen. And and you know, a lot of people really believe that this is actually the story. Yeah, yeah. Which, you know, I can’t really say one way or the other what I’d prefer because I mean, I guess everybody, every most people want a happy ending. I just wanted an ending that I found to make sense. And I and I’m not the only one who thinks that this movie doesn’t make sense because Jessica Chastain said, Yes. When I watched the film now, I still don’t understand everything in it, but the main Part of this film isn’t about science. It’s about love. You have to feel it. If you go into the movie, even though the scope is large with space travel, at its core, it’s a story about a father and a daughter. If you let that wash over you, that is enough. And I’m like, Speak for yourself, lady. Not enough for me. 


Yeah. And I mean, like, that part was good, you know, the part with the his connection to his daughter and his, his daughter growing up bitter and angry, and then ultimately, finding catharsis and then her and her relationship with her brother. And like, all of that stuff was good. I just have no idea why they felt the need to do half scientifically accurate. And well. And even on the human side, like, you know, there, there are a bunch of things that we haven’t gone into, because this isn’t going to turn into a three hour just sort of nitpick, but you know, things like, man, they’ve got some really bad psychological screening processes that this NASA facility like, they don’t know how to pick astronauts anymore, do they? They really, 


they stop. And he doesn’t need to be trained again. 

Yeah, exactly. Like, like, he just shows up. And they’re like, cool. We’re launching tomorrow. You don’t need training. And then there are several scenes in the movie where he’s like, interesting. What’s that? And he’s like, it’s the wormhole. We’re here to go through. And he’s like, what’s a wormhole? And it’s like, you didn’t read the training manual or something. 


There’s a moment where like, he’s mad at his daughter. He’s like, Don’t make me leave like this, because she doesn’t want to talk to him. And I’m like, dude, you don’t get to put this on her. You’re making the decision. Like, and I get why you’re making the decision. But this is not her fault. Yeah, you know, and I. Yeah. I just, I really tired of Chris Nolan. And his time obsession. 


It is it is an interesting thing. I every movie Chris Nolan makes is about time. And except for the Batman movies, even even though I mean, the second and third weren’t about time. But the first one was very noted for the fact that it had a nonlinear story structure. If you if you watch Batman Begins it kind of is about time. It’s about moments in Batman’s life that are parallel to happening sequentially in film order that we’re not sequential in, in story order. 


So he’s playing with the this, the storytelling in terms of time, but the theme is not. 


Yeah, the theme is not time he basically Batman Begins as the same as Dunkirk where it’s it’s a linear story, but it’s represented in a nonlinear way. So he still gets to play with time as a as a storyteller. But yeah, I mean, Dunkirk Tennant. Interstellar momento, Batman Begins, it’s like, time? Yeah, 


I am with Imani economist on this, I think that Alex, you have to produce the interstellar remake. 


I would love to produce the I mean, it’s gonna be different. But I mean, honestly, it might not even be that different. That’s, that’s the thing that I kept getting hooked on was that so many of the scientifically inaccurate things in this movie didn’t need to be like, you could have done this very easily. You know, like, why did they need to hit a frozen cloud? Just cut that line? That’s not you don’t need that. That’s fine, too. Why did blight need to breathe? nitrogen? It doesn’t need to. It’s just a crazy super past. You know, it’s it’s the the planetary version of antibiotic resistant bacteria sold done that is entirely plausible. And it carries exactly the same narrative, you know, storytelling potential as as this version 


when this remake happens, because obviously it just kind of past you now you deal with the science and I’m going to fix some of the some of the character stuff that I couldn’t handle. One of which, Well, okay, first, I will say, Doctor man crying into their arms when he comes out of his cryo, oh, my God, it was so lovely. 


This is what I’m talking about with like, even the characters that I didn’t like as characters, the performances were great. 


Yeah, well, and you know, that was very likely written into the script. So that was like, there were some great things. 


But like, also, 


Murph lights, her brother’s farm fields on fire, and then goes back into the house and like, and also is going to take his family, which is reasonable because his family is obviously being abused by him. And so I’m here for her like taking off with the family. But she hugs him when he comes back out and I’m like, dude, you are taking this man’s life away from him. You don’t get to hug him. Even if he’s in the wrong You don’t get to hug him and be this man is not gonna let you hook him. Yeah, he’s an abusive asshole. 


he’s a he’s an abusive asshole. You’re taking his family, you burned his crops, literally everything of value in his life. You’re taking away from And then you want to hug him because like, you realized your dad’s still alive as sort of. 


Yeah. And as if he’s gonna believe you. Yeah, I don’t know, there was just like that moment I was I gasped out loud. I was just like, How How did this get put into this film? It’s so it doesn’t make any sense. any sense. I think from any point of view to have that moment happen, it was just it was too weird. 


Well, listen, we’ve got a lot more thoughts that we could share. But I think we’ve we’ve made our thoughts known for the most part, and I do love to end on hope. I like to end on an upbeat. And so I adore the fact that our listeners right now in the chat are all starting to chime in. Let’s make it happen. Edge works remake of interstellar TV series Interstellar meets terrigenesis. When can we start talking Kickstarter? Yes. I love it. 


I think we are here for it. Yes. 


We will not use organ music or we will not use organ music. No. No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring it down. What’s one, what’s 


one more thing that we can say about it? A good thing. One. One more good thing that I will say about it is okay. I’ll say this, that it is one more thing, pushing forward. The value that we celebrate at the synthesis. It had a lot of flaws. It didn’t do all the science perfectly right. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of people saw this movie and walked away saying that was an excellent movie that used realistic science. Or so they thought and that is of value. Yes, people walked away from Interstellar saying more movies should have realistic science. You know, 


I think that is a great note to end on a good job for coming up with that I was drawing a huge blank. So well done, honey. 


Thank you. So yeah, that is it for this episode of The Synthesis. Be sure to tune in next week on YouTube live to watch us recording this live or if you’re I think we’re doing National Geographics. Mars, I think we’re doing the first three episodes of National Geographics Mars. So check it out. and tune in next week for the live taping on YouTube Live. Otherwise, you can check it out on our YouTube channel. slash edge works entertainment. Be sure to subscribe and hit the bell and leave us some comments. We are lacking in the engagement. So share it if you would like it. Comment it tell us why you think we’re wrong about Interstellar. Tell us why you write about Interstellar. However you feel that understand. 


Tell us where Right. I mean, obviously, it’s obviously better if if you need to tell us we’re wrong. I suppose we can handle that. 


I guess the best way to put it is if you feel like being wrong. Tell us why we’re wrong. 


But just a gauge. 


That’s all we’re asking. And if you like to listen to podcasts on iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts, check out the synthesis by antworks Entertainment and be sure to leave a review because we want to get it out as good as we can as fast as we can. 


That would be fabulous. Thank you, you guys. 


Yes, thank you for watching and we will see you next week. Bye. 


Strapped to a couch barreling through space. Honestly, what could POSSIBLY go wrong? We dissect the nuance of The Martian and look back at 18 months of living on Mars…

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey, folks, this is Alexander Winn and Lacey Hannan and we are here with the latest episode of the synthesis, a show where we check out scientific and historical accuracy in film and television. 


We are excited to get through more of the Martian. Yes, I think this time, we won’t promise to get to the end, 


we won’t because we thought we were going to do the whole movie in one episode. And we did a third of it. Yeah, we’re here to do probably the next third. But who knows? We can aim for the finish line, and then maybe just walk it in? 


Yeah. Well, we’ll retro actively be like, see, we knew it would take that long. of Yeah, there we go. It’s gonna be like me in high school when I decided to take up track again, but in my senior year, and I was barely making it to the finish line. Yeah, it’s gonna be nice. It’ll be it’ll, I will have there will be a nostalgia factor for me. Yes. 


So don’t remember where we were, though. Yeah. 


So we were picking up with hexadecimals. They’ve gotten the they’ve gotten the Pathfinder, working a beautiful Pathfinder moment. And loved it, he gets it back to the hab. And they’re able to connect and yes, are you reading me? Yes. Now point the camera at Yes, he freaks out. And now, as Tim very pointedly says, they’re not really going to be able to have a conversation. And so Mark starts wondering, okay, how can we actually do this, he realizes that 26 letters plus a question card around a circle is, he’s not going to be able to tell what the camera is aimed at. So he comes up with hexadecimals. Right, this is, this is one of those things that is interesting, because I feel like either the making water sequence or the hexadecimal sequence in the Martian is probably the most famous thing from the Martian. But there’s an interesting little thing about this scene in the movie, which is that this is really the only time that we see mark, figuring something out. This is one of the big differences between the book and the movie is in the book. It’s all about sort of doing the math and figuring it out and approaching the solution and kind of talking your way, or approaching the problem and sort of talking your way toward a solution. And that’s not something that really makes it into the movie. You know, in the movie, he mostly has a solution. And then he sits down in front of the GoPro and says, This is what I’m going to do, or sometimes even just, this is what I’ve already done. And this is the one scene where we actually see him chewing on a potato going, what am I going to do? And he goes hexadecimals, and you see the moment of realization. 


And then we get to see him going through Johansen stuff, as he’s looking for, because she’s a big ol nerd, yet his opinion, 


big, big nerd. And, of course, she’ll 


have a hexadecimal table or whatever. Yeah. So 


I like to know, is that a thing that people have? Like I, I’m a I’m a computer developer, but I don’t have a hexadecimal table and a printed out book that seems I don’t know, maybe. I mean, I guess it makes sense that if you if you do like deep code, kind of operating system level stuff, then maybe you would need it on a physical book, because by definition, your computer isn’t working. But yeah, 


yeah, I. So my uncle is a rocket scientist. And he does project management for various experiments. And he goes to these like science conferences, and my mom went to one or something with him once. And she brought back this weird little booklet of just like, deep, deep equations for random stuff. And she’s like, Alex needs this. And it was like, I’m telling you guys, it was some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen about like lasers. And it was just like, all over the place. But apparently, some people need this. And according to my mother, Alex did, I’m not entirely sure why. So I don’t need a 


big book of equations. I mean, come on. 


You have never opened it once and I have opened it multiple times, then I guess you need a big book of equations. 


Anyway, what I’m saying is, I suppose that there are some people out there that would do this. Yeah, that’s fair. Okay. Anyway, I did enjoy the hexadecimal portion. And I like the sped up, like slash time lapse. 


Yeah, whatever it was that they were doing with that. Yeah, watching them sort of build the setup necessary, because that’s actually something that they don’t really talk about in the book is, you know, Mark has his Pathfinder with a bunch of signs around the around the circumference, but they build one on earth to because they need to be able to like, practice, like they need to make the message and figure out what sequence they’re going to send to him to make it to make it work. So it was fun watching them sort of build dummy version and then he’s building the real version. And then he, they pretty quickly go to hacking the rover, which is smart, because watching him watch the thing go round and round is pretty tedious. And so pretty quickly we get to Hey, now I can hack the rover’s operating system and connected to Pathfinder. And now I can just type like a text message. And I have to say Mark’s reaction to getting Vincent’s first message is pretty sweet. He he has a whole sort of he starts to cry and all this and it’s just, you know, Hey, are you reading me or something? And it’s, it’s pretty poignant. 


And then we also have the he asks about, how is the crew doing? Like, yeah, having left me behind? and Vincent has to figure out what to say. And I love that his What the fuck reaction is silenced by the camera because he because he’s in the rover, and the camera is outside of it. So the camera is in a vacuum. Yeah, essentially or near. And so it’s completely silence and you just see him and his reaction just like swearing up a storm. Yeah.   


And I love that. Like, then we cut back to Earth. And we have Mitch, who’s laughing at Mark’s anger because he’s a Greek too. Yeah. Like, 


this is vindication. Yeah, exactly. 


So that was a nice moment of, because it’s always been cat and Mark talking. It’s not really, Mitch and Mark, which actually, I had never considered this in the book. But that’s actually surprising. Seeing as Mitch is the the commander of this mission, right? 


Yeah. Well, I forget what his specific title is. But he’s in charge of this. Yeah. 


Yeah. I mean, Louis is in charge on the ship. But as far as I’m aware, Mitch is in charge. Yeah. So it’s, it’s a little bit odd. And I’m surprised now that I think about not that I not that I mind too much. But maybe, maybe Mitch has other things he has to continue doing. I don’t know. But one of the things that I love about Sean Bean being met is he’s really good at being emotional and subtle. Yes. You know, nothing he does is ever too big. And 


which is funny, because he plays a lot of larger than life characters. It’s not really something I feel like if you said to the average person, Sean Bean is a is a very subtle actor. I feel like you’d have to kind of sell them on that idea. Yeah, because he plays a lot of sort of characters like boromir and Lord of the Rings and right. And yeah, even boromir there’s a lot of subtlety there. You know, like that, that character is very nuanced for for being essentially sort of a meathead. Yeah, he’s got a lot going on. 

07:53 I mean, I think that you could say between this and Game of Thrones, he’s got, yeah, that the subtlety is on on it, 


for sure. His side? Yeah. But 


yeah, so I thoroughly enjoy Sean being in this moment. I think there are some other places where you and I have kind of disagreed, yeah, on the Mitch stuff in this movie. But here, I’m all about it. A change that we get from the book, or I think, are the data dumps. So, you know, they, when the whole crew was together, they’d get emails and you know, those sorts of data dumps from their families or whoever. And we don’t see that happen in the book, when he gets into communication with Earth again, but we know that it happens here, because a, he says it. And then he gives us an example. Because the University of Chicago says he has colonized Mars, he’s not the one to thought of it. 


Yeah. Yeah, I think in the book he mentions, once he’s in contact that, like he got a letter from the president and that sort of thing. But they don’t make as big a deal of it. 


Well, and I guess to me, the reason why it’s significant is because, of course, you get a letter from the president. Yeah, you are stuck on Mars, they are going to make that happen. The President requests being able to write to Mark Watney on Mars, he just can’t, he just can’t. 


And also one of the perks of being president. 


Yeah. And also like, let’s be honest, he’s gonna he, of course, wants to be one of the first people to write a letter to Mars, like, come on. But this is different, because it kind of changes some things you would have, you know, if you have like the University of Chicago, being able to reach him, and if you have various groups being able to reach him and his parents and all of this, I think that really changes the mentality of the character who’s there. Yeah. And it is also going to change what’s happening back on Earth because they’re going to have there’s going to be more conversation. What did they call it? They they had the Mark Watney whopping report the Watney report. And on that they’re gonna say, Oh, you know, we found out that someone so sent him an email about this or whatever. Yeah. And there’s, I think it’s really important that this, this is really important change, because it would change his experience there. And we don’t see a change in his experience between the book and the movie. So I feel like that the psychology is off. Yeah. And I’m surprised by that. Interesting. 


Yeah, that’s an interesting deduction. 


So I’m here to help, guys. 


So next up, we cut back to the Hermes. Which, unless you have something else that you want to 


know, no, I have no, you’re good. 


Suspicious way, 


the note, where are you? Alright, 


so we come back to the Hermes. And you guys, the Hermes is such an incredible ship like that. The design of the Hermes in the movie, I could just go on, like I could spend all day, this whole episode just talking about the Hermes and all the little nuances of how it was designed. There’s, it is, by the way, very different from Andy weirs concept of the Hermes. Really, yeah, and he wears concept of the Hermes is a lot simpler. And I get the sense a lot smaller. His Hermes is sort of teardrop shaped, it’s sort of if you, if you picture sort of the stereotypical space capsule from from, you know, the 60s and 70s sort of looks like a cone with a rounded bottom. My understanding is that Andy Weir’s vision of the Hermes looked like a really big version of that. And so it would spin. And so if you go to the wider end, the spin is creating gravity. But if you go to the narrower end, it’s not. And that’s why they talk about the Hermes, keeping its arrow breaking shape, because it uses its body to break against the atmosphere to slow down. Which, if you use the Hermes from the movie, that would just start ripping pieces off like that, that would look like the last scene of gravity when the when the space station is coming into the atmosphere, and it’s just ripping apart because that’s not an arrow breaking shape. That being said, it’s so cool. It’s like the ultimate manifestation of the International Space Station sort of School of Design. And there are a few instances of ships like this. There’s the Hermes from the Martian. There’s the entire is from defying gravity. There are a few instances of sci fi spaceships built in that kind of International Space Station School of Design, and I just love them always. Okay, 


so my question is, and this goes for everybody out there. I want to know your favorite sci fi ship. I’m like, that is a path that leads to madness. 


No. Well, okay, here, I’ll give you a couple of things to help you with us. Remove the crew from it. So like, 


okay, so it’s not that you love the people from Firefly, it’s that you love the serenity itself? 


Yes, I that’s that’s exactly what I was gonna use. The serenity is not the most beautiful ship you love the crew? Come on. Yeah. And they love serenity. So we love serenity. You know, it doesn’t like, but it could still be the serenity. I don’t, I don’t care what you pick. I’m just curious what it is, honestly, the 


enterprise is it? I mean, it’s sort of, it’s hard to compare. ships have different levels of capability, you know, like, you know, using using serenity, for example, it’s hard to compare serenity to the USS Enterprise, because the USS Enterprise can do so much more. 


That’s not true. But 


I tell you, it’s not true. Because people can pick their favorite cars and their car, their favorite cars could be, you know, something that’s like a muscle car versus a military car or something that’s 


like, a Miata. You know, that’s kind of what I mean is like all cars fundamentally do the same thing. This is more like saying what’s your favorite vehicle and having to compare a Corvette so asking the question, 


I’m not I don’t know, I don’t have a problem if you’d let me finish. Okay. But it’s it’s a little bit hard to compare because there are such big differences in capability but honestly, if we’re just going off of sort of the design of the ship itself, just the the aesthetics I think it might be the Hermes for me, I think is literally my favorite spaceship in terms of just to look at 


interesting Oh, 


okay. I I actually have to think on it. Yeah, cuz I’m not sure 


yeah, I mean, there are so you know, like I love the Normandy for Mass Effect. I love the enterprise like you know, the enterprise I mean, so many enterprises, but the enterprise D and E especially. 


Deep nerd over here. 


Yeah, it’s not even deep nerd. It’s just did you like the the Kirk enterprise or the Picard and bribes or whatever. But yeah, I might be the Hermes I just I love that. I love that realism. I love that scientific like this looks like a thing that could actually exist. This looks like real scientists put work into it. 


I a little surprised that you didn’t say something from 


the expanse. 


You know, that’s the thing about the expanse is, to me. Almost all the ships from the expanse fall into that category of what you were talking about with serenity, where it’s like, they’re not cool to look at. That’s kind of the point is that they’re not cool to look at. They’re purely functional. No, 


I mean, I would still say what’s the the Medina you can still count? Because that was meant to be a generational ship. Right. So that counts, and then you get Mao’s ship at one point. And mouse ship was pretty awesome talking about the Razorback. No, no, not not the Razorback, the like his 


Oh, his personal was the one that we know for him and or Bobby and sarala fighting on. So 


imana economist has weighed in and said maybe the Orville, that’s a good one is a really good design. 


Yeah. Remember it as well as I feel like I should. 


Yeah, it’s sort of like you took the saucer section of the USS Voyager and then strapped a couple of sort of rings to the back. It’s a it’s an interesting, yeah, 


that is a good one. I feel like I should know that one. Just because I’ve auditioned for that show. A handful of times like, Yeah, but no, no, I don’t remember it. 


If you are watching live on youtube live way in in the comments and let us know what your favorite spaceship is. If you are listening after the fact then go straight to the comment. Yeah, 


feel free to leave us a comment elsewhere. Yeah, exactly. Okay. 


So we can move. Yeah, 


I just I just needed. I just needed to know. 


Yes. Absolutely. So yeah, I I love, really. So I wrote this down as the earth gang in my notes, and I legitimately can’t remember if that’s a game that is currently on Earth, like Annie and Mitch and all them. Or if this is the area’s three crew.  


Sorry, I swallow down the rock. 


Lacey Lacey forgot how to breathe. 


Sorry, guys. You’re all good. 


But really both the the NASA crew and also the area three crew. I just I love their camaraderie they did the actors, and the writers do a really good job of seeming like people who have worked together for years. You know, like, yes, the line is from the book when Annie asks them to get a photo of mark with it without his helmet. And van cat says, Well, if he takes off his helmet, he’ll die. That’s a good line in the book, but in the movie, the way that Kristen Wiig and Churchill edge for deliver those lines, it’s not just a funny line, it’s giving your coworker a hard time who you’ve known for a long time, like I don’t know what it is, there’s something in the way he delivers it, that he’s, well, I could ask him to take his helmet off, but then he, you know, die. And then a couple of people laugh in the background. And it just you can you get the sense that they give each other help, they want these to do it. One 


of the nice things about seeing something on screen versus reading the book is that all of these actors are going to bring that to their performance, the history of good actors anyway, bring history to their characters, right. And we kind of forget about that in our imagination, we we we recognize that people have known each other for a really long time. But oftentimes, when you’re writing a work scene, it doesn’t. It doesn’t come across as much as maybe you want it to, because you’d have to write every single detail to get all of that. And an actor is just going to bring that and otherwise, it’s between you and the author to try and do that. So it is they did a really, really nice job. 


Yeah. And unrelated details, especially like, you know, when you’re reading a book, you you visualize plenty of details, but it’s always sort of relevant to what’s happening. Whereas One of the nice things about actors is that they can put some thought into, like, Did this character get enough sleep last night or you know, these sort of random things that happen in real life that add nuance that aren’t relevant to the story, but they just make it a little, you know, more interesting, and that’s everybody in this movie is just so good. 


So I think this is the same part where we see Teddy stressing about the margin of getting there on Sol 868. And the potatoes only last to Sol 912. And he doesn’t like that margin. And then we immediately jump back to Mars. And, like, first thing, 


the hat blows up, 


the crops are dead. 


Yeah, so, which is like, this is one of those things, you know, I love the Martian the book, but there’s some things that movies just do better than books. And one of them is the explosion. Cuz Whoa, I don’t know, if I remember correctly in the book, we don’t even witness it. We just pick up with, hey, this just happened and he’s just telling us about it. But man watching him walk into the airlock and everything’s just fine. And then he presses a button and all of a sudden, warning klaxons starts going off and the canvas rips. And then the whole thing just gets launched through the air. And you’re watching him bounce around on the inside. We get it. And 


yeah, because he’s, you know, is that one of the exposition moments where it’s I believe Mars’s perspective. Yeah, yeah. But oh, 


we get we get a complete change on how this gets handled. Yeah, because he doesn’t do the smoke thing to find the the rip in or the the tear in the air lock. 


We there isn’t one there is just one. He just fixes his suit and he’s got his suit is the only thing that’s losing air. And we don’t see him trying to figure out okay, how am I going to get back to the hab and doing the whole, like throwing himself against the air lock? Because he knows he only has so much time because of oxygen. Right. And so we miss a lot of that, and I totally get not doing the smoke thing. That takes a lot of time. But the the duct tape I felt like didn’t have quite they they did manage to have the tension pretty high, because you have the alarms and all of that going off. But again, we missed seeing him figure out a solution. 


Yeah. And that’s again, it’s just a little bit frustrating. Especially because it affects his physical capabilities for a little while. Yeah, you know, he has to, he hurts himself. And, and he wasn’t super hurt in the explosion itself, right. And it’s really getting the airlock back to the hab. Because if you remember in the book, he throws himself against the airlock and essentially rolls it back to the hab, which is a big deal. Anyway, so that was it was different. It wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t as interesting to me. 


It’s understandable, but a little less cool. Yeah. I will say though, that seeing the dead potato plants is it’s it’s post apocalyptic. Like the way that scene is filmed. It really looks like the end of the world. And I love that because it is like this is everything he’s been working toward. 


And we get to see the the frost slash snow. Yeah. And it’s kind of hard to imagine it there. Especially inside. And the way that they showed that it was such It was a beautiful, heartbreaking image. I teared up for who were I Go figure. But 


he does get into the rover. And this was the moment where I realized a very important design change, which doesn’t end up having a huge impact on the rest of the movie because they cut out certain scenes from the book. But the rover has no airlock he would not have been able to do the things that he did in the book. Because in the book, The rover has an airlock so he can, you know, be in the rover, fully pressurized. And then like, you know, sort of keep the rover pressurized when he steps out in the movie. There’s just a door. So if you step out you have to depressurize the interior of the rover. Yeah, so that is one of those things that is sort of small but important. 


We also get that he I think it’s about this time in the book that he loses contact with Mars like he Yeah, occasion. And we that never happens. Which again to me, they’ve lowered the stakes of the movie, they found other ways to keep the stakes high. But to me, there’s they’re not as high as the book. Because we’re not having to see him panic ever. Because if you remember him trying to figure out how to get from the airlock to the hab includes like, Okay, I have to get under this canvas. And I’m only doing things with one hand because I’ve messed with the arm of this suit, if I remember correctly, and we had one arm. Yeah, he had a he had a head he’s it closed. 


Yeah, that’s right. And so like there are all of these little things that because you’re not seeing him come up with solutions, or, you know, in a state of like high, high stress. It changes the emotional state of the movie. Yeah. And I found that disappointing. They still did. Good job in a lot of ways, getting around some of this because otherwise it would be a four and a half hour movie. Yeah, at least, at least. But one of those is that he can always talk. Earth. Yeah, 


he never. And this is actually, you know, we talked last week we talked about how they kept the moment where he blew himself up, even though they removed the reason why he blew himself up. And there’s actually another one of those moments coming up, where he, he says a line that doesn’t make sense, because he’s still in contact with Earth. Like, the only reason that that made sense is because he wasn’t in contact with Earth anymore. 


So it was, yeah, it’s about the pirate. It’s about the space pirate. Oh, right. Right. Right. In a bit. Yeah, really, I hadn’t thought about in these terms. But but based on what you were just saying, I think a decent way to describe the movie of the Martian is, it’s the exact same story as the book, if things had been a little easier. You know, if it had just not been quite so hard, if there, if a few more things had just gone well, instead of accidents happening, and you know, that sort of stuff, then it would be the movie. Yeah, it’s just, I, 


we get to see Martinez and Juan Watney talk. 


Yeah. Just before, before we move on to that, I did love the fact that we got Mark breaking, when the crops are dead, he goes into the rover, and he starts to write a message. And Matt Damon’s performance is so great, because you can tell that he’s trying not to lose control. And that is something that a lot of actors sort of can’t do, or maybe don’t think to do is the I’m feeling one thing, but I’m fighting it, but I’m trying not to, and especially when they’re alone, you know, it’s one thing to sort of be keeping a secret from a person you’re talking to. But when you’re alone in a room, and he’s trying to keep it together, and he’s, he, he like, reaches for the keyboard and and stops himself. And he thinks for a minute, and composes himself. And then he reaches for the keyboard again, and he just breaks and all of a sudden, he’s like slamming his hand against the ceiling of the rover and screaming and crying. And it’s just because you’re trying to trick yourself into believing that you can manage without the emotional break. Yeah. But oftentimes, the only way that you can manage is to have the emotional break. And that is one of the changes that we see between the characters of the book and the movie, which is that Mark Watney in the book, cries, and he is he did, we talked about the lack of toxic masculinity now that he has, and I’m not saying that trying not to cry as toxic masculinity. I’m just saying that there’s a difference in his emotional, his his willingness to have a larger emotional capacity. 


Well, and again, his his reasons to because as we’ve established, the movie is sort of playing on easy mode. And so a lot of the things that would cause him to break he just doesn’t, you know, like you were saying he doesn’t hurt his back. And so we don’t see him sort of nursing an injury and taking care of himself because he doesn’t have to, 


we don’t see him getting excited about a bath. 


I know, right? I imagine there are a lot of women in the audience who would have loved to see Matt Damon get really excited about having a bat depends on how skinny he is. 


Yeah, earlier in the movie is better than later. Yeah. One more thing before we get to Martinez note, which is I can’t get enough of long suffering bruising, long suffering. Bruce is like every scene in which they cut to Bruce, and they’re like, Hey, we need you to do this in like three hours. And he’s like, that normally takes 10 years. And they’re like, Yeah, but we need it in three hours. And he’s like, uh, you just like, I picture my mental image of Bruce just always has Pepto bismol in his hand. Like, he’s just, he’s just all the time got an ulcer. And he’s just, I love him in the book. And I love him even more in the movie. He’s love that actor too, because the actor is and Dr. Strange, Dr. Strange and he’s such a delightful character. 


I mean, in Doctor Strange, he’s also kind of long suffering. I think that might be that actors kind of stick. Yeah, but it’s definitely it’s so good at just that. Yes, I’ll get it done. But I’m not happy about it. 


Sorry, guy, like his family life is probably falling apart. 


But he’s, but he’s saved Mark Watney. Yeah. So So Martinez, 


well, yeah, we have that. And, you know, we don’t again, we don’t see it at the book them actually communicating. And this is they’re getting to talk to each other. And you know that it’s exactly what what you needed. Yeah. He’s just being ribbed giving him a hard time and it’s, it’s one of those things that you like Love about your best friend, because your best friend is always like, really knows how to talk to you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I enjoyed that there’s, 


there’s always when you get that character connection, it’s like the full relationship. And such a brief Santa, it’s always so lovely. And they did a great job here. And in that same vein, again, this is just sort of the the loving on the cast of The Martian our, but every one of these actors is so good. And the director is so good that in that moment, where Martinez is writing to mark, and fundamentally what you’re getting is revelations about mostly Martinez character and a little bit about marks because they’re good friends, you also get a little bit of character from Louis, because as Martinez is writing, and he says, I drew the short straw, so I have to write to you. There’s a shot where it cuts to Louis, and she’s like, leaning over watching him type. And she gets this like, semi scandalized. Look, where she’s just like, I can’t believe you just said that like, and it’s just a great little extra bit of character. You know, it’s not just Martinez, as seen lewis is there and she’s played by an incredible actress, and we get a little bit of Louis’s personality, the basics, the basics of acting, are, well, 


here’s here’s the foundation, acting is reacting. We all learn it in college. And but they’re not wrong. Yeah. Like, it’s that moment that you’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s totally true. Yeah. 


Well, it did. By the way, we have been doing the Martian, starring Mark Watney, for, like 95 years now. And I have a note here, that it took me this long to realize that there is only one letter difference between mark and Mars. This is this is how long it took me to realize that mark and Mars are so similar. 


Okay. Wow. Good note, Alex. 


I know right? 


I have to say that, at around this point, we get the the sound of the air lock fix, because he duct tapes, 


air lock close listening to the storm and 


listening and that storm comes 




Yeah, this is this is another storm that is stronger than any storm on Mars could possibly be. And, you know, we just sort of look past that this is a show about scientific accuracy. But there’s also room for poetry. And yes, we need the moment of him, not 100% sure that his fix is gonna hold on. 


Not only that, but you think of that sound of that thin, thin plastic. And that tape being the only thing that is keeping the outside outside. And the sound that that plastic makes in the wind would have would be devastating for your mental health. Yeah. And that’s not something that you can keep in your head as you’re reading a book, right? Like you don’t, you’re not going to go find that sound effect and just play it on loop. But your brains not going to do it either. You know, and I there’s something about it. That’s, 


and because of the format of the book, where everything we’re reading mark is specifically choosing to tell us, it sort of filters out certain moments that he would have experienced that we get in the movie because we’re just sort of the omnipotent audience watching him and man watching him, ah, just sort of shouting in kind of primal, primate uncomfort discomfort, as that thing ripples is very powerful. Yeah. He also at this point, takes all the dead plants out. And there’s a shot of piles and piles and piles of dead potato plants, which is heartbreaking. But it also occurred to me, the terraforming of Mars has begun. Now there is officially biomass out on the surface of Mars. And I bet that at least one bacterium survived. And is is able to live in those conditions. This is even says in the book that some of the bacteria would have survived. Exactly. And so you know, thinking back to the Mars trilogy, which I absolutely adore, there’s a moment where and who is the the, the read the question, the one who, who wants to keep Mars pure and sterile. She gets so upset because they’ve released microbes onto the surface, and now there’s no stopping them. There’s no getting them back. Those are going to be on the surface and they’re going to spread and they’re going to infect everything, and we will never have a Martian surface without them anymore. And I have a feeling that happened during the Martian, you know, people are gonna look back hundreds, even hundreds of years later and think oh, At this layer in the soil samples on Mars, there’s a row of bacteria that we dated back to the potato plants that Mark Watney grew. 


Oh, interesting. I hadn’t really considered that. So this is the beginning of the terraforming of Mars. Yeah, 


this is there is life on Mars now because these tiny little bacteria that you just know that they’re gonna find a way, right? Yeah. So interesting. funny little thing. Well, we head back to Earth for rich Purcell. Rich Brunel. Oh, excuse me, my autocorrect. Jerk. It’s played by Donald Glover. 


Yes, this is this is Troy doing an op ed in person. 


Do I love community or what? 


I know, right. 


Donald Glover also can do no wrong. Yeah. So I think they did a great job of casting, I cannot get over the casting of this movie 


seriously. He is arguably, the I would argue that rich Brunel might be the biggest change in how a character is depicted in the movie because I don’t remember him having any of this kind of slightly Asperger’s or some kind of, like, the character in the movie clearly isn’t 100% neurotypical he’s, he’s got some kind of something. Right. And I don’t remember that in the book. 


Well, except for you know, we see him, you know, interacting with his boss a little bit more. And he’s a little gruff, and his, and he asks for what can I have time off? And the boss is like, sure. And he’s like, Okay, I’m taking it now. And he goes, like, right back to what he was doing. Yeah. And so some of that would probably be indicative of and probably why Donald Glover chose. Yeah, to play it this way. 


I think it’s close enough that you can sort of see the the antecedents there. But I feel like the character from the book was being clever in how he used his vacation time. Whereas the character in the movie legitimately didn’t realize that he was doing anything weird. Like there’s, there’s a moment there where his boss sort of leaves and then leans back into the room, because you do get that I’m your boss, right? And the way Donald Glover plays that he just looks up and he’s sort of totally innocent. Just sort of nods. Yeah, I know. You’re my boss. And then he just turns back to what he’s doing. And it’s like, he doesn’t get that there’s conflict in the scene. 


You know, right. I kind of see what you’re saying. But I feel like I, my read of rich and the book was a little bit atypical, I guess, of how, okay, well, fair enough. Yeah. 


We do get a very charming explanation of how Oh, I guess this is I think we’re not there yet. We got to really get now Teddy commands the room. So that’s every scene. The Jeff Daniels is in trouble. 


But what we actually have is, we jump back to Mars. And Mark Watney is talking into his camera. And he’s telling us it’s been seven days since he ran out of ketchup. And I about last damn mine. 


We were sitting on the couch together. He says that line and from just to the left of me, I hear this voice Go, man. Like deep heartfelt empathy. It’s all if it’s all you have for seasoning like you want it like I would. I would take what is that weird Australian stuff that nobody else likes just Australians. Vegemite. Like, if that’s all that there was. If there was no salt. There was no pepper. But there was Vegemite. I would learn how to like that stuff. Because anything is better than nothing. Right? Yeah. And 


that’s how I that’s also how Mark feels. Remember, this is the guy who tried to make potato skin tea. 


Yeah, exactly. So I’m saying it’s like, and I get it. Ketchup, I feel pretty sure is like very American. So of course, that’s what Mark has been sent with and would want to eat but I felt for that man, because I’m certain he does have salt and pepper either. That’s, that’s heartbreaking. It’s all heartbreaking. 


Yeah. There is a moment here. When he’s talking about his food in this in the same scene that kind of blew me away. I wasn’t entirely sure how to take this because I feel like I mean, I haven’t actually run the calorie numbers myself, but I feel like maybe this is a blooper like I feel like maybe he misspoke the line or something. But what he says is he’s talking to the camera and he’s talking about how much they are cutting back on his on his rations. Okay. And the line that he says word for word is in. So instead of three of these every one day, it’s one of these every three days and now they’re asking To do this, and he cuts a third off of it, which means that he went from having three every one day to one every three days. That’s 1/9 of what he should be eating. And now they’re asking me to do this. And he removes a third of what’s left. I did the math, that is 7% of what he should be eating. Yeah, that is a one a 13th ration. That can’t possibly be right. Right. 


I mean, okay. If you figure they say that you can last almost two weeks on water alone. Yeah. Then I suppose that that’s not like functioning, that’s before you die in your bed. You can only last a couple. But what I’m saying is like, if you’re still if you’re still getting, because he’s still taking his vitamins. Yeah. And if you’re getting a minimal amount of calories. Yeah, it’s, that doesn’t quite 


the only thing that I thought. Maybe what he means that he doesn’t say this. But this is we established last week. Alexander is really good at filling in potholes. The only thing that I can think of is he’s saying this as he’s slicing up. What is effectively like sort of meatloaf, like it’s a it’s a thing that was clearly sent for the astronauts. He’s not eating potatoes. Yeah. So my thought is maybe what he’s saying is he only gets this much of the food he’s supposed to be eating, and then he’s backfilling the rest with potatoes. 


Yeah, that’s probably true that 


Yeah, I have to assume that because eating 1/13 of a standard ration is just 


because we know that the potatoes are just, like, just calories. He’s no nutrition, like, 


but they’re also their flesh frozen, right? So he can still eat them. 


Yeah. So if what he means is I’m getting this much protein per day, and then I’m filling the rest with potatoes just for rock 


to go with that. Just to make it right. Okay, so we have another change, which is he gives Lewis the mission to talk to his parents instead of Martinez. And I think that this change can easily be chalked up to putting chest pain on the screen more. 


Yes, I think this is a Jessica Justin thing. This and then later, at the end of the movie, there’s a huge change. Yeah, in favor of her. Which I would be interested to know. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out. But I would be interested to know if this was because of Jessica Chastain, the actress like if she requested more screen time. Or if the writers just felt like they needed to beef up lewis’s arc, 


or it’s not. It’s highly unlikely that she requested more screen time. It’s probably she has a name. And the guy who’s playing back. Nobody knows who that is. 


I mean, yes. I just mean, I wonder if it’s based on the actress or if it’s from a writing standpoint, if they felt that Lewis needed to be the one to sort of personally say Mark Watney, for her own character arc. 


Well, yeah, we’ll get there. 


It is interesting, though. And it’s, I mean, I get it like, I totally understand it. I kind of like the Martinez version more. I like the fact that he’s got a best friend that I asked. 


I’m totally here for the way the book tells the story and not the way the movie tells the story. I’m not wild about the idea of sending Louis into the household, where she’s the one who chose to leave him behind. 


Well, that’s actually a good point, like sending Louis is probably a terrible idea. Yeah, exactly. You said Martinez, the one who didn’t make the call. Yeah, that’s so that’s actually a really good point. I am not in love with this change. Yeah. 


So then we get China. Yeah. So the rescue. 


They’ve changed to the scientists to a woman. Because what we originally get is two gentlemen talking to each other. Yeah. And talking about how to handle the fact that they actually could help solve America’s problem. And in this, what we ended up getting is a very old guy. And a young woman. Yeah. Which is not how it was written in the book, but that’s fine. 


Yeah, they basically changed it from Vin cat and Tim, to Annie and, and Teddy. I mean, he’s quite a bit older than that. But what I just mean in terms of their roles, like he is clearly the administrator of the Chinese space agency, and she is presumably, like one of the one of the department heads or something. 


But I Well, she’s a scientist. We do. Yeah, I think we can. I mean, and what I’m going to say is in the book, it’s a scientist, and they don’t tell us what her role is. So I’m going to say that as a scientist, and I think 


I like that they did this because it’s you You know, they went kind of out of their way to put a lot of diversity on screen in with the scientists, but we’re also looking at it towards the future of science. So you put out there what you want to see. Right. And so I enjoyed this little change. It wasn’t. It’s not a huge deal. But yeah, I think it’s important 


shout out, by the way to Andy Weir who wrote a very diverse cast like they did not change the races of pretty much anybody except for Vincent. The, you know, Venkat Kapoor is clearly not a white guy and Bruce Ainge, and I even when I first read the book, I read Mindy Park as Asian. I don’t know if that’s ever actually hinted, just because I knew an Asian person whose last name was Park. But yeah, that’s he did a really good job of portraying a very diverse group. Yeah. And then when Teddy gets the call from the Chinese, this is tying back to what we were saying earlier about subtle acting. I really appreciated the fact that, you know, he’s, he’s very professional. He’s very appreciative on the call, and then he hangs up. And there’s this long bit of silence and then he just goes, yes. And it’s not what a lot of directors would have had him do, which is sort of pump his fist in the air and like really, sort of, you know, be super excited and sort of race out the door to go tell his team. It’s very understated. It’s just just in his chair, tightly contained, sort of in his chest. And then he’s back to tiny like for arm pump. Yeah, exactly. Like he’s, he’s clearly this is a guy who keeps it close to the vest. And this was something that is so powerful that he could not not express it. So he just expressed it a little bit. And then he’s back and I love that. 


So then we’re, we are and the room the L Ron meeting? 


Yes, project l Ron. And 


Annie has no idea what that is, which is so 


awesome. Because Sean Bean is sitting in the room. Yes. That’s 


so great. Was that was a lovely little crossover sort of thing that just that happened there. 


A part of me wonders if that’s how they thought of Shawn is like they were working on this scene with Project ROM and they were like, I wonder if we can get, you know, like, they just started sort of going through the cast of Lord of the Rings. Could we get Ian McKellen for this role? We get Sean Bean. Can we get Viggo Mortensen? like yeah, who would be good here? That’s just a joke. That is too good to pass up. Yeah. 


I will say that this is another place in which Annie isn’t as profane. 


Yeah, and we miss hilarious. 


As she wasn’t the book, she you know, as as profane as she gets is I hate every one of you. Yeah. And that’s it. Yeah, I was sitting here going. No, no, no. 


Any swears there, at least she needed to at least drop fine or something. 


We need more really good foul mouthed women in science fiction. And I say that because Annie, they turned it down. Yeah. And they also turned it down with officer Rolla on the expanse. She’s got some good lines on the expanse, the TV show if anybody out there is watching the expanse of the TV show, she’s gotten some great lines. We love that show. Read the book. She is so much filthier. In the book. She is so foul mouthed, it’s hilarious. Like in the in the show, she’s really just kind of brusque, like she she just doesn’t have time for this. In the in the book, though it is poetry. She just weaves these incredibly profane turns of phrase that are so hilarious, and we just we need more of that like that. And we need to we need to make it onto screen stop filtering it out. It’s hilarious and awesome. And it builds the character of these awesome women. Yeah. And yeah, 


at this point is when we finally learned what Rich pournelle is up to, 


yeah, what his plan is, and I love so this is one of those things, you know, we were talking about whether he sort of picked up on anything in the book that may have led him to this sort of a little more a typical characterization, but one of the things that it really does nicely, in the sort of mechanical sense, is it allows them to be super expositional, because the audience might not know about slingshot maneuvers. But everyone in this room does. This is not something which Brunel needs to explain. I bet even Annie would know, like, you know, she’s, she’s smart. She knows about a lot of this stuff. And he just, he’s walking them through step by step walking around Teddy literally physically, and like stuff out of his pocket. It’s pulling stuff out of his pockets. It’s he’s so sort of the character that he has built. It is absolutely believable that he would be this expositional. Yes, unnecessary. And yet now the audience has got it. It’s the it’s the perfect framing for a tele Donna moment. 


It was an I love Teddy’s reaction. 


Get out. 


Yeah, that’s it. I also, I also love Vincent popping the pan against Danny’s forehead. Just, again, more indication that these people have worked together for a really long time that they, 


and he took the chance because he had like, if you’re gonna, he has the opportunity, he’s gonna do it. Exactly. He doesn’t get the opportunity to do this. Yeah, 


I enjoyed that. But I feel like the bigger the biggest sort of missing thing from Annie is not her profanity. It’s that she leaves toward the end of the scene. And in the book, we get an extra moment. So there’s this scene between Teddy and Mitch. where he’s talking about, you know, it’s it. He says it’s bigger than one person. And Mitch says, No, it’s not, which is sort of the central thesis of the whole story is that it is worth it to bring one person back. But in the book, we got an amazing scene, where when Teddy decides to not do the Hermes return plan, the rich Brunel outmaneuver any rips him a new asshole. If you remember that scene, no, Mitch, makes a big deal about how they should leave it up to the crew. And Teddy decides on not risking the life of the rest of the crew. And they all start to leave and he stays behind. And he starts to say something about like the next press briefing, and she calls them a goddamn coward. And she just rips him apart, we would be able to bring Mark home if you had if you had the balls to let us and she really sort of has the team’s back. And that is one of the scenes to me that is important for Annie’s character, because the Annie of the movie is sort of just a PR person. Like you get the sense that she could work at a Hollywood studios, the fact that she works at NASA is kind of irrelevant. She’s just here to do a job. Whereas in the book, this scene really establishes the fact that she’s one of the team. She is helping to bring Mark home. And Teddy’s decision is hindering her efforts to make this happen. And that is not only a great moment for her character, I feel like it really helps cement the team back on Earth and isolates Teddy from them a little bit. He’s the leader. He’s got that, you know, the the loneliness of wearing the crown. And I missed that. I would love to have Kristen Wiig rip Hammond. Oh, that would have been amazing. 


In the movie. My favorite conflict is Teddy versus Mitch, which is saying something because I think the biggest conflict is Watney versus Mars. You know, yeah. But in the book, that’s my favorite conflict. Yeah. But in the movie, I think it’s Teddy versus Mitch, just because they’re such powerful actors. They’re powerful, powerful characters. And seeing those two sit across from each other sniping at each other. It’s and, you know, just the, the way that Teddy can put down, Mitch, just, I’m boss sort of way. Yeah. Is. It’s fascinating to watch. I 


could watch a two hour movie of them debating what to do. Yeah, like just those guys sitting in chairs, just going at it. Uh huh. So next up, we get this wonderful montage of the Hermes crew talking to their family because they they are doing, you know, the they’re doing the rich pradel maneuver. Which by the way we do we do get the moment where Mitch sends them the rich Brunel maneuver, and then they decide to do the mutiny. Yeah. And it’s a great scene. 


That scene I wrote down as it’s either project King Arthur’s Court, because they’re all sitting around this table just trying to like, yeah, Louis wants them to seriously think it through. It feels like it’s some sort of last supper or whatever. I don’t know. But I loved seeing them all sitting around the table, having this conversation. It needs to be taken seriously. I’m not going to just take your immediate Yes. As a yes. until you hear me 


think about it. 


Yeah. Because Martinez is like I’m in and she’s like, yeah, except for we will be court martialed. Right. So you need and he’s like, I’m in which, you know, he’s gonna say, but, you know, 


they also I love Beck’s response when she turns to the rest of them. And she says, and for the rest of you, I guarantee they will never send you up here again. And back immediately goes good. He just leave like he’s here. You really get the sense that not going back into space as the upside for you know, like, he’s, I’m here for it. Yeah, it’s 


more to me. It’s more like, yeah, I’ve been up here longer than anybody else like, fine. Yeah, you know, and it’s not good as and He would never have jumped at the chance. Yeah, 


no, he would go back. But yeah, yeah, this is 


this was his goal. And he has met it. And, yeah, let’s do this thing and then be done. 


Yep. Yeah. So next up, we get this montage of the crew talking to their families. And this is one of those things. So here on the synthesis, this whole show is talking about talking about scientific and historical accuracy in entertainment. And that is something that we care a lot about an edge works. That’s how we built terrigenesis. That’s how we do everything at edge works is authenticity. And this scene, I really love because it’s authentic to the source material. If you go back and you look at the scene in the book, each of the crew members has a scene where they’re talking to their families. And those are the scenes in this montage is you get Martinez getting kind of reamed out by his angry wife, you get Vogel talking to his kids, each of these people are talking to their families. And they didn’t need to have them be exactly the same scenes from the book, you know, they could have had something where the where the whole crew was talking to their families all together or whatever. Yeah, they didn’t need to cast all these characters that were only going to get in for like one shot, you know, but they did. It’s a little bit more accurate to the book. And it’s better that way. It’s just unnecessarily accurate and good. And I I so love that. 


And then we have the montage of China and prepping for the launch. And it’s a stress relief. Is the stress release of this movie? Because I think it’s where we see. They are is this I think this is the moment where we see one of the scientists fall through this. And Mark that is not later 


I think that’s not quite now. Yeah, but it’s it’s around here. Yeah. 


So but the the whole montage is fun. And that’s what montages are generally made for Yeah. 


Maybe this montage is preparing the rover and then also pre preparing the tie and Shan is the same. 


I think maybe it is Yeah, maybe. But 


in the book, Mark Watney is often the stress relief. Yeah. And so because we’re not getting that in the movie, we have to have it somewhere. And we’re not getting it all the time. And as or rather, we’re not getting as frequently. And so this is a, a long set of here’s the fun of what we’re doing. And I do think that’s where it is because it’s when he’s drilling into the rover so he can make space for the stuff that he needs to put into the trailer or whatever. I mean, they’ve changed this in the movie, but he’s jumping on the roof to get falls and falls in and the site and then we jump back to earth and we see it happen to the scientists there to add it’s or the engineer or whatever. And it’s pretty funny. Yeah. 


This is also in the world of relief. This is where we get the first hint of backing Johansen Yes, and it’s super adorable. I love them in the book. I love them in the movie. I’m a big old softie, and I love romance, and back and Johansen back in your hands, and I just love them to death. They’re both gorgeous. They’re going to make the gorgeous babies ever. And it’s so sweet and so romantic and so awesome. And so unless you’ve got anything else before the time jump. 


Let’s see here. I have two things. The little robot moving around the hab. What is that? 


That is the sojourner rover. So the Pathfinder lander in 1997 landed and the way it worked, unlike the, you know, spirit and curiosity and perseverance and all the rovers that have come after those were just rovers. It was a rover that ran around, the Pathfinder landed and there was a rover and then also a base station. So the thing that Mark Watney is using the thing sort of looks like a pyramid. That is the base station for the Pathfinder rover. And then the sojourner, which is like the size of a kid’s remote controlled car was the thing that went out and sort of did the science and explored and then it would transmit to the Pathfinder, and then Pathfinder would transmit to space. Well, I 


totally missed that, you guys. 


Yeah. So that little rover from the 90s is you actually see him find it and pick and carry it with Pathfinder when he does that, but it’s useless. And so he just apparently turned it into sort of a Roomba. And it’s just driving around because why not? He does mention at one point when he’s doing the hexadecimal sequence. He does mention that for faster communication, the sojourner has three pairs of wheels, and he could put hexadecimal codes on each of the wheels so that they could spin the wheels and That Yeah. And he could get three bites at a time. But he doesn’t. Right, right, just turned it into a Roomba. Which by the way, if there are any, like toy makers out there anything if somebody could make just like a sojourner rover that just wanders around your house, that would be hilarious. I mean, 


I’d rather it be like, I’d rather buy one for like my nephew or something that’s a remote control, remote control to German, that would be 


awesome. Yeah. It’s also funny, by the way, I don’t know if everybody else feels this way. But when that rover landed, I was 111, something like that. And that has just sort of been filed in the area that’s been filed in the brain of Alexander as the size of Mars rovers. And so now whenever I see a picture of perseverance, or curiosity, or spirit, or any of them, I’m always picturing something that’s the size of a toy car. And then every once in a while, you’ll see a picture of the rover like next to a guy, and it’s friggin huge. And it always surprises me every single time I see a picture of these rovers to scale. I’m always expecting them to be the size of the sojourner rover. 


I, my last thing before we did the time jump is the actual sound effect. When you see soul whatever date Oh, that sound effect is saying Yeah, but it’s like, it’s got such a it’s so it’s like, it’s like the sci fi sound effect. Yeah. And I there’s something that it’s the sci fi or the deep sea. 


Yeah, perfect. Yeah. 


And I like that it speaks to the pirate thing. sonar 


vibe. Yeah. 


Anyway, I just, I was I’m really taken with that effect. But also, you know, we just we have an idea of what sci fi needs to look like for it to be sci fi, the the Holograms and the colors that that specific blue, or things like that, or, you know, if if you don’t have the high tech ship, your stuff is going to be like the lower tech green, you know, things like that, where it’s just, we have we have this visual vocabulary, or this auditory vocabulary that speaks to what we what we know of this genre. And it’s, it’s a pretty narrow field. Or space, I guess. I don’t know. So I I both like it and dislike it. 


Fair enough. Well, I think that’s a good spot to end for tonight. Yes. So we did not make it 

to the end of the movie, as we expected as we plan all along. Oh, totally. was our our plan. Holy buckets? Yeah. So we will pick up next week with the time jump. We do and slow folk, slow. I cannot 


say your name. I don’t know why. I always want to put the oil on the wrong place. I’m 




so sorry. So flow trash panda says so Mars is home to roombas. And you know what? 


I guess I’m 


the only planet in the universe exclusively inhabited by robots. 




right? Yeah. Yeah. You know, because Marx, they’re not in the story. But in real life. Yeah. Yeah. So be sure to tune in next week for the next episode of the synthesis where we will hopefully be finishing the Martian. 


Let’s finish this. 


Yeah, that would be cool. 


I think we need to be done. Yeah, with the Martian. So next week is the last week if we don’t get to the end of the movie that’s on us. And we’ll figure it out that but we’re not doing another episode. 


I guess what Lacey is trying to say is that if we don’t finish next week, that’s on j grape. And, yeah, I 


would never say that as a matter of fact. Okay, so we will talk to you guys in a week. In the meantime, subscribe. 


Yep. Be sure to subscribe and hit the bell. So you’re notified about new episodes. Also, check us out on Patreon. And you can check out some edge works and TerraGenesis merge, some of which I’m wearing right now. This TerraGenesis hoodie. Check it out. Some of it is available on YouTube right below the video. And then you can also go to Edwards entertainment calm and buy even more there. 


Follow us if you feel like it. Alex, actually tweets about science and space. I don’t necessarily a whole opinions are my own and not my companies. But you know, join us fine, find us, chat with us and we’re here to chat back. 


Okay. All right. Well, thanks for watching. Have a good night, guys. 

The Martian: Matt Damon is SO sunburned! l The Synthesis

We finally unpack our spaceship and the Ridley Scott film, “The Martian”. Will this film live up to the expectations of Alexander Winn & Lacey Hannan or will they too feel deserted in space as the air escapes their spacesuits, eating potatoes growing from their own poop?!

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey guys, it’s Lacey, Alexander. And we are doing The Synthesis. welcome back today. And next week actually, we are going to be talking about the Martian the movie instead of the book, which we’ve been doing for weeks. Yep, it is exciting to move into a new medium. So this week, we’re going to be talking about the film as a film, we’re just going to be sort of responding to it the way we would if there was no book. We are also going to be talking about how it compares to the book. And then next week, we’re going to dive into more of the sort of nitty gritty details of the science of the production. We’re all going to we’re going to be talking about the movie as if there wasn’t a book, but we’re also going to be comparing it to the book. It’s exactly how he put it. 


So next week, we’re going to be getting into the production details and the science details and all of that sort of more, more nitty gritty stuff. Yes. So let’s be like the movie and just jump right into the story. I know. Right? Yeah. Which is the first point of distinction between the movie and the book is we pick up in real time. We don’t flashback to the areas three crew, we pick up and they are doing their thing. And you’ve got Martinez, and Watney, just like joshing around, they are obviously the class clowns. Yes, this is it’s like it’s one of those things where it’s funny for the audience, but I imagine that for the rest of the crew, it’s a little obnoxious because like I was always that I was always that person that I could handle the class clowns for a good while, and then I’d get really annoyed. I feel like so so quite clearly. You are commander Lewis on this on this crew. There’s there’s no, I’m the redhead. Yeah, well, that’s part of it. Yeah, but but now I really I feel like the area’s three crew sort of breaks into three neat groups. 

Okay, there’s what me and Martine is are the class clowns? Yes. And then back and your Hanson are the ones who sort of wish that they could be the class clowns who like laugh at the class clowns, but can’t actually keep up with the jokes as much. Okay. And then Lewis and Vogel are the ones that are like, Would you shut up or trying to work? Yeah, yeah. One of my favorite things right off the top is when Louis apologizes to Vogel for her country, man. Yeah. And I was just, and he accepts her apology. Like there’s like it’s not Oh, don’t worry. I think it’s funny. He’s like, yes, it’s, it’s fine. 


Which, you know, this whole sequence just does an incredibly good job of establishing the characters and their camaraderie like yeah, I feel like you’re 30 seconds into the movie and you get the area’s three crew you do. I will say just a little off topic. I I would love to see more female class clowns just in the world. So if anybody is out there writing something just consider it. I don’t you don’t see that very often. I think if there are any female students out in the audience what she’s saying is you have edge works entertainments permission to get on your teachers nerves. That’s no no it’s that’s different to make your classmates laugh. And get on your teachers nerves. Yes. Okay, great. Not tonight. No, yes, it’s Yeah. 


But I will say so then they turn off the radio, which this is a little bit you know, this is a little bit different from what happens in the book but your Hanson just likely turns off Martinez and yeah, she she says, I can do that. And lewis is like, Yes, please. Yeah. 


So yes, I get it.


Yeah. Oh eemaan economist asks if Lacey is commander Lewis then which one is Alex? Oh, God. 


Probably back. Yeah. Why? Because like, he’s super smart. And capable. And and he gets the girl. 


He does get the girl but you’re just not the class clown. Yeah, and you’re also not Vogel? Yeah. Your vocals a little too? Yeah. I’ll take back Yeah, I’m sorry I’m he’s not the most intro he’s not as interesting as Louis but 


sorry guys. Um, so pretty quickly because we’re, we’re moving right along through this movie. The storm happens. And as in the book, this is 


unrealistic. This is not a storm that could possibly exist on Mars. There’s just not enough air. We’ve already been over this but it was spectacular. You know, this sequence in the in the movie I thought did an incredibly good job of establishing a scary storm. Like this goes for everybody laughing and joking to Whoa, scary really fast and the music everything really builds the tension. Well, and one of the other things is and I did not expect this is that Watney pressures Louis tonight 


Leave. Yeah. And like right at the beginning of the storm when they’re talking about, okay, we have to go into emergency procedures or whatever. And we see Watney talking back and pressuring in. I, I wasn’t in love with this choice, because we don’t see this happen anywhere in the book. You know, in the book, the first thing that we see with the storm is Watney go being the solution guy. He’s like, Okay, well, if we do this, which, which you could argue is roughly the same. He’s he’s trying to figure out ways for them to stay on Mars. He’s the voice of we don’t have to leave yet. We can fix this, we can stay. 


And you know that that moment in the movie where he says, Commander Lewis, please, let’s let’s not abort. That’s not in the book. But I feel like it’s in the same spirit of what he did in the book of trying to find a way for them to not abort. Yeah, I don’t know. I kind of disagree. I feel like he was too pushy for that. This is why you don’t make the class clown a leader. But you’re not putting it out there. Yeah. I wasn’t in love with the moment because to me, it felt too much. It was it was too much second guessing it didn’t feel like solution making. You know, there is actually although you know, giving, giving Watney his credit, I don’t think it’s fair to categorize it as second guessing because she hadn’t made a decision yet. 

He was advocating his position. But as soon as she says we’re scrubbed, he got he got to work just like everybody. I don’t know, I felt it felt aggressive to me, or it was like, aggressive is not exactly the right word. But there’s something about aggressive or pushy, kind of not whining, because that that has a certain like, tone, but like the what pleading Yeah, questioning her that I didn’t think was appropriate to his character. Yeah, I feel. I mean, I definitely got a sense that he was pleading to stay like he was definitely making a case with passion. But I feel like, I never got the sense that he was going against her. She when he was making that case, she was still crossed arms thinking about options. And technically they were beyond the level at which she should abort. But she hadn’t said we’re going to yet so I think he was he was making he was advocating for what he wanted. But when she said abort, right, he went for it. Well, I mean, yeah, there is an interesting thing that we haven’t actually discussed, I think in this entire show about the Martian, which just occurred to me, which is in the end. 


Well, no, I guess the math would have tipped, if they had stayed. What I was thinking was the hab wasn’t destroyed, they could have stayed in the hab, and they would have been fine. Except now because I’ve mapped poorly what I’ve typed because the only reason the map didn’t tip is because of Martinez. Yeah, that’s right. Okay. I didn’t notice an interesting thing about the storm as it is portrayed in the movie and also sort of in the book, but especially in the movie, which is that it was a surprisingly, not spacey sequence. 

Like usually, well, usually in things like gravity, when they want to play up how scary space is. It’s all about like, running out of air, and like your hose gets ripped out. And, you know, you can look at sequences in the expanse where there are sequences where there are scenes, you know, in a battle where someone’s air hose gets ripped out, and they’re like, running out of air and all that kind of stuff. The sequence in the storm could have happened on Earth. Like they were all in spacesuits. But that’s that scene would have played out exactly the same way. If they had been 


on like, in a hurricane in Louisiana, you know, it wasn’t a particularly spacey terrifying sequence. It was just a scary storm. The emergency was a rather normal emergency as compared to a space specific emergency. Exactly that like it’s not like a meteor storm or you know, a gamma cloud or anything like it’s just a storm. It’s it’s something that they could have experienced anywhere. And I think that the way that it’s framed in the movie is interesting in how that plays out. Right? Yeah. 


I was a lot less annoyed with Louis for looking up. For what me? Yeah. And I don’t know why I can’t decide. It’s if I think it must be because everybody knows the stakes here. But we’re not, you know, it was pages of her looking for him. And I don’t mean like 10 pages, but two or three, it was still two or three, which takes a little while it takes longer to read it than to watch it and they couldn’t have dragged it out a whole lot longer. But it didn’t feel as long. So I think that I don’t know, there was something about it where I wasn’t upset with Louis and now that might be because of how I know the story ends because of the book. And the a lot of the leeway that I gave, you know, like when you learned, you know, what do you like don’t like somebody 


Or you don’t like the decisions they make? And then you learn something new about them and you, like, sort of can’t hate them anymore. Yeah, like you kind of forgive everything that they’ve done because you’re like, Oh, I get it, you’re actually like a fully fleshed human being a villain. Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel. I mean, without her being an actual villain, that’s kind of how I feel about her is, I now that I see the amount of work she does, by the end to save him. That helps me feel better about the fact that she put the rest of our team in jeopardy up front. So it was a nice journey, it also seeing it in a movie really underlines the chaos that like, it’s, it’s easy to sort of, you know, say, Oh, she should have stuck to protocol when you’re reading it at your own pace. 

Whereas when you’re watching it in a movie, and there’s like dust swirling around, and everybody’s kind of shouting over each other, and she’s, you know, she’s still sort of like right next to the map, she can go back whenever she wants. It’s not like she’s a long way away, but at the same time, she really wants to go find, you know, Mark and all this stuff it, it makes it a lot more sort of palpable and you kind of lose the ability to say you would have done otherwise. Yeah, absolutely. I will say that. You’re Hanson. Now. Okay, hold on. Johansen are yo Hanson? We’ve been saying Johansen from the book, but in the movie, I’m pretty sure they say Yo, handsome. Okay, fine. 


So your Hanson looking at Watney seat that’s empty, is the first moment that it really hits that Oh, fit. He’s got Yeah. And it’s it’s just interesting to see two different mediums and how that moment how those moments differ. 


And we don’t get that moment. Not really. I think we we know that your hands and cries. Yeah. And gently sobbing, I think. Yeah. And I remember that, like really getting to me. But then in the movie, she doesn’t gently cry. She just has this moment of, Oh, my God, you know, that happens. 1000 yard stare. Yeah. And I, I equally loved it. And it’s the first time that we’re really getting the full. Hey, guys, my phone is on. Sorry about that. 


It’s the first time we get that. 


That, like that hit of how it feels. In a similar vein, there’s a line that I really liked from the book, and it made it into the movie and it was delivered perfectly and it could have not been. It’s from back. And it’s when he tells commander Lewis, listen, I know you don’t want to hear this. But Mark is dead. You need to come in. And we need to go. And Martinez sort of worlds on him. It goes, man, what the hell are you doing? Are you know, what, what are you doing? 


And Beck’s responses, my best friend just or my friend just died, I don’t want my commander to die to. And that is something that I’ve heard referred to before as an actor dependent line like that in the hands of another actor. That could have been a really bad line. But it was such a good line because he delivered it with professionalism. Yeah, it wasn’t he didn’t turn it into sort of a testosterone. Like don’t question me, kind of thing. It was, I’m trying to be rational. Louis isn’t being rational. We have to face facts. Let’s go. Yeah, you can tell that this is. This is one of those kids. That’s like the straight A’s takes all the AP classes kind of kid because to me, that’s what like that’s like a personality 


facet of a lot of those people where it’s like, you just start to get that. 


We we have we have things to do. And it’s not that I am being emotionally bereft, or something like that, you know? Yeah. But he’s also a doctor. So he’s sort of the one who’s used to calling it Yeah, yeah. Then we go on to NASA. Yeah. And we get Jeff Daniels Who? Perfect Oh, my God, Jeff Daniels as Teddy, who heads up NASA. Right. Well, he’s the director of the the director of NASA. Yeah, okay. He can do any part whenever he wants. Like, I’m pretty sure the Hollywood can cast him forever. And I will. He is one of the only people that I would accept Hollywood being like, Hey, 


we know he’s dead. But we’re just going to recreate him forever. Please do because you want infinite Jeff Daniels? Yes, absolutely. Otherwise, I’m like no, give other artists a chance. Like there are other talented people. We don’t need to see Audrey Hepburn up there for the rest of everybody’s lives. But Jeff Daniels is an exception to that rule. Yeah, he just exudes command like he’s that 


He’s so perfect in this role, because he’s never sort of loud. He never gets anybody’s face, but he just owns every room he walks into, he’s in charge. And nobody ever doubts that. Yeah. Which is I, I’m gonna say that about a bunch of the actors in this movie because they, they have such an extraordinary cast. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of weird. How extraordinary it is, because it’s definitely, you know, Matt Damon is the lead, but otherwise, it’s an ensemble piece. And when it’s when has Jessica chasteen not been front and center, you know, you’ve got all of these people that are just phenomenal. So anyway, I will be saying it a lot, because I could watch a lot of these actors. For forever. Yeah. 


So then we get back to Mars. And Matt Damon, does an incredible job of portraying pain. Yeah, we’ve got a long sequence, he tries to stand up while he’s still impaled. And he lets out this shriek that is utterly just believable. And then he screams, he does this sort of quick breathing thing. And then he rips the piece out of his side. When he gets inside. He’s covered in cold sweat and pale and shaking and like just the whole sequence, a couple of things are a little bit different. It he was impaled by something that was attached to its its original piece, like whatever that communication satellite was, or whatever. And that’s different from the book. And so which I thought was really interesting, because to me, 


if you’re going to if you’re still attached to the satellite, you probably did a lot more damage to your body. 


It might also explain why he went flying, that he didn’t just get knocked. He got prey. Yeah, I mean, that’s true. 


But did it seem like Watney was out longer in the movie than he was in the book? Like, I mean, we only see a short part of it. But I think that I don’t think there’s any reason to think that that is actually true. But that impression comes across because we cut away we cut to earth. And then we cut back and he acts up so it sort of implies that he was there for you know, a day and I suppose that it feels like we we went from night to day and we did it. It was daytime just on heads. Yeah, it gets really dark because of the dust storm. 

And then we wake up to it having passed and it’s bright outside again. So it’s just later that afternoon. Yeah, okay. Okay. Okay. 


So we get to the hab, which is interesting. This is one of those subtle things that differs from the book because this hab is definitely a building. Not attempt. This is not this is not a structure made of Canvas. No. This is Yeah. Oh, hold on. Before we go to that, I just want to say, I missed like, I, I will struggle like I loved this movie. upfront. I had not read the book. 


Until this read through with you guys. But I loved the movie. And then this time, after reading the book, I don’t love the movie as much and it kind of it kind of bums me out. It’s a bummer. Because it’s it’s not because of the the acting or anything like that. No, no, or the directing. It’s purely because I love Andy Weir’s writing so much. And so, you know, one of the, they have to find different ways to up the stakes of the story. They have to, they have to play with different events to make things feel real to the audience or you know, whatever. But, you know, I feel like that’s probably why they attached 


whatever, impaled him to the satellite. It’s another way to up the stakes. So 


there’s that. But we’re not the big thing for me is we’re losing a lot of the science. Yeah, we don’t get to hear about his suit. back. What is it? What is it? What does he call it when 


he like pressurizes. with nitrogen it he says backfilling. backfilling, like we don’t get all of the alarms and stuff like that, and we don’t get his thought processes. And so 


I that’s going to be something that I try, I’m not going to I’m going to try not to harp on it too much. Because, you know, we all know that that’s how this is going to be we’re not going to be in his head. But part of the problem with that is we don’t get to see him dealing with it. We don’t get to see him later being a solution maker. any of that because, yeah, the movie is definitely still a celebration of science and of capability. But one of the first things that Lacey and I sort of noticed when we finished watching the movie 


He was that this is a movie about someone implementing solutions, whereas the book is the story of someone coming up with solutions. And that is a fine distinction but an important distinction. And it is kind of a shame. You know, you never actually see Watney pretty much at any point in the movie, figuring out how to fix this. He just turns on the GoPro and says, This is what I’m doing. Or and sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes he fails. Like he does blow himself up, like in the book, but he’s never doing the math. He’s never, you know, I think I think I guess the one time in the movie that we do see that is the hexadecimal sequence. We see him coming up with how are we going to communicate with this camera. But in the meantime, we get this great moment where Damon comes into the airlock. This is when he’s been hit. He’s hurt. He’s going to deal with all of this stuff. We get to watch him do surgery on himself. loose, so gross. I mean, it’s not the glorious thing I’ve ever seen or anything like that. But it’s still like, yeah, I actually, I really like the restraint. I feel like that scene does a really good job of portraying this is a situation that sucks. He is in pain. He is bleeding. This is awful. But it’s also not a Tarantino film, like Yeah, he’s bleeding a little like he’s gonna you know, he’s in a lot of pain. Yeah, he’s in a lot of pain. But he’s not like passing out every two seconds. You know? Like, this is an amount of pain that you could handle. He’s he’s essentially been shot with an arrow. And that sucks. But you know, people who have been shot with arrows can like walk to go get help. He’s not just knocked on his ass. He’s, he’s handling it. So when he comes in through that airlock, and he starts taking off his suit, because he has to I David has some pretty sexy arms, you guys. 

Yeah, that guy’s strong. Like we don’t see it. Like you know that the clients over the rest of the movie. This is the moment where we’re supposed to see sexy Matt Damon it’s right off the top and then they kind of let that go through the rest of the movie. You only need the one shot of the the act. Yeah, the action hero shot you only need at once and every movie. Thank God for those actors. But this is this is where we get it and I’m super into his arms. It is also it’s something that I was wondering is I wonder if he beefed up for the Martian just to get the contrast of strong mark to emaciated mark. Or if that’s just Matt Damon’s physique. Like I wonder if they just kept cast Matt Damon, and that’s where he keeps himself as a as an actor. And so that’s what he looks like, right? Or if he went out of his way to be strong at the beginning of this movie. And then they they phased him into it emaciated later. Well, I mean, there, we’ll get to that. I have some thoughts on it. But one, one of the first word he says after being left as fuck, yeah. And it’s who can blame the man? 


The thing is, it’s like that first instance, that we really get into his personality of him alone. Yes. Which I that is going to also be something that I try not to harp on too much. 


Which the the writers are definitely trying to give us his personality. And this is one of the ways is the profanity. Yeah. There is one very important distinction between the book and the movie that happens here. Not terribly consequential, but it does bear mentioning. He’s doing vlogs. Yeah, he’s not writing. In the book, we are told very specifically that these are written journals. He mentions, for example, when he rolls the rover, he says, I’m reaching up to the keyboard to type this. 


And, you know, this was probably the easiest choice in the history of cinema. He’s not going to be writing, he’s going to be talking to the camera because of course he is. Well, and they don’t want to do voiceovers the entire time. Right. I mean, it’s one of the rules of, of writing a script is you want to keep those voiceovers to a minimum. And if you’re going to use them, you better use them better than other people have. They’re often considered a cliche, and they, I mean, that’s the way they come across. It’s not just script writers being jerks to each other. It truly often doesn’t work. So they do this the video logs but did you notice the interesting like, I wouldn’t, I don’t know if you want to call it pixelation. It’s more like a jumper pattern? No, no, the pattern filter that they put over his video blogs 


versus the film itself? Yes, they definitely distinguish these are two different mediums that we’re watching. Yeah. And it was kind of weird, because that’s not how GoPros look. Yeah. 


Although this is the 2030s maybe it will be. I mean, it could be but it’s not as No, it’s it’s like it’s not as good 


Yeah, so But I mean, I get it, they have to, they have to find a way to differentiate and make it look like he’s not just looking straight into the camera, cuz that would get real like fourth wall. Weird. And that’s not the he the thing he’s not doing is breaking the fourth wall. Yeah, he is looking straight into the camera, but it’s not breaking the fourth wall. He is looking into a camera. He’s not talking to us. He’s talking to his Earth audience. And that’s as much as we are all on Earth. That’s not us. Yep. By the way, interesting acting challenge. Like, I don’t know how many of the people watching this or listening to this are actors. But I’ve done enough acting to know that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to just sit at a desk and act a scene. Like with no other actors with no anything, he has to convey a whole range of emotions, without reacting to anything. It’s all coming from him. And without reacting to other people. I mean, he’s got plenty to react to. I just mean, in the scene, like he’s got storybook story beats to react to but in the shot, it’s just him sitting at a desk, there’s nothing happening. I will admit that actually can be super hard. But I think this is a little bit easier. Because the the point isn’t that he’s 


the How do I put this The point is specifically that he is talking to someone he just doesn’t know who it is which helps. 


But not a whole lot. I mean, you’re right, it just doesn’t. It’s not quite the same. I think there is a line right here at this point in the film, that is a flub of Matt Damon’s I am. I am 99% sure that this was not a mistake in the script. This was a mistake of maths. And that is because I remember this line because it didn’t make sense in the movie. And I keep what I’ve watched the movie so many times. And every time I always bump on this line. And so when we were reading it, I watched out for it. And in the book, it’s correct. So I have a feeling that Matt Damon just memorized it wrong. And that is he’s talking about all the different ways that he could die, he could run out of food, the oxygenator could break. And then he says if the hat breaches I’m just gonna kind of implode. 


And in the book, it says explode because if he were underwater, he would implode because the rushing water would crush him. But on Mars, the lack of atmosphere that hab is going to explode outward his body he wouldn’t actually explode in like a, you know, Halloween movie sense. But the pressure would be going out not in so the word would be explode like in the book rather than implode, which is what he says in the film. Wow. Yeah. 


Also here, he says, I’m not going to die here. Yeah, I made a note of that. That is not a beat that we get in the book. No. And I I love that he 


that we see him say that because, again, we’re getting so little of his personality, because a, the vlogs are just, at least to start with. Don’t show off his personality, the way that the logs in the book did. And so by saying I’m not going to die here we learn. 


Like a lot about this guy. He’s, he is determined. He’s optimistic he is setting a goal for himself. Like I feel like there’s a lot to be said and confident. Yeah, like, it’s not just I don’t want to die here. It’s a declarative statement. I’m not gonna die here. This isn’t gonna happen. Yeah. And, you know, 


in the book, this moment does happen. But it happens between chapters. If you remember, chapter one starts with I’m fucked. That’s my carefully considered opinion fucked, and it ends with, I’m really fucked. And then the next chapter starts and he goes, Okay, so I had I had a good night’s sleep, and I had some food and things aren’t looking as bad. And he goes off. So clearly he had that moment of shifting from fatalism to hope. But it’s so great to actually see it in on screen. That is a that is a beat that is good to have. I I wish that they had kept some of those lines like that that very first line that you’ve just said that we get of the I’m fucked. Yeah, that’s my carefully considered opinion. Yeah, that I wish that that stuff that they had brought a little bit more of those lines into the vlogs. Because this is, this is one area where you and I disagree. I feel like they do capture Mark’s personality. We don’t get as much of it. But it I think they do a really good job of capturing the same character. There’s so there’s a there’s sort of a, an ongoing conversation among anybody who gets really into movies, which is do deleted scenes count. Like when you when you cut a scene from the movie, did that scene happen in the story? Like not not does it count as part of the film but like if there was a scene where Mark 


You know, did something, and then they cut it from the film. Did that happen in the story? And some people think, yes that it wasn’t portrayed, but you know, it still happened. And some people say no, if it’s not in the film, it didn’t happen. Another a great example of this for me as a Lord of the Rings fan is Tom bombadil. So Tom bombadil is a beloved character from Lord of the Rings the book, he does not appear in the movie, and everybody was really sad, but they didn’t change anything. Frodo and Sam could still have met Tom bombadil. In The Fellowship of the Ring, the film, it’s just not portrayed. There’s nothing in the film that says that that couldn’t have happened. Okay, so what I feel about Mark Watney is we don’t get a lot of the lines in the book that show his personality. But they didn’t change his personality like they did, he is still the same character, we just don’t get as much of it because it’s only two, I feel like it’s okay.

I need you to back me up here. Essentially, what I’m saying is take my side. But, but seriously, I want to know who you guys agree with, because I really like Mark Watney, his character in the movie, I just feel like it’s a muted version of what we get in the books, because he’s just so much funnier. And let’s see, he has those more. You know, the very next note that I have here about the movie is Mars will come to fear my botany powers, like he has those moments that are his character. He’s just doesn’t have pages and pages and pages and pages of monologue the way he does in the book to pepper them in i but i think that you can, there’s sort of, there’s like a economy that you work within when you’re writing, which is like, I have this many words that I can put into the scene before the timing and the pacing of the scene. no longer works. And you Okay, like, it’s not, obviously, it’s not a specific number. But go with me here, you’ve got an economy of words, and you have to put the words together to give as much meaning and to give as much personality, specificity specificity as possible. And I feel like that was just a little bit off here. And I feel like they got the story. That’s true. They, they just didn’t capture quite as much of 


Watney is optimism, because we see a lot of his like, his fun and his The reason we talk about it in the book, The reason that you see Mark Watney here and not Martinez, or, or back or somebody else is because one he is the guy who can mentally handle this. And that’s the character we want to see. Go through it. You know, we don’t want us to see someone die. Sadly, because it got overwhelming. We want to see the guy who can manage it, who can who can keep his head above water, and we’re not 


like this guy isn’t specific enough. As as specific as the guy in the book to me, just to me, I I still like Watney, this is not me getting down on Matt Damon’s performance. It’s not even me totally getting down on the writers little bit. But I really feel like they could have used a lot of a lot of the dialogue a little bit better to show him off. I leave it there. This is I think this is one thing that you and I are just going to do. 


That being said, you know he he gets to work. And we pretty quickly move into you know, what is pretty undeniably the most famous sequence of the Martian, the book and the film, which is making water and planting potatoes. And we come to one of just a few 


changes for the worse, changed like actual straight up mistakes, straight up things that they didn’t do right? In the movie, which is marks explosion. Mark Watney blows himself up in both the book and the movie, but it doesn’t make sense. In the movie, they changed the story, so that the reason he blew himself up is no longer a thing. So I have to explain that. Yeah. So in the book, when he’s making water, what he accidentally does is he realizes he’s been releasing a massive amount of hydrogen into the atmosphere. And so he sort of looks around and realizes I’m in a bomb. And the whole chapter starts when he’s in the rover because he’s freaking out because if he goes back into the airlock, a single Static Shock and blow up the whole hab, what he ultimately realizes is he can remove all the oxygen from the hab, and start slowly burning it off by releasing little bits of oxygen into the hab and burning it, and the hydrogen will burn with the oxygen but then it will use 


Stop the oxygen and it’ll stop, because you can’t have an explosion without oxygen. And so he does that. And he’s it’s starting to work. And then all of a sudden the whole hab kind of blows up like it doesn’t pop, but it blows up. And his explanation after the fact is he’s wearing an oxygen mask. And he wasn’t accounting for the oxygen that he was breathing out that he had a little oxygen tank that he was releasing and burning, but he was also pouring oxygen into the room from his face, right? But that only makes sense. If he had removed all the oxygen from the room. And what happens in the movie is, he’s just making hype. He just making water from hydrogen in a room filled with oxygen. Yeah. And then it blows up. And he says, Oh, I forgot to account for the oxygen. I was exhaling. And it’s like, you were exhaling the room like that? You weren’t adding anything to the room that the oxygen was already in the room. Right? So that’s, that’s here, like you’re breathing in. you’re breathing in the air and you’re releasing more carbon dioxide. Yeah, you’re you’re a net negative into the sea, not a net positive. That’s true. It’s, you know, it’s one of those things that only the deep nerds are going to care about. But it is funny that they, they sort of they kept the story beat, but they changed the science and the story beat doesn’t make sense, right? I think that I didn’t like is that when we go to the blog, he’s still smoking. Oh, really? I loved that. Oh, that annoyed me. I was like, this is a little bit like he’s not is not like a muppet. But is there a little wisps of smoke? Yeah, it just felt. Yeah, if it felt a little much. And it, it felt like 


they’re leaning on physical comedy, in a way that I didn’t think was necessary in that moment. But you know, whatever. 


The other thing that we see here, as he’s putting together the potato farm, is, we see that the the packets of human waste are and analyzed. Oh, my God, it’s so weird. Oh, yeah. Why? Like, no, seriously? Why? It’s the 

they weren’t going to get back in there. They weren’t going to get into those containers that wasn’t a part of their mission. No, good. 


There are plenty of reasons to do that. I mean, first of all, so I only noticed it on this watch through but it it, it doesn’t just label them. When he when he uses the toilet, he reaches over and touches a panel. And when he touches what is effectively the flush button, the screen flashes up and it does a medical analysis. So it’s it’s not that fast, seriously, yeah. You know, takes a sample packages to the rest and starts processing the sample. 


So that is part of it is it’s it’s not just packaging it up. It’s also analyzing it for any kind of danger signs. But the other reason, you know, remember, they’re only the third group of people to ever land on Mars. And so there are any number of reasons why you might want to go back, you know, for example, let’s find out let’s let’s say that maybe something in the Martian atmosphere starts causing liver failure. And they you know, one of one of the one of the crew starts getting really sick or something like that maybe the the finds the Martian dust get into their lungs, and it starts causing problems, you might want to go back and check what is effectively a stool sample archive, and see when did those symptoms first start showing up, I will tell you that my husband is is the very best at doing exactly what you just saw, which is something 


someone points out either a flaw or a weird detail that you know, plot hole, whatever. And it kind of drives I had to learn how to get used to it. It drives a lot of our friends crazy. Because he’s not the guy that you watch bad movies with. He doesn’t want to hate movies. No, no, no. He doesn’t want there to be plot holes. So he’ll fill them in for like he’s the directors favorite kind of audience because if the director screws up, this guy’s got to help them out. I will just fill in any gap. If there if there is a reason why something doesn’t make sense. I will point out why Well, I mean, it could make sense like they did this two seasons ago. And so now they’re doing this it makes perfect sense. So long as so long as the director has gotten Alex on his side. That’s going to happen. There are a couple of directors out there that Alex is not going to put in the effort. But this so it’s not for everybody. But yeah, mostly I don’t like not liking movies, right. So I just just putting that out there. I don’t do that as much. I mean, unless I super love the movie. I feel like you know I was the person who was I really did that for the Harley Quinn movie. That’s fine. I was I loved it. I’m here to pray you defended the hell out I did. I really did. Don’t start with me. 


But anyway, 




is the moment where we have to take a moment to appreciate Harry Gregson Williams score for the Martian. This is one of my favorite movie scores of all time and this is coming from a guy who listens to basically nothing but movie scores. So, yeah. 


Harry Gregson Williams score for the Martian. I have probably listened to 


two or 300 times, like just on repeat. Eyes. Why make him wear headphones? Yes, yes, I will often start on the song making water, which is I think the third song in the album and I’ll just set it on repeat. It’s great music to work to. It’s very sort of like quietly upbeat, it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna wear you out, but it’s still, you know, makes you want to work. Also, this is all I’ll say because Lacey is already rolling her eyes at me. But one more thing I will say is, if you ever go read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, listen to the soundtrack to the Martian, as you do it, they pair perfectly. They are exactly the same vibe of sort of beautiful and fascinating and majestic, but also lonesome and solitary. I will say that on long drives, like when we drive cross country something the Martian is definitely on pretty frequently. And I enjoy it too. It’s like it’s a good thinking music. Yeah. And if we can just get a little bit of reaction from the audience. J Patel has weighed in and said, this is Jay gray has weighed in and said that he too basically only listens to movie scores. And I’ve got no I’ve got a I’ve got to say I think you need to stop giving Jay grapes such a hard time. Okay, like I just I he’s one of our dedicated listeners. I think you just need to stop hating on j grape. quite deep. J grape is good people like good taste in music. I think you just need to get off Jay grapes case. Anyway, so mango on Earth. 


We you are in so much trouble. Listen. 


I know you know. Oh, oh, yeah, we Alright, Lacey is gonna go away. I’m gonna finish this episode. And she’ll be back next week. I hope he won’t be. 


So yeah, we then we finally cut back to Earth. And I’ve just got to say, I’m not sure that Lacey is with me. Oh, same thing. Oh, we have a thing you guys. We miss something. We, we, your Hanson’s poop her very odiferous poop. I’m going to murder you 


don’t say that I’ve had 


the the crops we get to see. Oh, yeah, the moment that well, it’s the first time you see green and the movie. Yeah. And I mean, seriously. And we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk more about the coloring of this movie at another time. But 


this movie is bookended by green plants. I mean, little sprout? Yes. And so I just it to me, I think it’s a really important thing. Because I mean, a it’s important to him. But seeing that green I was I was a little shocked. Yeah, this, this movie is overwhelmingly orange, white and blue. Those are the colors of this movie. And then that shock of green is which is funny because like you don’t think of shock of something as ever being green. I mean, I guess maybe if you live in a desert, maybe you might, but coming up over the dune and seeing in a waste. Probably a shock of green imana economist tell us like living in Western Australia, right. Like there, there are some major. I mean, ochre is, I think of ochre. When I think of Australia, specifically because of a book that talks about colors, and what they mean to different groups and the dreaming and all of that stuff. So tell me, 


I want to know what a shock of color would be to you as someone. And you know, I don’t know exactly where you live. You don’t have to tell us but 


i think you know, like blue is can be a shock of color. We think of Oasis or something like that. But I guess it just depends on by on where you live, right? Just context. Yeah. So it was just kind of funny when he said it that I was like, green is not usually the thing that I think is shock of, but so unless you have anything else from ours, now we can move on. Alright, so we get back to Earth. And, you know, so there’s a conversation that we’re going to need to have today or next time about some of the characters are a little bit different. I still think that mark is pretty much Mark Watney. But there are a few characters specifically on earth that have shifted a little bit from their characterization in the book that being said, they’re all awesome. Like, you know, Mandy, Annie Vincent Teddy Bruce 


long suffering Bruce. They’re they’re all done. So Well, they’ve got it’s it really is just sort of an all star cast. And it’s whoever is the the casting director for this movie. Just I think it’s Amina gold who, if I remember correctly, Nina gold does like Star Wars movies. I mean, she just I think she’s based out of the UK and she does some of the biggest stuff out there. Yeah. And she, if you know, if you enjoy Ray, you know, she’s the one who has who found all of these people from Star Wars. And I think she’s brilliant. So, and just, you know, it’s not it doesn’t feel like a movie, like these actors are all so good. It just it feels like a bunch of people working on NASA. And they’re just every one of these characters is so individualized. And they just, even when they change them, you know, Mindy is not quite as meek at the beginning. And she’s not quite as strong at the moment. She’s a little more of just sort of, kind of meek and snarky throughout the whole film. But even then, I feel like she still is Mindy, you know, like they they captured the spirit of most of these characters are really well, even if it’s sort of an alternative universe. Mindy. I disagree. 

On the Monday front, I think I mean, I think the actress does a great job. I just don’t think that they capture it, because there’s no point at which she talks back to her superiors, which is absolutely what happens in the book. And I don’t mean and like, getting really angry or bitchy sort of way. No, no, we’re just pushing back pushing back or, you know, kind of telling her truth about being Papa Razzi, you know, that sort of thing. And I enjoyed that. And she, you know, there’s a point at which she could push back we get we get a moment later in the movie between her and Ben cat. And she just agrees with him because she’s supposed to because he’s her boss. Yeah. And I was just like, dang it, they had the opportunity to let her let her be this fully fleshed out character, and they held her back and that bummed me out. 


But we also get, you know, we get Sean Bean. And he is awesome. He’s Mitch angry, angry, Mitch. Except, and this is one of those things that I would argue that Mitch is probably the biggest departure from book to movie. Because Mitch in the book is a just a bull in a china shop. He is he is alienating everyone, he is stubborn. He is angry. He is like, you know, they go to they go to China. And there may have been an eyeball in the soup because they hate you. Like he just nobody likes Mitch because he’s so just pigheaded and just yeah. And, man, I have never seen Sean Bean play a character this meek. Before he is just every scene he’s drawn in and his shoulders are kind of hunched. And he’s just, he’s very soft spoken. And even. Even when he is putting his foot down. He’s kind of 


it’s like, he’s kind of bad at it. You know, there’s, there’s a moment where Teddy says, You’re saying this because Vincent isn’t here to defend himself and Sean beans. delivery is like, I shouldn’t have to argue with fincen like you’d like he’s kind of petulant, you know, but that’s kind of that’s kind of the Sean Bean thing. Because like, if you think of Game of Thrones, he gets pulled back to King’s Landing specifically, because he’s asked to and his wife is sitting there going up, please don’t like let’s not do this. And he’s like, Well, I have to put the kingdom Well, he’s usually sort of the honorable man, you know, he’s, he’s the, he’s the, you know, again, boromir. And Lord of the Rings. He’s, he’s, he’s never, you know, sort of angry, but he’s usually he just sort of projects a little more. He’s, he’s more of a leader, more of an authority figure a little more like Teddy in this movie, frankly. Whereas this character is very soft spoken. And just, I mean, I guess to me, it feels like a different facet of some of something that he plays relatively frequently, which is kind of the the quiet. The like, thinks before he speaks sort of, sort of character. Yes. I just I think that the the main difference is most of Sean Bean’s characters choose to be that way. Whereas I get the sense that Mitch from the Martian the film, 


he’s the kind of guy who wishes that he could speak up more, right? Like he seems like the kind of guy who kind of hates how quiet he is and gets mad at himself. I should have said that in the in that meeting. I mean, I guess it’d probably be really hard for the director to pit Shawn being against Jeff Daniels and not just have every one of those scenes be a shouting match. You probably you have to give different levels. Which one of the things about reading a book is that you are already you are automatically doing it that your brain your brain pitches you ideas on how 


Each character sound like the tone of voice and, and the emotional range and all of that. And so, but a movie takes away all of that imagination and gives it to you on a platter. So the director has to decide who has the power each time. And who gets to hold all of the energy. Yeah. And actors. You know, you have to go with it you have in and oftentimes you kind of figure it out. And Jeff Daniels is going to hold all of the power. I do wonder if this was a choice of Shawn beans or if this was a 


choice of the directors or, you know, like, where in the process was it decided that Mitch was going to be quiet instead of loud? mangry? Right, right. Right. That would be an interesting thing to ask someone. Yeah. 


We get. We get this moment here. Where they? We’ve got Let’s see here. It’s the ven cat. Right? 


Yes, he talks about how it I think it’s him right, that says, you know, we, we have to get the money now for all of this because people forget, you know, we can’t ask for money from Congress and a year. We need it now. Like he’s when he’s asking for satellite images. Yeah. And Teddy’s like no, we’re not going to get satellite images of Marc’s body. Right. And it’s one of those moments that is just kind of horrifyingly true. In this movie, where we, we get Ben Katz, saying, like, hey, 


this, this, there’s a major thing in human history is going to pass us by like, we should at least use it while we have it. Because humans are so desensitized things are changing so quickly, that like we’re living in the 1600s, and a thing happens. And that’s all anybody talks about for an entire year. That’s not the world we live in. As we can see by current events, like the number, people would roll out lists of like, Oh, this guy said all of these horrible things in the past couple of years. And you’re like, holy shit, I forgot about all of these. Because it’s already. Yeah. And so I it was one of those things that when I watched as just like, God, that is a compelling argument about how quickly people stop giving a shit. And it makes me really sad. And it’s not like we can hold it all in. Like we can’t hold everything at all times. We can’t be emotional about everything at all times. Like we have a limit. It makes sense. But it’s also simultaneously really sad. I thought it was great. It was it was a poignant moment, for sure. One thing that is worth mentioning, by the way, is we have changed Vin cat’s race. Yeah, as as you just indicated, the character from the book is Venkat. couture. The character in the book is Vincent couture. They did not cast an Indian character. And 


then cat the entire time. Yeah, so bear with me, because, and notably, they did keep part of his heritage. He does mention in toward the second half of the film, he mentions that I think his mother was Hindu and his father was Baptists. Yeah. And so it explains Okay, clearly this guy has, has an Indian parent and, and a black parent. ciutadella. g4 is perfect in this movie as he is in most movies. So I don’t I doubt anyone can fault him. But it is interesting that they changed his race. And this might be on me. But the first time I read this book, Mindy Park was Asian in my head. I don’t know if that was the intention. But yeah, I mean, as we all know, she’s just Mindy, what’s her name from the office and my head? So bear, she’s Indian. 


So pretty quickly, we move up to trying to figure out where is Mark going in the rover. Yeah. And they have this great moment, just like they do in the book where he where Vincent figures out where he’s going using the map in the in the cafeteria. It’s fun, and it’s fun. It’s so much fun. 


And he does a good job by the way of sidestepping the tired old movie trope of not telling his scene partner what he’s thinking until the grand reveal. That’s something movies often do. And it’s often a little cliche, but he does a really good job of portraying like, No, he’s thinking it’s not that he’s like waiting for the grand reveal 


about it. He’s He’s busy looking for a map and like, Where Where is this? So to me, it still felt like it was part of that cliche, poor communication as a way that directors like ratchet up tension. Yeah. And for all the great communicators out there, it’s like really frustrating but let’s be honest, if everybody on screen always had 


Communication, we would not get decent stories. We would just get happiness all the time on screen. And how boring is that? 


But I, you know, to me, it’s it’s one of those things again, where short, he might be thinking but you, you still people often still try to communicate even if they’re poorly do Oh, I agree he could have communicated it What I’m saying is the actor I thought did a really good job of portraying someone who was so busy trying to remember the exact topography of this region on Mars that he sort of couldn’t bring himself to talk, you know, like, there were even some lines along the way that he sort of didn’t finish the sentence because he was trying to think through this. And, and he just kept saying to himself, yeah, I know where he’s going, I know where he’s going. And so he finally reveals it, I say, there’s a, there needs to be a shout out to the editor. With this Pathfinder part, yeah, because I love that we see, we don’t know what most of us aren’t going to know what it is, when he goes to when they go to JPL. And they take the tarp off of the replica of Pathfinder. 

And meanwhile, Mark is digging through the dust looking for he picks up a parachute. And he sort of follows the line forward. And then what we end up seeing is, we see the closed up pristine version of Pathfinder. And then we cut back to Mars, and we see it all laid out. And we see it in a different position. And it’s not as it’s not pristine, right. And so we get to see it’s two different, like in these two different phases or stages. And I don’t know, I thought it was a, it was super lovely. Because we, I think that it’s a great way of communicating without telling us exactly what’s happening. These are the same items, which they do, say, but it’s it would have been something easy to miss. And getting to see that it was like the flower in its open stage. You know, and I don’t know, there’s just something really pretty about it. There’s also a very beautiful moment from sort of a filmmaking and storytelling standpoint, finding Pathfinder is one of my favorite moments in any movie. And it’s kind of goofy to say, because it’s not that big a moment, you know, it’s not like, you know, everybody’s showing up at the end of Avengers, endgame or anything. But it’s really beautiful, the way the the music and the editing and these two characters come together. And the thing that is especially interesting from sort of a subliminal standpoint, is, 


Pathfinder is how mark is going to communicate to Earth. and discovering Pathfinder is the first moment of connection that he has with someone on earth, He and Venkat. He and Vincent are sharing this moment. And it’s probably not happening at exactly the same moment in real life. But in the story in the editing of the film, he’s uncovering this machine, Vincent uncovers this machine. And then he gazes at it and says Pathfinder, and then it cuts to Vincent, gazing at it. And he says, Pathfinder, and it’s this great moment of, it’s like Mars and Earth have finally been bridged. Vincent and Mark are connected. They just haven’t sort of realized it. Yeah, they are sharing a moment, even though they haven’t gotten the radio working. And it’s just beautiful storytelling. We also get Nate the great hair. We did Nate the great. And if you guys haven’t seen Teddy lasso, Ted, Ted last, I don’t know why. Why don’t I just whatever, who cares? If you haven’t seen it, just go watch it find a way. It’s phenomenal. And there’s a character in it. called Nate the great. Yeah. And an actor plays Tim. He does play Tim, who, not because of the actor. I mean, probably a little bit, but it’s, again, the difference between your imagination and then seeing someone else do their version of the same thing. And it’s a lot easier in your imagination to give 


a little bit of charm to someone who wasn’t necessarily written that way are supposed to be like, it’s easier to find someone charming. That is a noxious. And like, I mean, an example of this is okay, there’s Tim who is is an asshole. 


And then you’ve got house and you get to see so much of obviously not in this movie house like the TV show, you get so much of his character, that if you only got a slice of it, you’d be like, this guy is just an asshole. But you get to see the charming funny parts of him too, even though he’s still kind of being an asshole almost the entire time. So you’re just just getting a slice of Tim. And you don’t get to see as much of him as you do in the book and you don’t get like the kind of funny lines so it’s 


Not entirely on the actor. Again, it has a lot to do with what you can do with your imagination that can’t be put out on screen. Well, and I’m, I’m pretty sure he has one line in the entire movie. I think the only thing that Nate says aside from like, we’re getting a signal. I think the only real line he has is when he says, 


you know, 26 minute round trip. This isn’t going to be an Algonquin Round Table of snappy wrap party. And then Vincent snaps at him. And then we just move on. So there is like, that’s, yeah, he we don’t get enough time. This good accent though. Yep. That is true. 


Yeah, so 


I say so we are coming up on the hexadecimal sequence, which is probably going to have a fair bit of commentary. So I just as part of that. 


I mean, yes, we do. We could, we could pause now. Do you want to? I think that’s probably a good stopping place. By my by my notes. We’ve gone about a third of the way through the movies so bad at this way. Yeah. Listen, we have words, we have lots of words, we really, we really enjoy stories. And we have a hard time not discussing every single detail. Believe it or not, this is us rushing. Yeah, we were skipping notes here to keep the time down. So we’re still working on our pacing, we will get there. 

So next time, we’ll see we’ll see if we just go through more of the movie. Or if we do a little bit more of the Deep Dive stuff that we talked about. Because I want to get to that. Yes. Because we’re from the film industry. And this is like, he went to film school and I am a theater kid. There’s so much that we can talk about that is not just the science. Exactly. So I think it’s worth Yeah, worth using. Let’s use our degrees that we paid a lot for them. So those of you who are watching this or listening to this in the future, you can probably look at the episode list and see the 17 part series that is Lacey and Alex talk about the Martian the film, we will do better. We are not on this movie. I was so I was going to say at this rate, it’s probably going to be three episodes, but I feel like that’s a trap. because inevitably it’s gonna be nine. We’re just not gonna we’re just gonna say Tune in next week for the next installment of the Martian the film here on the synthesis. If you have questions about anything film industry wise or whatever, yes. Shout it out to us. We will find it eemaan economist I’m sorry. I got what part of Australia you are from incorrect. I cannot say that. I know Australian geography very well. And that was noted. 


But yes, if you have any questions if you have anything you want us to talk about, in terms of filmmaking, in terms of adapting the book in terms of science? post in the comments and let us know and we will try to address it in the future. Yeah, we can do we can do a little bit of research. Why? Why make you do it? Right. Yeah. Okay, thank you guys. Have a good weekend. Oh, subscribe, but do all of the things. Yep. subscribe and hit the bell if you’re watching us on YouTube. And be sure to check out our slash edge works entertainment, which helps us make this show and everything else we do. And it works. And, you know, you can follow us on Twitter or Instagram. So Alexander for the win, or Alex for the wins. Sorry, Alex for the win on Twitter, and I’m just plain old lacey hannan. And or you can find us settle the stars or edge works entertainment or edge works. We’re all gonna make this we gotta make this a little bit more streamlined, easier. Whatever. We’ll see you guys next week. Thanks for watching. 


Strapped to a couch barreling through space. Honestly, what could POSSIBLY go wrong? We dissect the nuance of The Martian and look back at 18 months of living on Mars…

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, this is Alexander Winn I’m Lacey Hannan and we are here for the synthesis where we examine real science and real history and entertainment. This week we are talking about chapter 26. The final chapter of The Martian. 


This is this is how you know are married because we can finish each other’s pie sandwiches. It was supposed to be a Brooklyn nine, nine reference and you totally missed it. 


I made it a community reference. Oh, our right. So this week, we are talking about the end of the Martian, which is very exciting. We’ve been doing this for a number of weeks. Now. 


We we have and yeah, we’re wrapping it up. Okay. So next week, we’re going to talk about the movie. So get on renting it, watching it, buy it, whatever you have to do. 


Yeah, so we’re not quite done with the Martian. We’re going to finish the book next week, we do the movie. And yeah, 


compare different media’s takes on it. 


Yes, indeed. So jumping into the book, we pick up where we left off with the last chapter, which is Mark, sitting in the nav waiting to take off. And he’s pretty much done with Mars, which is a big deal for a book called The Martian. And yeah, it’s kind of all out of his hands. There’s nothing left for Mark to do, 


which I would think would totally suck after, after, like a year and a half of everything being on your shoulders. And yes, NASA is like, both the angel and the demon sitting on your shoulder chatting with you. For some of the time, like, everything’s on your shoulders, and you have all of the control, and even thing, even when things go awry, like it’s up to you to fix it. Right. And now he’s just helpless. Yeah. And I think that, that even more than the way NASA is feeling helpless in this moment, which we’ll get to in a minute. I think it’s gonna be significantly worse. 


Yeah, I’m kind of, you know, one of the nice things about this book is that we’re sort of keeps it light. He keeps Mark Watney upbeat and keeps us morale high, they could, you know, anywhere could have taken this book in a much darker direction, where we’re wanting starts dealing with like, symptoms of depression, maybe even symptoms of like psychosis, because he’s been alone for so long. And, you know, obviously, some serious trauma responses and all that kind of stuff. And this is definitely one of those moments where if this was that kind of story, there would be a little bit of a freakout, because he can’t control anything anymore. There’s nothing to do, and he’s so wound up in the need to sort of fix problems that he can very much like, get wound up. 


Well, that’s what I mean. It’s like, we don’t have a character that’s going there. This isn’t the story that’s going to go there. But, you know, for example, in the expanse, they deal with the fact that Martians, people who live on Mars are sort of categorically agoraphobic when they, when they visit Earth, they can’t handle the giant open spaces, because they’ve never experienced them. They’ve lived in tunnels their whole lives. And there was an opportunity to do that here with Mark Watney. And I’m glad they didn’t. Yeah, opportunity. 


He has perseverance. Yes, he does. 


And so yeah, we actually, the first two things that happened in this chapter, I thought was sort of interesting, we get kind of a one two punch of things that they didn’t really comment on, which I was surprised that that I didn’t 


I didn’t write any write any notes for the very beginning of this. So tell me what you’re talking about. 


So we pick up with effectively a montage like this is very clearly taken from movies. It’s, it’s called, they gathered, and it’s all about people in like, Times Square and in bars and living rooms, and they’re all watching this. And it really sets the stage for this sort of global, you know, viewership of what is about to happen. And one of the things that we get is this couple in Chicago. Yeah. Which is clearly Mark’s family. 


Okay. I thought you were just talking about Mark I.  


Okay. So, so I thought that was interesting that we are finally getting Mark’s family and it kind of made me look back and go, Yeah, why have we heard from Mark’s family in any of this? Like, 


what are they going to say? What are they going to do? What what newness? Can they add to the story? 


I mean, we all put ourselves in those shoes. I agree with that. But what I’m saying is that like nobody talked about it, like nobody. We didn’t, you know, for example, they established that Mark’s family is sitting with a representative from NASA, who was specifically there to answer their questions. This is something that as I understand it happens in in situations like this sort of national security importance, they will often give the parents a representative from like the Army or whatever to tell them how this is going. And we don’t know who that is like Unlike for another writer that would have been, you know, Bruce, or somebody that we know. And it’s just interesting that, you know, this whole, this whole story is about rescuing this one guy, and we finally get to see his family. And that’s not like he didn’t do a thing with I 


feel like, I feel like that’s how it would go though like it. I think that is realism of this world, because it’s not like, Oh, 


I totally agree. 


If you have a kid in the military, they’re not going to send his CEO to go sit with you. They’re going to send someone who is who knows how to do this. Yeah. And so you don’t want Bruce there. You don’t want that cat you want. You want the the type of rep who knows how to handle your breakdowns or handle your questions? 




Yeah. And who can talk in layman’s terms and all of that stuff? 


Yeah, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I just thought it was interesting that I mean, as much as anything. It’s interesting that I didn’t notice that we haven’t met his family yet. Like, we haven’t heard from them. He even wrote even talked about sending Martinez to go talk to them. But the parents were absent. Yeah. It’s, it’s sort of for me, it’s sort of like, Sal, Ron and Lord of the Rings. It’s just sort of notable that this very important character. 


Okay, as I say, I totally disagree with you. Because, for me, I filled in those gaps. Yeah, you know, quite a few of these episodes I have talked about like, oh, what would his parents be feeling or like, you can empathize with this or that or with the other thing, and for me, I’ve already filled that in. So I don’t need the story to tell me because it’s easy to fill in where I can’t fill in for venca. I can’t fill on for man, Mindy, or Annie or any of these other people. So to me, it’s that would have just been padding between the storylines that I really care about. Because as much as I would empathize with his parents, it’s not that I don’t care about their storyline, it’s just that their storyline cannot possibly be as interesting. As Annie or Lewis or Martinez, you know, like, it just it can’t be okay. 


What else have you got about the parents? They gathered? And then we’ll get to the other thing that surprised me. I 


will say that with the parents. I might have gotten very congested while reading that part, coincidental allergic reaction or reading. But the the moment that we’re talking about the crowd, crowds that have gathered in different areas of the world, right. And there was a, I think they they say, like a minor cheer for hearing Mark’s voice. Yeah. And I love. It’s just it’s really great reminder for how much the public hasn’t heard from Mark. They have seen Trent, like transcripts, they have heard from Annie, and you know, Bruce, like they’ve they’ve heard from other people. This is what Mark had to say, or whatever, and they might play clips. But they’re not actually the public isn’t hearing that much from him specifically. So getting to hear his voice has to feel like how much closer like we’re on that last step. And I think that there’s like this precipice moment that you don’t really get in the book, because you’re seeing it from the people who it’s either your hearing mark, or you’re hearing from the people who are hearing from Mark, right? You’re not, you know, you’re not getting the outside point of view. So I had kind of forgotten how much these people don’t know Mark, like, we know the audience do. 


Well, that’s actually the perfect segue to the other thing that surprised me, which is, we after the after they gathered, we get mark, sitting in the nav talking to Louis on the Hermes. And they’re talking through, you know, the launch and getting ready and all that kind of stuff. And I realized, when Mark got to the mhv, he could do voice communication for the first time. There was a there was a what, what would have been a very powerful moment for Mark Watney that we just completely skipped, which is hearing another person for the first time in like two years. Oh, and because he’s been typing this whole time, he’s been communicating through the rover and sending it through Pathfinder. He’s been writing emails and texts effectively. And when he got to the nav he would have talked last time. And you imagine how did we not get that moment? Like That is such a powerful moment that I’m really surprised. 


So milk, now that you say that? Yeah, you know, there’s a book called The room or room that they turned into a movie with Dakota Johnson. And it’s about a woman who gets kidnapped and she’s putting this tiny, tiny, tiny shed, and the kidnapper also rapes her and she gets pregnant, and this child is like, five years old before he ever leaves and when he leaves he Can’t see properly. And so because if if your eyes never developed the need for long distance vision, because he 


never had access to that, right? I wonder if there’s any anything along the lines of like auditory changes that would happen if you’re not hearing anything outside of a hab because you’re not hearing anything outside of it. You hear stuff from your suit. Or if you were to lose if you were, if something were to happen to your suit, you’re not hearing anything outside because it’s like, 


yeah, the air is so thin. That doesn’t carry sound. He did still have his disco music and his 70s 


it’s all still so like, Yeah, but yeah, 


I guess I don’t think his if he would have experienced any kind of deterioration. I mean, if he hadn’t had that, I would be curious to talk to physiologist about what that would do. But, you know, those don’t talk back. Like that’s not communication. You’re just passively listening. And so, yeah, the opportunity to actually talk to Louis and have a conversation back and forth, is really huge. Yeah, that’s huge. 


Okay, so 


those two things really jumped out at me is like, oh, wow, these are these are big developments. 


So then we head back to the math. Mark Watney is almost last words are. He’s he’s talking to commander Louis. And he’s talking about Martinez. When he says, tell the asshole no barrel rolls, because Martinez is the one who’s piloting the map. Yeah, right. 


Yeah. So gwatney has literally removed the control panels. He’s sitting in an empty room just in a chair. 


Exactly. So and I that cracks me up, because at the time when I’m reading it, I thought those were his last words. And I was like, those are hysterical last words. Like, 


if this doesn’t go, well. That will be the last thing that Mark Watney ever said. And tell that as well. No barrel rolls. 


And that’s just pretty funny. So my question, one of my questions for this episode is, what would you want your last words on Mars to be the last thing you say there? Because you know, they’re gonna put it in the history books. And so feel free to be as Mark Watney about it as possible. By which I mean, be profane. Be whatever, I don’t care. But I want to know what your last words would be. I don’t. I’ve been thinking about it all week, and I can’t figure it out. Because I’m such a sentimental pers on, that there’s a part of me that would probably say something super lame, and like sentiment, sappy, and yeah. But simultaneously, 


there’s something to be said for just being like, Fuck you. 


Oh, wait, he then which he later says there’s, you know, another thing that that makes me think of is, you know, and this is less surprising, but we didn’t really get any information on areas one or two in this book, which makes sense. We’re focused on areas three. But this is a world in which someone has already said the first words on Mars. We’ve already gotten our one small step for Mars. Yeah. And there’s a there’s a TV show that I very much enjoyed that I think I might be the only one that is called defying gravity. It’s very soapy. But it’s about a mission through the solar system. And there is something that always sort of makes me chuckle, which is in this show. They have already landed on Mars. And so somebody already had that one small step moment, and every character on the show agrees that that guy blew it. He had really dumb first words on Mars. His first words on Mars were the Red Planet conquered. Oh, stupid. Exactly. And everybody’s just like, that is the worst. 


Take him to come up with 


exactly. And it just makes him sound like a muscle head. And you know, it just, it sort of makes me wonder all of a sudden, I wonder what the first words of the area’s one crew on Mars. This is you know, as Mark Watney is leaving, he gets a quote, but somebody else had a quote before this. Yes. 


So well. And speaking of firsts, this is the first crew who that has ever been back to me. Yeah. And they have that they have that little moment. 


Yeah. Look voegelin back are talking about 


and not even Mark can say that. Yeah, Mark will have been there once and will have never gone back 


to the first to revisit Mars. 


So that’s interesting. Yeah. Yep. Okay, 


so in that conversation, Vogel and back are talking about the procedure for getting Mark Watney. And this is sort of an echo of the resupply mission when they were back at Earth where they had to launch the rocket and then Beck’s job was to go out and actually like, grab the thing like with his hands, and guide it in and so again, they’re launching Mark into orbit. And he’s you know, the the Hermes is traveling and the map is going to come up and their hope is that their paths will intersect and then back can actually to go out and get him, but of course back is connected to the Hermes by effectively a rope. And that rope is only so long. Yeah. And we have this interesting conversation where he tells Vogel, if I can’t reach him, I want you to detach me, because he has one of those things that you see, like Apollo astronauts. And that looks sort of like chairs that have. We saw 


George George Clooney had one. Yeah. And grout and gravity. 


Yeah. And so he could theoretically detach and go get mark and then come back, which is what he wants to do. And Vogel seems to say no, mostly. 


So. Okay, I’m gonna put a little pause on here. We’re gonna we’re gonna put a little pin in this conversation, because we’re coming back to it. Yeah, but I have to say, slow trash. Panda. There response to what they want to say for their last words is, How the fuck do I have a rock in my booth already? And I? If I if 


I were choked? I think trash panda wins. 




So I am here for that. That’s really funny. 


I also, Charlie town, weighed in with finally no more red dust. And I immediately got a flashback to the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, because there’s a scene where all of the when they first arrive on Mars, all of the astronauts are complaining about the Red Dust. And the She’s like a micro geologists, basically, she’s geologists, and she gets really upset because it’s not dust their fines. Okay, difference between dust and fines. So Charlie, it’s not dust there finds finds. 


Whereas my brain immediately went to the problem that all women pretty much have when they go to the beach, and you’re there for too long. And suddenly, there’s sand in your underwear, or like the bottoms of your swimsuit. And so now like, you feel like a baby, who’s whose diaper is just slowly like, falling off of them, because it’s really embarrassing and awful. And our producer has her hands over her face. Did it? So anyway, that’s where my brain went, Charlie. So thank you for that. Lovely image. 


So do you have anything else before lunch? Well, 


I wanted to go back to the Vogel. Oh, yes. And Dr. Back, because what, so there’s something kind of peculiar here. Vogel still calls back. Dr. Beck. Yeah. After all this time together? 


Well, I mean, he’s a very formal guy, you can tell in the way that Vogel is written that he’s, he’s a very formal, you can call 


people by their first name, but like they have been, it’s five, six people in a tiny container for 


a couple of years, 


two years now, almost two years, and they’re going to be gone for at least another six months. And you can’t you can’t bring yourself to call it by the first like, these people are your family, man. And if you can’t get on board with that, what are you doing here? Why did the psychologist let you come? Like it really kind of freaks me out and I was not wild about it. Like I get it. There are people out there that, you know, I had a teacher who if anybody got it wrong and called her, Mrs. Hale, or miss Hale. She’d be like, it’s doctor. You know, like, she worked for that. That’s what you call her. Okay. I totally get it. But her friends didn’t call it Dr. Hill. You know? I don’t know. I just, I just feel like I just 


kind of, uh, you know, got to stick up his butt. A little bit. Yeah, he balances out Mark Watney. You know, like Mark Mark is the fun one and vocal. 


I mean, Tuesday, Tuesday, but I want to know, the other question that I have for people is, would you agree to let go of the tether? 


No. Would you let back go out untethered to get mark, why 


would you do it? 


I honestly don’t know. I feel like Probably not. But I feel like I would probably do exactly what Vogel does, which is say no. And then when back, calls him out and says, I bet in the moment, you’ll change your mind. Vogel just doesn’t answer. 


See. Okay. So my response to this is that I know that I like I have a problem with authority, but I do follow a lot of rules. And so I probably would be like, I’m really uncomfortable. Why are you asking me this? I don’t I don’t want you to say this to me. I wouldn’t know the answer is no. And then in the moment, I would absolutely do it. Are you kidding me? Like I know this about myself that I follow the rules up to and be potentially 


responsible Killing two people. Yes, 


I because I, that’s that’s who I am as a person, I follow the rules up to like a certain point, and then I completely completely throw them out the window. 


And that’s who I am as a person. That’s whenever I get the opportunity to kill two people instead of one. I just jump at it. I you know, that’s just how 


do you think I have all these freckles? 


Yeah, seriously? Okay. All right. Moving. Oh, so then the launch a lot. And yeah, wow, that rocket has some power. It pretty much immediately makes Watney start to space out and kind of lose focus. 


But he does notice 


does notice that something in the back of his mind told him that that flapping was bad. Yeah, 


he’s got the canvas over the nose of the map, because they’re launching him in a convertible. Yes. 


And so you know, which is, by the way, something that I feel like Bruce is going to need to answer for, because they specifically asked if taking the nose off the ship was going to be a problem. And he said, No, because Martian atmosphere is so thin, that as soon as you get higher, as soon as you’re going fast enough for air resistance to matter, you’ll be high enough that there’s basically no air 


is created so much drag. Exactly. That 


ends this is a problem, man. Yeah, 


they I mean, what they, what did they prepare for? For back to go out and get water. I was like, 


he said he could do it as long as they’re going 10 meters per second, 


right. But there was like a gap that they had to meet. Like they they had to get within a certain 


distance. I don’t remember what it was. I forget what it is. 


But by the time by the time Mark gets up there, they have they he is 68 kilometers away from the Hermes as 150 meters or something is like 


for all 


of the Americans out there, that is 42 miles away. And they have 39 minutes and 12 seconds to get there. I’m not going to have to alter their course to Anderson. Yes. Yeah. Which is obviously not a thing. 


So prepare for that. 


I did think it was very cool to see mark, kind of going through, you know, not enough brain blood getting to his brain and starting to get obsessed with his bolt with five sides. There’s a very interesting representation of what it feels like to be almost passing out. There is a, I realized after the fact, there’s an interesting sort of writer trick that is happening right here, which is, on the one hand, the power of this rocket, making Mark Watney blackout, really under underlines the power of what he’s going through and sort of the danger and raising the stakes of like, Oh, they almost killed him just by launching this rocket. But the other thing that it does that is genius, is it takes them out of the picture. Mark, you’re stuck in an empty room, you’re strapped to a chair, you can’t do anything. So we’re just going to make you go unconscious, while our other heroes do their thing. So that you don’t have to explain why mark is just like spending half an hour spitting out ideas on the radio and like, you know, he would not just be sitting there quietly while they worked. So let’s just knock him out. 


Yeah. Well, and because then he can’t do anything like Martinez wants to know why this is happening. Yeah. And he doesn’t have any answers. And it’s because Watney is passed out. 


Yeah. And so as Martinez says, it’s like flying a cow, which is hilarious. Yeah. 


So they decide well, by they, I mean, Louis, and I’m totally taken with this, is they decided that they’re going to use their attitude thrusters to get to mark. And they’re going to blow the nose off of the army. But 


that is not quite yet. Oh, at first, at first, they use the attitude thrusters. And so these, if you’ve seen movies, like you know, gravity, or like Apollo 13, these are the little bursts of air that come out to the different sides of the ship to turn it. They’re just gonna burn all of them in one direction, yeah, to get them moving. And that fixes the intercept range. But you still have the problem with the intercept of velocity. So the idea is, again, that back is going to go out and literally grab mark with his hands like this is they’re not doing a docking procedure here. Yeah, these two spaceships are going to fly past each other. And Beck’s just going to go out and get him. He says that he can do it. As long as it’s moving less than 10 meters per second. They hit all these thrusters to get close enough to him. But having done so they’re now going 42 meters per second. And for those of you from America, that is 94 miles an hour. So imagine that you are standing by the side of a highway and your job is to grab a hold of someone in a passing car and that car is going 95 miles an hour. It’s not gonna happen. It’s a joke. Yeah. And so they start talking about how do we slow down? 


Because the whole thing is that the like he, like Alex said, the attitude adjusters rotate the ship. But they’re, they’re not. They’re not what they say in the book is they’re not made for rotating is exactly what they say. which means that it’s a misleadingly named part. Yeah. If, if they don’t adjust the ship, but whatever. The, what I like here is they’re talking about this. They tell NASA what they’re going to do. And then Annie is like, wait, what did any of that mean? And so we get what Alex and I would refer to as a tele, Donna. Yeah. For anybody who watched the West Wing and then listen to them, listen to the West Wing weekly. They came up with they coined this term, which is pretty funny. But it’s, it’s based on in the show, you’ve got this character who’s a very smart woman, but doesn’t know. She, she’s, she’s essentially like a secretary to one of the main guys is one of the assistants and her name is donnatella. 


Yeah, Donna, 


and she asks the questions that the audience would ask, and then someone explained it to her. And, you know, the she’s not always the person who asked, but she’s usually the person who asks, 


yeah, and she’s, she’s smart. It’s not that she’s dumb. It’s just that she’s new. And so she’s the character who doesn’t know how this thing in government works. So another character can explain it to her. And in the process, the audience learns, yeah, it works. 


And because her name is donnatella, that the hosts on the podcast call it Tella Donna. Yeah. So we’re getting a tele, Donna, but it’s to Annie. And it’s which, by the way, 


I love we cut to we cut from the Hermes and all this stuff happened. And we cut back and the quote from Annie is, whoa, a lot of shit just happened really fast. Explain. Yeah, it’s just like, the most straightforward. What is going on? 


Yeah. And essentially, everything that is happening is they’re dealing with the Hermes, which has ion engines, which are slow and steady. And so essentially, they’re trying to turn this tortoise into a hair. 


Yeah. And you got to move fast with and how do you do that? so slow? Yeah. Of course, Mark comes up with his own plan, because he wakes up. He wants to be Iron Man. He wants to punch a hole in his suit and use the escaping air as a thruster, which is insane, which is totally insane. Crazy. And of course, Lewis tells him No, but it does give her an idea. 


Well, in in pretty much the same breath that he says he wants to be Iron Man. He also tells Mars, Mars, fuck you. Yes. And I love that again. I’m a very sentimental person. So it would be 


it’s a very sentimental person, so fuck you. 


Well, it’s why it’s funny, but there’s a part of me that’s like, but dude, he lived like you want? 


Yeah, Maurice did right. Like your man. Yeah. 


Exactly. So I don’t know. I mean, it was really terrible and traumatizing and Oh, my, all of the awful things. But it’s just kind of it’s funny that we get this fuck you to Mars simultaneously. I’m like, that’s the last thing you’re gonna say to it. Huh? 


Well, and also like, you’re not quite done, man. Yeah, well, but don’t piss off this planet. Still has one more shot not. 


It’s not Mars that would be doing base. So I, I enjoyed that. And then the other thing I enjoy here is we’re watching the crew do what he’s been doing. And they’re figuring out how to handle this new problem on the fly. 


Yes, creative problem solving from someone who isn’t Mark Watney, which is fun. 


So now, Louis is like Wait, wait, let’s not have you puncture a hole in your suit. Let’s breach the hole in the Hermes. They’re gonna 


they’re going to breach the vowel which is the vehicular airlock. 


Yeah, that’s, that’s what it is. Yeah. And I absolutely as a, as a, as a person who’s afraid of space. And who’s not the world’s biggest space guard. I don’t think I understand the full consequences of of breaching this spot. So I, I felt like I did not get as worked up about it as maybe I was supposed to. 


Yeah. So basically, you know, the most important thing in space is air. You know, everything else you can sort of work around, but if you run out of air, you’re gonna die. And the nice thing about physics is that it’s very predictable. And so the idea here is they have a whole ship that is full of air, and if they puncture a hole in it, all that air is going to rush out of the hole. But because of Newton, the air rushing in that direction is going to push the ship in the other direction. And so they’re going really fast. So all they need to do is point their ship in the direction that they’re moving, and then pop a hole in it in in a very specific spot. And it’s going to push the ship backwards, which effectively decelerates it, yeah, but that means that all their air is going to get sucked out. And that is just a really scary thing to do. And there’s actually a moment it’s kind of dark moment. But it’s interesting, in which Martinez asks, should we go get in our spacesuits like, just in case the door doesn’t hold and the air in our, you know, on the bridge gets sucked out to and Louis’s responses don’t bother, because if the, if the door doesn’t hold, we’re gonna get sucked out of this spaceship at the speed of sound. And we’re all dead. So just don’t even bother. 


And there’s, there’s something about this moment where they’re, they are brainstorming together. And they’re figuring out this problem. And lewis is such as being such a risk taker. And I think there’s something fascinating about her as a leader, because I was frustrated with her at the beginning of the book, staying out there so long looking for Mark, when she had this whole team that she had to be taken care of. And their lives were on the line, and she wasn’t coming back. Yeah. And that was really frustrating. But then here, she’s sitting there, and then there’s all of this guilt that we’re dealing with, which is reasonable, and I wasn’t frustrated by but it’s hard to watch. But then she does this, where she’s like, Alright, Johansen, you’re going to be the one who lives you’re gonna eat us if necessary. Okay, now, we’re going to blow this hole in the Hermes. And I’m just sitting here going, big moves, lady, holy shit, like, Whoa, I wouldn’t. She’s, she’s the worst kind of person to gamble with, because she’s gonna be the person who has probably been counting cards. And maybe she doesn’t know how she actually probably hasn’t because her morality, her ethics would point her in a very specific way. And she’d be like, No, I’m not going to do that. Even though I know how. And she would just like, I think she’s so smart that you wouldn’t want to go up against her. And that’s what go all in. Yeah. And I think it’s fascinating to watch her do it because it’s not even though she did stay out there for mark for so long. I thought it was for sentimental reasons. I didn’t realize it’s because she’s such a risk taker. And it’s what makes her a good leader. Is she she balances those two things really well. 


Well, I’m just the the absolute focus in a crisis like Yeah, man, you know, listen, rich personnel, maybe a steely eyed missile man. But commander lewis is the steely eyed missile woman like holy crap, that is 


I want to see her. 


like, Whoa, I am, by the way, Jessica chasteen friggin perfect casting for next when we get to this in next week, she everybody in this movie is perfectly cast, but man, she is perfectly cast, she’s, that’s true. So they’re gonna do this, they calculate it out. And interestingly, you know, this is one of those areas where science is a little more forgiving than people often realize, it doesn’t actually matter how big a hole they blow in the towel, because if it’s a big hole, all the air is going to shoot out at once. And it’s going to be a massive kick to the chest, and then they’re done. If it’s a small hole, it will just leak out for a while. But it’ll still have the same effect. It’ll just be drawn out, you know, yeah, it’s just a nice little bit of wiggle room. But the effect is, it’s going to drop them from 42 meters per second down to 13. And back immediately says, I can work with that, I can do that. But again, just to give everybody a sense of what that means, picture yourself on that highway, that car that you’re going to try to grab somebody, you’re going to grab on to that car effectively. That car just went from going 94 miles an hour, which would kill you to 29 miles an hour. He’s jumping onto a car going 29 miles an hour. And that is I would not want to be in charge of grabbing onto a ship flying by at 29 miles an hour. 


And I like it. I don’t like it at all. I I do like want nice response to this plan. It is so it is so perfectly written, which is he objects because he and he makes a joke out of it. He says he wants all the memorials to himself because he’s afraid of everybody dying for him. And that seems stupid. And so I I don’t want you to share the memorials with me I want to offer myself and I just it’s funny. And then 


her was irreverent and also sweet 


and then her response is even better because she’s like I I’m looking at the shoulder patch. And it turns out, I’m the commander. So like, Fuck you, I would do what I want, you know, and it’s just like, we get a little bit of her humor because she doesn’t seem to have a very big sense of humor, which is fine. Her humor 


only shows up in the form of slapping him down and like, asserting her command. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Andy Weir has said in interviews that the character of Mark Watney was very easy to write because he’s the same kind of snarky as Andy Weir himself. So I think this is a little bit of Andy weird snark coming out of Louis’s mouth for once. Yeah, that is such a great exchange. And in the meantime, Annie is watching from Earth, and hears that they’re going to blow a hole in the ship, and her immediate response profane as hell because it’s Annie and we love her is, fuck me, rah, I’d better get to the press room. And she’s like, Is there anything else I need to know? And everybody’s just like, Oh, my God. Oh, my God. And she’s like, sounds good. 


Yeah. And that’s one of those great moments where it’s like, Annie is not going to get down about this. She’s like, Oh, shit, okay, and then deals with it. And it’s like, 


she’s the only one on earth who can do something. All the scientists are unable to act. But Annie, can this is her moment to act. 


Yeah, we get to see her be at the top of her game. Same with Louis. So we’re getting to see some badass women doing badass work. 


Everybody gets there Here a moment. 


It’s so great. Well, not everybody. No, no. We’ll get there. Okay. So now we’re on on to how are they going to blow a hole. And 


so they’re going to make a bomb. And the bomb that they’re gonna make is with sugar. Because Vogel is a chemist, and he knows how to make stuff blow up. In fact, as the book talks about, a lot of his training revolved in learning how to make things not blow up. So yeah, basically, he takes sugar, and he puts it into a pure oxygen environment, he takes an oxygen tank and fills up a particularly strong beaker. And it needs to be strong, because if you just put it in a weak beaker, it’ll just, you know, just kind of fizzle. But if you put it in a really strong one, the idea is that the explosion will build and build and build and build and build until it finally cracks the container. And then that concussive force is what’s going to blow the hole in the ship, right? 


I like that. He’s talking to himself in German. And he says xeric fairly, which means very dangerous. And just like, 


just sitting there making a bomb going, this is bad idea. This is a bad idea. This is bad. 


And I just I just like that. There’s he walks you through how sugar makes a bomb. 




you’re not gonna try and you want to tell us? 


Okay. Oh, yeah. So the idea behind combustion just sort of in general, this is what happens to the sugar is the same thing that happens to gunpowder when you fire a gun. That is that a solid becomes a gas very quickly, that you burn a thing and that becomes a gas and all of a sudden the gas wants to expand where the solid was perfectly happy to just sit where it is. And so you burn it, it becomes a gas and then it immediately wants to expand really fast, and that creates force. And so in a gun, you use a spark to set off gunpowder. It. gasifiers, basically it becomes a gas and that pushes the bullet out of the barrel because the bullet has to get out of the way of this expanding gas. Right. Same thing happens with cannons. Interestingly, the same thing happens with Meteor impacts. When the meteor hits the ground. The Rock vaporizes, which is why fun little fact here, which is why Meteor craters are always circular. You never have a meteor crater that is like at an angle as if the meteor came in and hit you know, like if you throw a rock into the sand it’ll be sort of a an oval shape. Meteor craters never are because it’s not the rock hitting the ground that makes the hole it’s that the rock hits the ground and then the ground explodes it the rock acts like gunpowder guys, 


okay, so you might sometime look up and be like wow, Alex is really the one who does all of the explanation of science on this on this here show. And it’s because he’s really good teacher, and I enjoy it. So I appreciate that. I just I just wanted to put it out there. So all of you know that I actually request this Yeah, we’ll be going on hikes and like these beautiful places where like in New Zealand I’m like okay, so explain the difference between velocity and speed. Again, and Then he explains it to me for the third time and completely different vocabulary than the last two times. So that maybe I retain all of it. So he is a he’s a great teacher. And I asked for this. Okay, so I asked for it on your behalf to sorry, if you don’t like it, 


I promise I’m not a blowhard. It’s that she requested that I talk 


about Sure, I really 


do. But yeah, so you know, obviously, one of the important ingredients in combustion is oxygen. And so he actually talks about how the spark that burns the sugar, if it had happened on Earth, it would have like, sizzled a little bit, it wouldn’t do much. But Vogel is putting this in an all oxygen environment. And interestingly there and zero G, which means this is not a pile of sugar, like you can picture in a bowl. This is a cloud of sugar, it is filling the jar and floating in zero G, which means that there’s an incredible amount of surface area, every single grain of sugar is exposed to oxygen on all sides. And so when that fire starts, it spreads incredibly quickly through that space, and all the sugar burns up, which creates this concussive force as the gas tries to expand, but it’s contained by the beaker. And it grows and grows and grows as more of the sugar burns and burns and burns in a fraction of a second until finally, there’s enough pressure that it cracks the beaker. And now the pressure differential between the air that was outside the beaker and the gases inside the beaker are so great that it creates effectively a shockwave expanding out from the beaker and that’s what’s going to tear a hole in the wall. Yeah, fast. And so that’s Vogel’s sugar bomb. 


All right. Well, that’s interesting. 


They do it and they slow down. 


Yeah, I’m, my mind is I’m reeling at the moment. Also, I’m reeling because for the first time ever imana economist and I don’t agree on something. Well, I know, we all thought that we were just the same person. I’m over here like typing, and I’m pretending I live in Australia. I’d rather live in Australia anyway. Because she says, hell no. And astronaut and the Hermes is worth two in the vacuum of space. I hear you. I hear you, girl. I hear you. I also wouldn’t stop me. Yeah. But she also says that it, it’s hard because, yeah, she sees where he’s coming from. So anyway, back to Okay, we’ve done the sugar bomb. And he keeps talking about how dangerous it is. And at one point back says, this has been kind of a weird day. 


And I was like, Dude, that is 


the most that’s the biggest understatement of this entire book 


that like if this had really happened, and this was all on sort of the news feeds that would be the memorable moment. Yeah, it would be the moment that everybody turns into stuff on kind of a weird day. 


And then we find out that they have 28 seconds to intercept. They’re cutting it so close. It’s like as much as like, yeah. To to cut it that close. And have the juxtaposition. Ben be it’s been kind of a weird day. Yeah, it’s like it all happens on the same page. And it’s just like, you’re reeling from it, which is just I don’t know, I liked that. 


That, that that happened so know what I like, I like soflo trash panda is take on the synthesis, which is he explains the science, and you explain the humanity and the Snark. Which Yeah, yeah. Oh my god, it’s 


our relationship. 


Oh, it’s it’s science and entertainment. It’s It’s It’s the the nerd in the snarky one 


yellow fo gets it. Yeah, exactly. But I love that name. I can’t get over it slip up. 


So yeah, they they’re able to slow down and then back goes out to get Watney. He goes to jump on that 30 mile an hour car. 


Okay. But before we even get there, you guys, I don’t know why I have this written down. Something must have happened in Oh, they go they we go back to earth, where they’re all just sitting there and like Mission Control, and everybody is helpless. There is literally nothing they can do. And even if they had an idea of like, Oh, don’t blow the thing, do this instead that they can’t because because of that, that time difference. The light delay, the light delay. 


So I mean, really, at this point, it’s over, but they’re still hearing about it. But the events have already. 


This is where I wrote the note, Alex, okay, this is what we’re talking about. Okay. So let’s say the whole world has to feel like this. And can you imagine the whole world feeling the same emotion like seriously, take a moment to think of the billions of people we have on this planet, right? And not everybody has stopped for this. That’s just not the way the gets to work. There are too many people who still have a Starbucks shift, or something else. 


Don’t care about the guy stuck on Mars because they have no soul, 


or they have bigger problems to deal with. Okay? No, we’re going with the humanity here. Listen, I just can’t imagine having that many humans, at the same time, having pretty much the exact same reactions, because you’ve got the helplessness, you’ve got the anticipation, you’ve got fear that’s mingled in there, you’ve got this stress, because like, I imagine that a lot of people The first thing, like when they find out whether or not Mark gets saved or not, they’re going to cry, because they have all of this pent up emotion, right? So one way or the other, there’s going to be crying and cheering or crying and dropping to the floor, cuz you’re sad, like whatever it is, but you’ve got all of this built up, and it’s gonna look the exact same for almost everybody. And I can’t, I literally can’t think of a time in history where that would have happened. Because we’re in a, we’re in a time where communication is so much more accessible. 


There are a few candidates when we landed on the moon was definitely a global event. Yes, I but I think this would be even more so. because like you said, more people have like, televisions at this, you know, in the 30s when this is set, and of course, they’re just more people. But yeah, I think there are a few candidates landing on the moon, the end of World War Two, I think was probably celebrated pretty much in every corner of the world. Yeah. 


But for people getting that that information at the same time. 


Yeah. I mean, by radio, like a lot of people would have, but there were still plenty of towns that were, you know, in the middle of nowhere, Australia that didn’t have a radio. Yeah, 


I guess. I guess that’s just what it kind of keeps coming back to for me is, and we’ve just got so many more people in the world. Yeah, that 


is, this definitely would be an unprecedented event. 


And I just like I don’t know, I, I tend to, like, what are aliens gonna think of us when they encounter us? Right? And can you imagine encountering humans in this moment being like, 


oh, like they’re a hive mind? 


Exactly. I don’t know. So this is where my brain goes. I it’s a little weird. But anyway, I I was I had I had a really big moments of like, I can’t imagine that many people feeling that many that that one emotion together. So that was really cool. So now we have back going out. And Vogel is fascinating because he is pulling on or he’s, he’s breaking on the tether. And he has to do gut feel physics, quote, unquote, which is terrifying. So 


bet goes out to get Mark Watney and then they come back. But the thing that is that you have to keep in mind here is they’re still not like Mark Watney, his ship is still moving relative to the Hermes. So there is a version of this where Beck could get to Mark Watney touch Mark Watney and then get yanked away like a fish on a line. Because the Hermes is just going by, and he didn’t have time to actually grab one. And so Beck has to work fast, get him self attached to Mark Watney. But then even when they exit Mark ship, and he’s got him on the line, there is still the risk that if they do if they if they stay out there so long that the line snaps taut, it could rip the line out, it could they could break the line. And now Watney and back are stranded in space as the Hermes goes sailing off into the distance. And so Vogel has to reel them in, he has to start accelerating them back up to the Hermes of speed, but not so fast that he will break the tether, but also not so slowly that they will run out of tether before he gets them up to speed. Because 


if they if, if there’s too much force on the tether, then the that it would break free from back suit, but if there’s too little pressure on or force on the tether, then they jerk to a stop, and it rips from a suit. So the same thing happens essentially either way, which is, 


but not good. But it’s the needle because anytime he pulls him with his gut feel physics with his gut feel physics terrifying. 


Yeah. And they pull him in, and they’ve got mark, and Wow, what a moment when she radios back to earth and says six crew members safely aboard. Ah, that is such a great 


and then we jump straight into the NASA rep getting a hug at the Watney household. Yeah, and I was just like, yeah, the 


parents pulled him in for Uh huh. 


I was just like, oh my god, how often do you think that the reps get like to be there for the good news? Yeah. 


This big of good news like this is this is a career like highlight, 


you know, and story to tell later for sure. Yeah. 


I also couldn’t believe that Teddy didn’t make a red folder. He only made one folder, which means that he, he gives he has one speech prepared for this moment, and it’s only if something goes right which I’m sitting here going, dude. Yeah, there wasn’t a great chance way to tempt fate, man. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 


Yeah, they’re there is a great moment. So this whole sequence we’ll get into it more next week when we’re talking about the movie. But this whole sequence does have several significant changes. I haven’t done the math. But my expectation is that this sequence probably changes the most from book to film. And no spoilers. But there are some big changes. But I did have to laugh, because there’s one moment that is a little present by Andy Weir, which is he talks about how when Mark gets pulled into the airlock, it’s just having back and back immediately whisks him to the hospital, which is really just Beck’s quarters. And he mentioned that if this had been a movie, everybody would have met me in the airlock. And there would have been high fives all around and all that kind of stuff. And lo and behold, a few years later, they turn the Martian into the movie. And everybody meets him in the airlock. And there are high fives all around. And I just have to believe that the filmmakers on set that day were like, Well, I mean, he told us what to do. 


Yes, yeah. Yeah. 


And then, yeah, we pretty quickly move into wrapping it up mode. 


Yeah, we 


mark talks about why the earth, the Terran community, would put millions of dollars into saving him. And he says something he’s this, he says, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. And I was like, can you we can you be real and our mind to the world of that right now? Because, like he said, it might not seem that way. But it’s true. And I I basically am the person who I believe that I believe that people like to help. We are Lucy and I are both deep optimists. Yes. And it can be frustrating and painful when the world doesn’t live up to our standards. But I really liked that he put that in there. Especially like, it follows him saying, in space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl as he’s being pulled along. 


There’s also a great moment where he’s talking about mission day versus mission soul and the different time on earth versus on Mars. And then he says, but it doesn’t matter what time it is on Mars, because I’m not there. 


Yeah. And then, you know, really one of the last things that we find out is he stinks to high heaven, and no one in a long time in a long time. Which can you imagine how itchy he has probably been. And he hasn’t said a word about it. The other thing that hasn’t been said is they don’t talk about his weight. And the book and movie. Yeah, his weight. His his weight loss is very, very apparent. And I’m guessing it’s because it’s, you can communicate smelt pretty easily at a book. Yeah, but not in a movie. So it’s just, it’s it’s another indicator of how much he’s gone through. But yeah, we never we never touch on his weight loss, which is interesting. 


That is interesting. 


And then he like, he’s essentially like, whatever is the happiest day of my life. And the end, the end, and I was just like, like, Oh, fuck, we 


couldn’t use a little more data. And 


yeah, I I found this very frustrating. And I discovered that people who listen to the audio book got something that people who read the book did not. And so I’m I would now say, anybody who wants to read this book should do the audio book, 


because there’s an extra chapter at the end of the audio book that has sort of like not exactly short stories, but they are moments from the world of the Martian. So for example, you get the moment that Mark Watney learned he was going to be on the Aries three crew. And you get mark and Martinez talking in a bar and like you get these moments from the from the larger world which is cool. 


Yeah. And for me, we have been through so much With this guy that I wanted to rebel in his safety, we had so much of lack of safety. Yeah, that I needed to sit in that longer I needed to see more reactions, I needed to know how more people were feeling. And guess what? I can guess what those feelings are. But I want to be told because I need it as an audience member. And I didn’t get that. And so for me, there was a letdown because it was like, have you saved by? No, okay. Well, and 


by the way, he’s not actually saved yet. Like, as they specifically say, in this book, space travel is actually more dangerous than being stuck on Mars. And you know, the the tagline of the movie is bring him home. And he’s not home yet. Like, you’ve still got several months of spaceflight to get through in a ship that was already deteriorating a little bit before they got back to Mars. 


And like, we don’t have to go through all the details of it. But also his body has been running on multivitamins and potatoes. 


Yeah, what is it? What what is happening nutritionally? And 


what is the cause for this? Because we all know that, like, you come across a starving anything, and you can’t just give them the food you would normally eat. Like, that’s not how it works. 


Very, very dark. But interesting stories from World War Two of feeding Holocaust survivors, and it killed them because you have to ease them back into food. You can’t go straight from starving to not 


Yeah. And so like, I don’t know, there’s just all of these questions. I wanted, I wanted him to see, I wanted to see him see Earth. Yeah, if not step foot on Earth. I just, I felt like, there was something missing. I didn’t get to have the ease. We got the joy of saved, but not the ease of safety. Well, and especially, you know, 


there’s also from the scientific standpoint, you know, one of the things that I was thinking in this chapter is I want more stuff in space from this author, you know, like, I want more stuff, the the space dynamics, the intercept, velocity and intercept range, and all that kind of stuff was fun. And I would be very interested to hear what was Mark’s reintroduction to Earth gravity, like he’s been in space and on Martian gravity for a couple of years. That would be an interesting retraining regimen. Like he probably had a hard time breathing when he landed. 


And the other thing is like, they have a hole in the ship, and they use a lot of fuel to do this last. Yeah. nuber. 


So Martinez probably had a pretty cool time, like bringing them into Earth orbit Exactly. Because they talk about 


that in the chapter of like, Okay, if we do this, how much of our field do we use? And how much do we need? And now they’re going in the wrong direction? Yeah. So how do you deal with that, like, to me, there’s so much more of the story. That just I needed an epilogue. Yeah. And there wasn’t an epilogue, and I’m mad about it. 


Well, aside from the lack of epilogue, I think this is the point where we sum up the Martian. What are we? What do you think of the tale of Mark Watney? 


I mean, I you guys, I fucking loved it. I don’t know if you could tell. But I loved it here. Big, big fan. I think my biggest problem literally was not enough. Not enough. So I am here for it. I want more of this type of literature. But I want to see it outside of just like science fiction. I want to see it you know, Okay, I get it. I get that there’s like alternative history where you get a lot of actual real history and things like that. But I want to in like my fantasy, I want it in my mystery novels. I just want? 


Well, I think I think heavy read having it in your fantasy as an example of why Lord of the Rings is so popular, because that is a fantasy story with this kind of aesthetic, where the languages and the history and the architecture and like everything has this incredible attention to realism and detail. 


Yes, but the differences into it. I think I think there’s a difference there though. Okay, which is, if you don’t know much about languages, Tolkien isn’t explaining languages to you. That is true. And the Martian is explaining science and making science cool. The thing about, you know, learning the Elven language that Tolkien makes up, is that you because you are a fan have decided it’s cool. And so you’re going to go learn this. 


And Tolkien curricular. 


Yeah. Whereas Tolkien isn’t token didn’t make it cool. He was just like, I think this is cool. So I’m going to put this in my story. Where’s Andy? We’re made science. Cool, right. Like, you know, I think that’s the difference. 


Yeah, the educational quality, that sort of showing you how it works, not just showing you that it works, 


and Not making you not making the audience feel stupid. Making it understandable. Even if you feel like speed reading it, you’re like, I probably could have understood that. I just didn’t feel like it. Right? I had moments like that. But anytime I slowed down, I was like, Oh, no, I get this. And so you’re reminding the audience that they’re smart, you’re teaching them something new, how much they’ll retain? Who knows, I now know that LCDs have water. You know, there’s water, there’s like, right in the back. Yeah, I can’t operate in a vacuum. Like, I’m not gonna retain a bunch, but I retained a little bit, I know that I can learn this, which is not something I learned at school. Like, there’s just something about bringing, like elevating your audience. And I don’t think a lot of artists do that. They talk to the people that they think are already at their level, whatever that level might be, or they play to the lowest common denominator, that’s something that people talk about a lot. And entertainment is playing to the lowest common denominator, which is ironically, a mathematical term. 


lowest common denominator being you know, the the number that is a multiple of both of these things, the lowest number and you know, you can make a good argument that the Martian is a is a shining example of playing to the highest common denominator, which is to say, he’s not aiming it at experts. He’s aiming it at what everyone can understand. He’s just aiming it at the top of what everyone can understand this is the most 


you can understand stuff 


that anybody could pick up. Yeah. And I just love that doctrine. And that is just to bring it full circle, the aesthetic of the synthesis. That is what we are talking about on this show is using science using history using realism and accuracy in entertainment, not educational content, in genuine entertainment, but aiming it at the highest common denominator. And 


you know, not everybody has to be the Marshal. Not everybody has to be like, I’m only going to do one thing that isn’t real. You can you can zoom for fantasy in this. Yeah, you can have a lot more breathing room than the Martian than Andy. We’re allowed the Martian to have. That’s okay, too. But the amount of realism that he injected into it makes it special. 


Yeah. What about you enhances the fiction? No, I, I feel exactly the same way. I mean, I’ve said before that the Martian was a big inspiration on terrigenesis. And, I mean, you know, the Martian, along with other things helped inspire terrigenesis, the success of terrigenesis helped us found the edge works, entertainment. And now this is the doctrine. 


Our branding is essentially what we just explained exactly 


what this company does, yeah. And so we, I mean, that’s what I’m dedicating my life to do, you know, like this is, this is not just something I enjoy, this is something that I’m, I’m trying to emulate in everything I do to one degree or another. And I just 


Alex, it, like Alex and I had this interesting conversation last night where I learned like, I’ve always known this, but I had never really pinpointed it. Just how passionate he is about authenticity. Like I’ve always known that this is he loves this stuff, right? But you know how you have that one thing that you would love to just bring to the world? This is this is the passion thing. for him. It’s authenticity. And I I think I didn’t understand how deep it went until we were talking about it last night. And so you know, here we are bringing Alex’s passion to the world. 


Oh, thank you. It is and and specifically the thing that I’m the most passionate about is something that Andy, we’re just absolutely males. And the Martian is often the example that I use when I tell people about this is you know, on one end of the scale, there is educational content. There is textbooks there, you know, the things that you see in a classroom, and a step up from that is edutainment, you can hear this term edutainment where, you know, it’s meant to be kind of fun, but it’s also meant to be educational. This would be something like the History Channel, where it’s not just nonfiction. It’s not a documentary that like dramatize certain scenes, but it’s still meant to be educational. And I don’t really like edutainment. What I like, is authentic entertainment. I like things like the Martian. I like things where the entertainment is informed by the science. And it’s not about teaching you, but you learn along the way anyway. I mean, how many people have learned things about World War Two from watching movies like Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, but nobody would ever call Saving Private Ryan, an educational film? Like, it’s probably been shown in a lot of classroom Yes, but it’s not an edgy occasional film it is entertainment. And it is filled with authenticity 


thing. Glory was the one that we watched. Is that the name of it? 


Yeah. Glory from serving the Civil War. 


Yeah, I think I had three different teachers. So that to me between middle school and high school, exactly. 


The Assassin’s Creed video games are another example. People love the historical authenticity. But nobody would ever describe Assassin’s Creed as an educational game. 


So yeah, this leads me to, I want to make a request of everybody. Tell us what you want, like what you want to see. And don’t feel like it has to be American entertainment. Yes, you know, if if you’re not if you don’t live here, and what you’re seeing on TV, like if you’re seeing an episode of something or a movie, or you’ve got a book that you want to put out there, please let us know. Like, find us on Twitter. Find us on Instagram. 


We are at edge works entertainment, basically everywhere. Yeah. 


And feel free to reach out to me and Alex as well on any of these crazy social media sites. 


I am at Alex for the win. 


I think mine is just Lacey Hannon. 


Yep, super boring. 


But you know, 


yeah, we have a we have a list of things that we want to do next next week, we’re going to be doing the Martian the feature film, but we have a list of things that we’re going to do after that. You know, things like the expanse, things like first man, things like Interstellar, we have these stories that imbue that put real science and real history into the entertainment. But we want more. So if you have a movie or book a television episode, yeah, it’s really good. And 


the thing is, is get specific if you if there’s something that you really want people to see, like, if you know if it’s defying gravity, like tell us which episode because I don’t love defying gravity. And I only want to watch one of the episodes. If I have to. It will be one. But yeah, he’ll watch all 11 of them whenever. I think it’s 11 it’s whatever it was canceled. But you know, good 


smug about this show being canceled, 


oh, I don’t want anyone to 


lose their jobs. But no, seriously, we are. We are looking for suggestions, movies, books, television shows. If you are watching us live, feel free to put it in the chat. If you’re watching this after the fact on YouTube, posted in the comments. We check them out all the time and respond. And 


oh, last thing my mom wants everybody to know, that they need I know that they need to go watch the most I think the most recent episode of PBS, PBS is show Nova, which has been on the air for ever 1000 years, and they just did an episode on perseverance. And she said it made her cry. And you get to see. So you get to see like apparently a super multicultural, awesome group of scientists who made this happen. And she said it was super inspiring. So if you need to see something that is not meant to be as entertainment, go watch it. And it apparently if you have amazon prime, you can access it. So cool. My little tip for the week. 


Well, that is it for the Martian by Andy Weir. Next week when we check out the feature film, yeah. And then we’ll be going on from there. 

The Martian Ch. 23-25: LAUNCH ME INTO SPACE IN A CONVERTIBLE, BABY! | The Synthesis

Get locked & loaded as we dissect Mark Watney’s slow decent deeper into the depths of Mars. We cruise through the drama of surviving on Mars while Lacey goes off about some pet peeves and Alex succumbs to her witchy charms!

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, and welcome to the synthesis. I’m Alexander Winn. 


And I’m Lacey Hannan. And this is a show where we talk about science and entertainment. So get excited. Yes. 


This week we are talking about chapters 23, 24 and 25 of The Martian by Andy Weir. 


We have a little book club going through 


this. But first we need to talk about the news of the day, which is the landing of the perseverance rover, it touchdown just a couple of hours ago on the surface of Mars, and I think that’s pretty cool. 


I I don’t know who said it today. But it’s a it is a planet of robots, which I think is fantastic. I mean, in real life, it’s a planet of robots. And the Martian. It’s a planet of one one botanist, 


one botanist. Yeah, I especially. So perseverance is cool for a lot of reasons. First off is it’s a rover on Mars. But it’s also the it’s carrying a helicopter that is going to try to be the first powered flight on another planet, which is cool. And especially tricky considering that Mars’s atmosphere is only half of 1% as thick as Earth’s. So 


I heard today that the engines are based on 50 year old technology, like it was so good then, that they’ve just kind of reiterated a little bit, but it’s, it sounds like it’s pretty much the same thing, which I think is really cool. Like good on those scientists. 50 years ago. Yeah, I’m gratulations series. What was that? Like the 70s? 


Yeah. The other thing that I really enjoy about the perseverance rover is where it got its name. Have you heard about the male perseverance? So they held a contest among K through 12 students all across the country to name the new rover and a seventh grade student named Alexander Mathur, in Virginia, just got the ring of trustworthiness and genius. He wrote, he wrote an essay about how other rovers on Mars Curiosity, insight, spirit, opportunity, these are all qualities that we possess as humans. But the most important thing, the thing that will take us into space is perseverance. That’s the actual trait. You know, before curiosity before insight before spirit before opportunity, you have to have perseverance. 


Yeah, that’s all explorers have to have that. 


Exactly. And I just that is such a great little. 


Yeah. Nice little insight from a seventh grader. Good on you. That’s like 14 years old. Okay. smarty pants, 


doing good. 


I don’t really know what it plans on doing. 


It’s going to do a lot of the stuff that Mars rovers often do. It’s going to look for signs of life, it’s going to look for signs of past life, it’s going to be that test to try to see if I can get something to fly. It’s going to do some chemistry tests to see about supporting human life, you know, see if it can produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere and things like that. Oh, yeah. paving the way for people like Mark Watney. terraforming. Yes. For terraforming ha 


and in case you would ever like to try your hand at terraforming? Yes, we have a game for 


terrigenesis on iOS, Android, and Windows. Not really good. I just had to be done. There was no there was no getting around it. No, 


there wasn’t. 


That being said. Let’s go ahead and jump on into the Martian. 


Okay. I have a question. Question of the day. Listen. Okay, you guys, I just just to preempt the rest of the show. I’ve still got some major pregnancy congestion, so bear with me. And also a little bit of pregnancy brain where sometimes I don’t feel like doing the work. So Alex, why don’t you explain to us why what he’s doing with the solar panels and figuring out the dust storm and all that. 


Yeah. So the problem that we face as we start chapter 23 is Mark Watney has been driving to skapar le crater in the rover, and the people from earth who can no longer contact him have seen from satellites that there is a giant dust storm heading Marc’s way. But he didn’t know that because dust storms are very gradual things you don’t really notice that the air is getting easier and easier until you’re in the thick of it. So they were worried that this might be the end of Mark because he might not be able to get power for his rover power for his life support through this dust storm because he’s powering everything from selection they should have known wasn’t going to be the case because there’s like eight more chapters after he enters the dust storm so of course he’s not going to die. None of these characters check to see how long the book is, but whatever. So Mark finally figures out that there is another Storm because he’s standing on the edge of a crater and he looks out and it’s super hazy that way. It’s not hazy that way. He sort of does the math, he realizes, hey, there’s a dust storm. But the problem is, he doesn’t know the shape of the storm. He knows that there is one he knows it’s that way. But he doesn’t know if it’s like, he knows it’s to the west, I think. But he doesn’t know if it’s to the northwest or the Southwest. He doesn’t know it goes to West. Okay, so east. So yeah, so it’s on the east. So he doesn’t know which way to go, should he go north around this crater or South around this crater, you know, he’s, he’s up against a crater, so we can’t go straight, which way to go, he doesn’t want to go the wrong way, in which case, the power loss is going to be even worse. Yeah. So he needs to figure out a way to measure the density of the dust storm at three different places. And then compare them. Okay. So the idea is, if you if you measure it here, you measure it here, and then you measure it here, you can compare the numbers or those who can’t see what his hands are doing. It’s 40 kilometers between panels, and it’s straight north to south exactly line three points 


on a line, then you can get a sense that like, you know, if the northern one is a lot is is seeing a lot lower performance than obviously the dust storm is thicker to the north. And I’m not sure go south, if it’s the opposite, then he goes north, right. Okay, so what he does, you know, because there’s only one of him. And so his problem is that he can’t be in three places at once. And you have to measure it at three places at once. Because otherwise, the the information is invalid brainstorm, I’d be moving. So what he comes up with is, he’s going to drop three solar panels in three different places, or rather, drop two and then he will have one with him. And he takes a camera that is attached to the arm of the his spacesuit. And he just plugs the camera into the solar panels so that it has power. And he just records the whole day. So he doesn’t have to be there, he can just film it, and then go back and look at the tapes. 


So there are two cameras and his in his extra he VA because he has to have his three cameras and he can be at one. He has 


to have two cameras and then his eyeballs right third. So he he drops one with a camera, he drops another with a camera and then he drives to the third spot and just stands there and looks okay. And then he goes back, he records the the thing, the levels where he was and then he goes back collects the other two cameras checks the timestamp looks at what the levels were now 


Do you remember why he needed the resistors? Because that was the other thing that I was like, What? I’m slowly reading this. 


So without going into a whole lot of electrical engineering resistors basically reduce electrical current and turn it into heat. They’re basically deliberately inefficient. Okay, and so the problem is, if you just drop a camera on Mars, it’s going to freeze. Oh, yeah, cuz it’s really cold. Yeah, exactly. But what he knew was, he’s attaching this thing to a power source. And he’s not using the power for anything. He’s just checking to see how much power it is getting right. So he can just put a whole bunch of resistors together and basically make a heater. So he’s just going to string these things together, each one generates a tiny little bit of heat, but you can put so many of them together, that generates enough heat to keep the camera warm. 


Okay, so the resistors are connected to the solar panel. So that the solar panel has it’s, it’s sort of putting out power. 


Yeah, it’s putting out power to generate basic or to run basically a heater in a camera. Okay. Yeah, great. So that is where we pick up in chapter 23. is Mark is figuring this out, as he does going through the steps figuring out how to address this problem. And he’s thinking of the storm in terms of percent power loss. Yes, he knows that if the percent power loss drops below a certain point, he’s dead. And if it drops below a much higher point, he’s basically dead, because he won’t be able to get to the area’s foresight in time, 


right. And by the last to be there at a very specific time. 


Yes. And I love this, because this is one of those things that, you know, with the real science in the Martian, Andy Weir has built this world in which it feels like everything is just sort of inevitable. Everything is driven by physics, and not by story. And yet, what he has done by giving himself these physical, these physics based restraints, is that there’s a ticking clock. Yeah, he’s got what every great story needs to have in its third act, which is a deadline, because he has to get there they can’t slow down. And that is so perfect for the story. So he has to keep the power generation above a certain level in order to have enough time to get to Aries for so at this point in the story or, or the chapter we are, he goes into talking about how much he hates potatoes, and I have a question for everybody. Is there anything In this world that you hate as much as Mark Watney hates potatoes. 


I would I put this question to you? 


Yeah. My answer is J grape. No, no, my I actually I thought of a better answer. Yes, I have a thing that I hate as much as Mark Watney hates potatoes. And that is when my phone autocorrects correctly spelled words. It drives me up a while you get so mad. Yeah, I will be writing a word. And I’ll write like so. And then it’ll, it’ll autocorrect it to do. And I’m like, No, I wrote. So because I want to write so why are you changing this word that is perfectly correct and perfectly common. into some other word. Just stop it. 


I think that for me, it’s, there’s, there’s this. We see and design a lot like the core right now. trite sayings, trite phrases, live, laugh, love. Like, I hate them with an undying passion. And I don’t mind it if you have it in your house. Just don’t bring it in to mind. The right now the way that I’m encountering it the most often since I’m obviously not going to people’s homes is a dove chocolates. They’re, they’re delicious. They you open it up, and it’ll say something stupid, like, live laugh Dev. And I’m just like, oh, it contributed contributed to like, it says, Oh, that’s from dawn out of California. And you’re like, Oh, shut the fuck up. Dawn. 


Yeah, it’s like, let’s take fortune cookies and make them worse. Yes, 


exactly. I would rather you know, I remember when fortune cookies were good. Like the fortunes? Yeah. When we were kids were like funny or, you know, actually had a fortune or something. And now they’re kind of dumb. I would rather the dumb fortune cookies than the trite phrases. So yeah, I I get outraged. And I always read the dove sayings. And Alex is like, you don’t actually have to 


read those. You can just eat the candy. You don’t actually have to unwrap it and read your candy. 


I mean, I have to unwrap it. But I don’t. I don’t have to read I do have to it’s it’s a compulsion at this point. 


You know, the thing that I like about this question, oftentimes people ask like, what do you hate as much as you know, like, what makes you want to kill people or whatever? And you know, they’ll answer like, Oh, you know, I hate fast food. And you’re like, you don’t hate fast food enough to kill people. 


That that would make you you’d be in prison. 


Yeah, but I like the fact that your question how much What do you hate as much as Mark Watney hates potatoes? You know, he’s still eating the potatoes. Like, he doesn’t hate them so much. He’s still he’s still consuming them. He’s just really annoyed by them. And so you can actually answer this question reasonably. 


I don’t know. I think that he he might just absolutely hate them. But also, we just got a comment from Emad economists. So that hasn’t been 


soflo trash panda weighed in and said broccoli. eemaan economists said zucchini is what she hates. And then she said I had to turn auto cucumber off on my phone because that annoyed me so much. Listen, yeah, that’s, that’s a mana economist you can stay. This is why we keep 


like to that. 


Like literally made lasica. For those for those who can’t see the video here she is literally dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex. 


That was so good. Now, okay, on this topic, Mark says that when he if he gets back to Earth, obviously when if he ever returns to Earth, he’s buying a place in Western Australia because it’s on the opposite side of Earth from Idaho. And I’m just saying for a scientist, he was very imprecise about this. Because he’s wrong. It is not Western Australia. It is the Okay, so the antipodal point of not Yeah, I had to I had to pick a specific place. I couldn’t just use Idaho as a whole and Idaho’s rather large. So I picked I picked Blackfoot, Idaho because it’s the county seat of Bingham County, which produces the most potatoes in Idaho. fun little fact, it produces as many potatoes as Maine does. On the whole. 


I know nobody cares how much research you did and it’s reminding me why I’m married you. 


So I put in Blackfoot, Idaho and the antipodal point of Blackfoot is actually just out in the ocean somewhere but the closest city would be a port of francais of the French Southern territories. Which is, it is like I think straight north of Australia, but like, quite a ways away. So I would just like to point out that Mark was not as precise 


mark. brilliant man and a dumb. 


No, I didn’t say that. I did not say that. I said that. Okay, whatever. So 


Oh, so he Yes. He goes 


on to talk about something else that is driving him crazy. And it also drives me crazy. 


Okay, go ahead. 


He is driving the same path three times. And that sort of in an inefficiency is one of my least favorite things. 


I think that’s that’s one of those very insightful pieces of writing where he talks about, you know, how when you miss your exit on the highway, and you have to drive to the next exit, and you hate every second of it, because you know, that you’re just going to have, you’re getting further and further away from your goal. That, yeah, I felt that. Yeah, I think everybody knows what that feels right, 


inefficiency. And it’s not just in driving. But oftentimes, it is it it, like eats away at my soul, I think of like, if my soul had edges, and it would just started burning away the edges of my soul. I think by the time I die, there will be nothing left, because inefficiency makes me rage out that much. So just in case, so I guess I have two 


that that I hate as much as markets. And they’re both a little goofy. But I can’t help myself. I can’t help myself. Oh, man. 


So he is he measures the three points and he’s able to figure out good news. The storm is to the north, which is what he was hoping because he’s traveling south. This is another example as we’ve talked about before, of when you base everything on real science, and you make it make sure that everything makes sense. You get to throw yourself a bone every once in a while and it’s totally believable. Yeah, we totally buy this is not contrived writing. You know, it was a 5050 shot anyway. And it happened to break his way. Thank God. Yeah. And it just it works. And I love it so much. These are the kinds of things that I wish that I could just like sit Hollywood executives down and just like tape their eyelids open and make them watch so that they would stop doing stupid things and movies, cliches, yes. 


His next thing is he goes on to talk. So he decides his route, and how he’s going to quickly get there. And he’s going to drive due south for a while. Because he has to get around this. Yeah, this crater well, and just get away from the storm. He needs to be heading southeast. But he’s just going to go straight south for a long time to try to get away from the storm because he needs the power. Yeah. 


And then he’s going to travel essentially do E’s. Yeah. To get to the Huskers go, whatever. I don’t know how to pronounce this cap rally. skapar rally. Yeah, I know someone named scarpelli. So that’s where my head goes. 


But yeah, he’s basically making a triangle instead of going straight there. He’s going yeah, one way and then taking a right angle. And he mentions one of my favorite lines in today’s chapters. He says for every 90 kilometers of travel, he’s only making 37 kilometers of progress, because Pythagoras is a dick. And I just I just love that so much. 


I detail it was 


that and the next moment where he talks about reading Agatha Christie, that I just loved these two moments back to back first of all, Pythagoras is a dick and then he puts his murder his murderer prediction on paper. That takes a lot of guts because 


I’m not I’m a guy who does crosswords and pen Yeah, 


and I was sitting there going I didn’t know you were such a gambler you know because this is I am not a person who I cannot stand being wrong so while I often guess you know we’re we’ll watch procedural or a murder mystery or whatever I will often guess who it is and I’m often rate I’m pretty good at it. But I don’t like to I don’t like to tell anybody if if I’m wrong, I’m gonna feel foolish which is dumb like that’s not that’s Alex doesn’t make me feel that way. I will tell Alex who I think it is. But I will tell almost nobody else. The only i the only time I remember recently being wrong was knives out, which was a really well done movie. 


So he does mention, you know, he says at one point who knows how far south this storm goes, and I it was very humorous because I immediately thought, everyone knows who you are the only human alive right now who doesn’t know how far south this goes. Everyone on earth knows. They just can’t tell you. But he gets a very interesting opportunity, which is, which is a great little moment, he realizes that he’s going to be passing pretty close to the opportunity rover. And that is very interesting. You know, he’s already cannibalized one rover to talk to NASA. And here’s an opportunity to do another he could get a heads up if there’s any other obstacles in his way. There’s a lot of reasons to do it, he ends up not doing it. And I like the way he says that he says, I’ve defiled enough future historical sites for now. Yeah. Which is a great because I actually really appreciate that, like I love, you know, preserving historical sites. It’s very, you know, sort of important. But I also like the fact that he just tosses it out, like, he’s not going to defile this historical site, as if the entire route that he’s driving isn’t one giant historic, you know, like, as soon as there are people living on Mars, there’s going to be like an annual, you know, long distance jog along the Mark Watney route. Yes, every single spot he did a urine dump is gonna have a flag next to it. Like he is making history, every single step he takes, and he’s just like, No, I’m gonna leave the rover. We’re gonna need something for the people to look at. Like, like, man, man, you’ve made so many of these already. Yeah, 


I think he calls it the Mars highway. One was one. Yeah. 


Which I liked. Now. I need. I think actually, NASA has one. And I meant to bring it today. And I’m sorry that I didn’t. I will bring it next week. You guys. There is. Apparently NASA made a map of Mark Watney his rounds. Yes. And you can find it. Right. You didn’t tell me that? Did I not tell you you needed to tell me that? No. Oh. 


But yeah, you can look it up his exact route. You know, Andy, we’re being Andy Weir. He mapped it out. Well, Andy 


Weir has one and a NASA has one. Oh, I think they’re two different ones. And then I think the one on on the NASA website, I think that you can, like plan your own trip. Yeah. Which I think is hysterical. NASA’s This is actually pretty funny when it comes to 


that sort of thing. They’re cute little things a lot. Yes. By the way, an interesting fact about Mars. That is intriguing. Anybody who has played terrigenesis will know that Mars if you were to terraform, it is not like Earth in the sense that it’s got multiple broken up continents. Mars would have one giant ocean that dominates the northern hemisphere, and then the whole southern hemisphere basically be dry land. And one of the interesting things that that allows is something they talked about in the Mars trilogy. Once they’ve terraform to the planet enough for people to actually breathe out on the surface. There is an annual competition of people who jog around the world. They it’s a long distance running competition, a long distance, you know, ultra ultra marathon? Yeah, exactly. ultra, ultra, ultra, ultra, ultra marathon, as you run around the entire planet Mars, which is just such a cool tradition that could only exist on Mars, you can’t do that on Earth. 


So one of the reasons that he doesn’t go to opportunity, is he realizes that he believes he will get to the map. Yeah, it’s another psychological milestone. Again, I’m going to start harping on psychological milestones, because I think we should set them for ourselves because goals are good man. And we don’t talk about mental goals. So he does that. And I love this for him. I love that he, he realizes I really think I’m gonna get there. Yeah. Which is great. I was so annoyed that we didn’t get to see NASA’s reaction to seeing him outside of the storm, because we know that they lose us. And we don’t get to. That was a missed opportunity. Yeah, we didn’t see what I did. 


Yeah, I did. It was very obvious. 


Yeah. That’s called opportunity. Okay. 


So I think they did miss this window. To tell us how everybody was relieved. We know everybody would be relieved. But I just want to know what people have to say about it. Like, yeah, what does Annie say about it? What is Mindy say? Anyway, 


so he gets to skapar rally, and he decides that he’s going to enter it the next day. And then we get a delightful little line where he declares because he’s going to be going down. He’s going to be dropping elevation a lot going into this massive crater. He talks about how tomorrow morning, I’m going to be at rock bottom. Now, tomorrow, I’m going to be I’m going to descend to a whole new low and he just keeps riffing on it. I’m going to be in skapar Ellie’s favorite hole, and it’s, I appreciate it. Those are the kind of dad jokes that I’m here for. 


Listen, we went to a place in in New Zealand. called Jack’s blowhole with some friends of ours Jack’s blowhole is amazing. Thank you very much. 


Jack’s blowhole is awesome. It’s in the catlins in southern New Zealand that anybody who goes to New Zealand should visit Jack’s blowhole because then you’ll get to come home and tell people that you visited Jack’s blowhole. 


Okay, so 


yeah. And then at the very end of this chapter, 


we scary exposition again, I’m developing like an exposition phobia from this book whenever you cut away from Mark Watney or the people on earth, and you start getting a third person narration. Yeah. Oh, it gets scary. 


So it seemingly seemed like a geological history. Yeah. Yeah. But no, no, it’s about mark two. And suddenly, we see Yeah, the traveler is how the narrator the narrative just talks about him. We see that he hits some soft ground. And after after being on you know, this, this harder surface, and he flips the rover. 


Yep. And is a scary thought. 


Yes. And, of course, NASA is gonna be horrified. 


Yep. talks about how the solar panels get spilled like a deck of cards. And he, the torque rips apart the rover and the trailer and then he rolls and rolls and rolls rips them apart from each other not. 


Yeah, not, not in half. But yeah, rips them separate. And yeah, it’s a pretty brutal fall. And that brings us to chapter 24. 


At which point, because this is going to be probably the last opportunity that I have to force Alex to do with me. didn’t want to miss that opportunity. 


Oh my god, shut up. 


Love you stop. Um, 


I’m going to make him read this Convo with me because it’s, again, so well written. And you’re going to play ven cat. And I’m going No, wait, hold on. Is it Venkat and, Mitch, who is it? Hold 


on, hold on. 


We’re gonna get there. Just 


Just give me a second God, 


you know that nobody is rushing you right now. 


I don’t want to talk about Oh, it’s a little bit further along. You can start you can. 


Alright. So we pick up on Earth as the as they are reacting to the rover flipping and that is just got to be rough. That is, you know, to have him get so close to the end and then you don’t know if he’s okay. And like probably isn’t, you know, like this is he flipped his trailer. This is you know, there’s so many things that could have gone wrong. And yeah, that would be a very scary moment. 




This is by the way a sequence that got cut from the movie that isn’t they never did it in the movie is the the dust storm and rolling the rover, which is a shame because it would have been very spectacular. But yeah, it would have been good to see in the movie The people reacting to this Marlon. 


So and he talks about like the you know, NASA talks about how the rover is designed to handle a role. And Mark talks about how he was thrown around quite a bit but he thankfully wasn’t hurt. 


He says like curled into a ball and coward because that’s the kind of action hero I am. Which is a great line. 


Yep. And then we cut back to NASA. You ready for this? Alex? Right. Okay. So again, yeah, let’s let’s not just do the dialogue, like read the read the descriptive bits. Oh, yeah. Okay, hold on. We got to get our mics closer together because this is okay. Okay. 


All right. Your Monday. 


Yeah. Monday read the Morse code aloud. Rolled fixing now. What? 


That’s it been cat said over the phone. 


That’s all I said. She reported cradling the phone as she typed out an email to the list of interested parties. 


Just three words. Nothing about his physical health, his equipment, his supplies. 


You got me? She said. He left a detailed status report. I just decided to live for no reason. 


Funny. Venkat said, Be a smartass to the guy seven levels above you at your company. See how that works out? 


Oh, no. Mandy said I might lose my job as an interplanetary boy year. I guess I’d have to use my master’s degree for something else. 


I remember when you were shy. 


I’m space Papa Razzi. Now the attitude comes with the job. 


Yeah, yeah, just send the email 


already sent. 


Yeah, nice. 


I like that she 


calls yourself spade spots 


or paparazzi it’s just so good. 


You know, there’s a thing that I was actually thinking about in this chapter, which is in in writing in screenwriting and Novel Writing. there’s a there’s a belief among writers and they teach you this when you learn how to write is That it’s all about character growth, the character needs to change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story, they need to be a different person in some way. And that’s almost always true. There are some exceptions, I often point to Captain America as the exception that proves the rule 

because Captain America, the whole point of his character is that he doesn’t change over and over, he is confronted with the with a reason to change. And he holds his ground, he has exactly the same character in every movie as he is, in the opening scene of the first world changes around him. Exactly. He’s the guy who isn’t going to move. That’s his character. And, you know, interestingly, the Martian is kind of like that, like, this is a story about someone persevering. Perseverance. And not someone who changes really, I mean, like, obviously, you know, he changes in the sense of, of rising to the challenge. But this is the story of someone who is equipped to handle problems, not who has to change to, you know, sort of respond to problems. And so we don’t really get that, except with Mindy. Mindy is the one who grows over the course of this story. She is a different person than she was when we first met her, you know, Mitch, and the area’s three, crew and Mark, they’re all basically the same characters at the beginning and at the end, but Mindy has changed. 


Okay, I’m gonna see if I can poke holes on that by the time we’re done with this. All right. I’d like to see if anybody else has changed. Let us know if you disagree. I mean, you’re welcome to disagree with him. He is not in fact, always right. 


The woman who, like 10 minutes ago was talking about how much he hates to be wrong. I do hate to be wrong. So Mark sets about trying to flip his rover back over. Which is, by the way, another thing that I would have loved to have seen in the movie, because one thing that movies just don’t really do in space is depict lower gravity very much they depict zero G. And really, I think the expanse is the only time I’ve ever seen anybody tried to depict what it’s like to be in a lower gravity where you know, somebody pours a drink, and it takes longer, because it doesn’t come out as fast. I would love to see Mark Watney trying to flip his rover because on the one hand, it’s huge and heavy. But on the other hand, it’s in like, 1/3 gravity. Yeah. So he could probably do some sort of Superman kind of stuff. It would be interesting to watch. How much can you lift on Mars? 


Yeah. I mean, I like the way he does it. Yeah. So he takes his murder drill. 


Yep. And he has lucky cable 


and his lucky cable, which I just think is another great indicator of his sense of humor, because his lucky cable is the longest cable and he specifically picks it for that reason. And this is the cable that he had attached to his murder drill that murdered Pathfinder, Pathfinder. So I just like that he he has a named these things or given them some sort of designation. And he’s he is still making do with them. Which is funny. He’s not superstitious, this man. Yeah. Because otherwise he would not be using that cable. But anyway, he takes to the murder drill, and he takes a drill bit and he goes out to a rock. And he does what, like half a meter he drills in half a meter. And then he takes the cable back that’s connected one and two, is connected to the drill. He connects the other end to the rover. And then he just starts pulling on the cable, which is very taut. And it helps him bring the the rover back down on to all of its wheels. Yes. 


And he says he has Archimedes on his side. Yep. And I don’t know who Archimedes is. I’m Archimedes was from ancient Greece. He’s sort of the pioneer of simple machines, like very basic physics, how levers work and how pulleys work and that sort of thing. 


I probably learned about this and like sixth or seventh grade, very likely. And I had Mr. Lemke who was really rude to me. So I mostly tuned him out in science class. So I feel like I should know this, but I don’t sorry, Mr. Lucky, you’re lucky. Dick. 


Yeah, seriously. This is what you get. She doesn’t know what Archimedes is because you were announced. He does mention I there was a nice little cross connection here. Not that it was intentional. But in my head. He talks about drinking nothing tea, which is where you heat up water and you have nothing. And Lacey and I have been making our way through some TV shows recently and it occurred to me that you know who would enjoy nothing T is Ted lasso. Ted lasso is a fantastic show. on Apple TV, be sure to check it out. And it’s about an American who moves to England through various reasons, but one Other things that’s funny is he despises tea. He’s incredibly polite. He’s incredibly friendly, but just anybody who offers him tea he just doesn’t understand why anybody would drink this. It’s terrible. He would 


like some really, really funny and sweet and if you are Brooklyn nine, nine fan or a good place fan, I think you would scrubs, 


the showrunner of scrubs. So it has a similar kind of heart. 


So he also says 


he says something about buying beer for people when he gets back Oh, he’s gonna buy all the the guys help source and, and all of Bruce’s team. He’s going to buy them beers. And I thought it was really funny that he thought he was going to be buying anybody beers. Because if this man ever has, if this man gets back to earth and ever has to buy another beer in his life, yeah, I will lose. I would lose all faith in humanity. Yeah. 


Ever buying another baby shouldn’t have to come though. Yeah, 


he does. There’s a nice little moment where Mark has to go to horny jail, which I really appreciate. You know, bonk, go to horny jail. Because, you know, it’s literally been years since he has laid eyes on a woman. And by the way, the year before that was basically flying out to Mars where he wasn’t exactly hooking up with anybody. So I appreciated the the bit of humanity here that you know, like, he’s not a saint. He really, really, really just, it’s not just about survival. It’s also about getting laid. 


Yeah. Now, is there a label for being attracted to aliens? Because I feel like Star Trek would have addressed? 


Probably xeno sexual. Yeah. 


So he’s okay. Yeah. 


All right. I like that. 


Yep. So we also talked about how light works differently on Mars. Yep. I enjoyed that. tidbit. Would you like to go over it? 


Yeah. So it’s actually even more extreme on the moon, which Andy Weir goes into in his novel, Artemis, which is great. But yes, also a great book, which is that there’s not as there’s not nearly as much air on Mars, the atmospheric pressure is half of 1% of Earth’s. And the lack of air means that there’s less stuff in the air, there’s less dust and just, you know, general things, which means that the light doesn’t diffuse as much. As soon as it gets dark. It’s dark, and the shadows are black. It’s not like Earth where the sunset takes an hour of gradually diminishing light. It’s like the sunsets and you are instantly in night like you round a corner. Yeah. And 


you go from light to dark. 


Yeah. And they talk in artemus, the main character is actually able to hide in shadows behind boulders from people who are pretty close by because it’s just pitch black in the shadows, because there’s no air to diffuse the light. 


I hadn’t considered this the entire time we’ve been with Mark, which is like a year and a half at this point. And I thought it was I thought it was interesting that we’re just now hearing about it. I like that. I like that Andy Weir has he didn’t do all of the science upfront. Yes. You know, he didn’t Front Load it and then just tell you the story. He has been 


given goosing it. Yeah, 


yeah, rolling it out slowly. 


And I just feel like that’s a that’s a good way to keep my interest. Because I probably would have been like, No, I’m not reading this. If it had all been front front loaded, for sure. But by by divvying it up, he has, he gives us these interesting tidbits throughout, which also, show show off Watney, his, his his genius, his brain, whatever. And this isn’t like this isn’t one of those intelligent Yeah, 


this isn’t one of those pieces. That’s like a really big deal. It’s just not something that probably most of the audience has thought of. This is I’ve actually thought before, as much as I love live action adaptations of things like the Martian, or the expanse. I’ve actually thought before that what I would really love for somebody to tackle is an animated movie set on Mars or set on the moon. Because in an animated movie, you are able to change a lot more, you know, it’s totally understandable. You know, there are people who who sort of criticize, you know, Mars movies for filming in Morocco or filming in Arizona. And it’s like, you know, what are they going to do? Like, they’re not going to go to Mars to find it? Yeah, like, you got to do this. You know, it’s it’s impractical to film the whole thing on green screen, just because you didn’t want anybody to recognize that one mountain in the middle of nowhere, Morocco, like, come on. And you know, with the expanse, if you read the expanse books, they spend a lot of time on the float, as they call it in zero G where they’re moving through the rooms and through the hallways of their spaceship just floating. And in the TV show, they’re walking around, they they make much heavier use of mag boots where they are magnetically clamped to the ground and you just sort of like ignore the fact that their hair isn’t floating, whatever, they filmed it on Earth, it’s a TV show you move on. But this kind of thing, you know, the the low gravity level, the shadows on Mars, things like that would be so easy to do in an animated setting where you can just change the gravity level and all of your fluid site simulations, as you’re animating change to fit that gravity level, you can just change the light diffusion value, these sorts of things. I would really love for somebody to take a crack at telling a story on Mars in an animated venue, and integrating all this stuff. Because I think it’d be very unexpected for a lot of people what Mars looks like, or how things move how people walk on Mars. You know, in the Mars trilogy, they talked about how people new to Mars, when people first arrive on Mars, they’re constantly slipping, because they don’t weigh as much. And so they’re choose don’t get as much traction. So they’re always falling down. And so you can you can tell who’s new on Mars because they’re the clumsy ones. That’d be great to integrate into something. 


Yeah, it would be. 


Yeah. Okay, so back to the actual Martian. Mark goes into a reverie about Thanksgiving driving to Sandusky, and how his dad, a cautious driver always drove with his hands on tended to and I want to know. So I have a cousin who’s about 10 years younger than me. And so obviously, and then her state, you can’t get a driver’s license until later than my state. My state allows it at 14 which is 


sorry. Sorry, 


what were farmers in South Dakota? What can I say? Yeah. But she said that they now teach four and six instead of 10. And two, and I’m sitting here going? Yeah, because it’s apparently about the about the airbags going off your arms are a lot more likely to like be shattered. Yeah, I guess at 10 and two, then at four and six. And first of all, I want to know if this is just like a one off place that teaches it? Or does anybody know? Is this what they actually teach? I meant to look it up. But again, it didn’t happen. 


But we have any like teenagers in the audience or people in like their early 20s, who just recently learned how to drive 


or just like across the world, like what do they teach what is what is considered the norm? 


Because I’ve heard that I’ve heard the foreign seven or whatever, but it doesn’t, but it’s not to me well, and I’ve never seen anybody actually doing well. That’s not a thing that anybody I’ve ever seen in movies or in real life does as they drive their car. 


It probably because it probably doesn’t feel as like relaxed. Yeah, but I would like to I have tried to decide what would this dad would dad Watney changed his hand position if he had no, no. I’m gonna say no. 


Because I’m gonna say yes. Because clearly he’s a rule follower. I mean, he does. So 


when you’re like in your 50s do you? Do you change? Do you really change? I mean, look at our No, never mind. 


Never mind. I feel like this is the week that we get off on on diversions. I like how I was like, Alright, back to the Martian, let’s talk about driving techniques in South Dakota. This is this is the week where we go, don’t call me out. Oh, alright. So End of Chapter 24, he gets a very exciting moment, which is when he picks up a hab signal from the nav he they have reprogrammed the nav to be releasing the Aries three signal so that it can guide him in which is very clever. You know, like, he didn’t have to do that Andy Weir didn’t have to put that moment in. But it’s just a cool little thing. Yeah, that NASA is still helping however they can they can do this one thing to help mark out. And so they’re gonna do it. And it was just a nice moment. Yeah. And then and then we ended with, as I put it in my notes, scary exposition. Or maybe not so scary. Yes. I think it’s literally the first time in this book that we get third person. NARRATION sort of from the point of view of Mars. When it’s not impending doom, 


I feel like this is Mars. His first dance party, a dance party of one. Yeah, little rave. Yeah. Minor rave. Because he celebrates. Yeah, he’s super excited. Yeah. And you know, 


and I love these little these moments. I love how it’s written where it refers to the traveler instead of Mark, it really feels like it’s from the perspective of Mars, that it’s not just a book. It’s not from a character’s perspective. It’s, it’s the silence of this environment, which is very cool. It’s the 


fly on the wall, except for flies can’t exist on Mars. Yeah. metaphorical. Okay, so we’ve got chapter 25. And we are reading the math modifications. And I read it like a fiend. And I was, 


well before I find before we even get to the math modifications, I do love the fact that as Soon as Mark is back in contact with NASA, they’re like, what have you been doing with your urine? And he’s like, I’ve been dumping it outside, and they’re like, preserve all water, don’t do any more urine dumps, and it’s like, Guys, he’s got this. Like, he’s gonna be leaving in like two weeks. 


Well, but he’s fine. I don’t know 


that that urine is important. 


Oh, no, I’m not saying that they don’t have a good point. What I’m saying is that it’s the instant they can communicate with him, they are back to like ordering him around. He was complaining about this earlier, that he, they they sort of won’t shut up with telling him what to do. And he’s like, I guys, okay. And it’s like the first thing they say to him, it’s like, stop doing that.   


I too, don’t like authority. So I have major problems with authority. And I would, thus I could not be in the military or be an astronaut or a police officer or anything else like that. It would not work for me. 


So again, it’s okay, because she’s the leader of a company with a bunch of employees. So you know, 


the answer to 


I do like this line that when Mark realizes all of the modifications when they send him the list of what he’s going to do to lighten the load of the Mavs. He sums it up best by saying you’re sending me into space in a convertible. 


Yeah. And that I have to admit, this scene in the movie, I think is my favorite scene in the entire movie, just the way that bt long and short allergy for a play this scene is so just sort of dry. Hilarious. It’s it. They do a fantastic job. 


I mean, I believe you, but we’re going to watch it next. So like, yeah, leave something imagination. 


Yeah. So the next thing we so they jump to, 


to the Hermes, and they have a rescue plan in place. I didn’t. So from what I understand, they are going to get into a specific spot. And they’re going to get very close like to that they need to get within a certain trajectory. Right? Yeah. And then the mave for gets into a certain gets a certain distance. And then one of the guys has to go out and get Mark from the map. 


Yeah. So basically, imagine in your mind, sort of like look around the room, wherever you’re sitting and draw a line, like something is flying through the room, and then draw a diagonal line across the room. Somewhere in the room, those two lines are going to intersect. Yeah, except maybe not. Because they could be higher or lower than each other. There’s a point at which they intersect on two dimensions. But you’re wondering where they’re going to be in three dimensions. Right. Okay. And so they are when they talk about the intercept point, it’s where in space is the Hermes is trajectory, going to intercept with the Mavs trajectory, launching from the surface of Mars? And so there are a few considerations. The first is the intercept distance, which is when one of them gets to that point, how far apart are they going to be? And the other is the intercepts velocity, which is, I mean, if they cross each other’s paths, and they’re only within 10 meters of each other great, but if one of them is going, you know, 15 miles an hour faster, it’s like, okay, you just wave at him as he goes by. So what they’re doing is they’re having to figure out how can they get to the right intercept distance, but do it at the right intercept velocity, so that back can go out and grab him that he’s not just gonna fly past and, you know, just be a blur as he goes by? Yeah. Yeah. So Martinez is piloting the math, he’s going to remote pilot, the math Mark isn’t even going to have controls, he’s literally stripping the control panel out of the math, Martinez is going to fly it up. And they’re just going to have to hope that the the trajectories line up properly, so that back can go get him in, because giving some ranges, you know, he’s like, if it’s if it gets up this high, it’s like jumping onto a moving train. And I don’t really know that I can do it. But you know, as long as we keep it within the certain range, we should be good. 


I can’t imagine like, I feel like everyone would be so nervous. I mean, I know that they’re all experts in their field, and they’re, they’re highly capable, and they’ve been given weeks to prepare for this. But simultaneously, yikes. Yeah. 


They better be game day players. Yeah. You know, but the other thing about this is one of those things that I I tried to tell people whenever I can about science and math, which is that on the one hand, yes, it’s incredibly complicated to calculate the trajectory. The spaceship through space. But on the other hand, in a weird way, it’s kind of simple. Because being in space means that there are so many factors that you don’t have to weigh in. You don’t have to weigh in air, like air resistance, you don’t have to weigh in, you know, gravity as much you’re in freefall, like there are all these things you don’t have to worry about. Yeah, so really, it just becomes this. You care about velocity and distance. That’s it. Those are your two tools that you have to play with. And so in a weird way, it actually becomes simpler. So I feel like yes, these astronauts would be super nervous about this. But on the other hand, I feel like, you know, they’re experts. They’ve trained in this and so it’s probably not too overwhelming because they know how this works. They met last year Martinez, unless you’re Marty Martinez, 


who’s like, just so frustrated at the beginning of this chapter, because, you know, he’s only given a couple of shots at dealing with something even remotely similar in his training before they left Earth. Yeah. But as Louis points out, they’ve got two weeks. And what we know is by the end of it, he’s, he’s successful every time unless it’s a failure. Like, 


it’s just as there’s nothing you can do. It’s just like, oh, what if the math blows up halfway? 


Well, okay, okay. There’s nothing you can do there. That is a that is a that is a pointless, 


pointless exercise 


exercise. So we get an we get him. We get we go back to Mark Watney. And we see him separating hydrogen again. 


Yes. And this is why a different way to do any urine dumps because they actually do need the water. 


Yes. And he is doing a hydrogen. He’s separating it in the trailer, and then using the hose to get the hydrogen to the rover where he can just take a tank of the hydrogen over to the map. Yeah. Which I thought like I thought the way that they explained it now, I just kind of did an overview. I don’t know if you really want to deep dive into it. But I thought it it’s on page 335 in case you want to read it. I thought it was really well written. I thought it was understandable. Again, just the real science and this book I love I love how it I would consider myself like the ultimate layman. And I understand that so neat. That’s all you need. Yep, yeah. And so he’s pissing rocket fuel which I 


enjoyed phrase. 






we have him talking to Johansen 


Yep. who promises to Roy his body through love making wild passionate love, wild 


And really it’s Martinez who’s just like an excellent best friend. Yeah, it’s it. So what is happening is Johansen is talking to Watney. And she leaves for a minute and Martinez takes over. And he doesn’t tell Watney that he has taken over the communication, because they’re not talking. It’s not like voice 


Yeah, it’s a text conversation done to johansens account. 


Yeah. And so she gets mad at him, especially especially because Johansen is what sleeping with what’s his face back with back. So I just thought it was cute. And I was like, oh, Martinez, you’re such a good friend just to like, you know, harass her and him and just make light, which is good. Um, 


so mark is doing modifications to the nav and finally he looks up and he’s done. Yes, that’s weird. It is. I feel like we’ve been through so much in this book with Mark that I feel like that’s almost as weird for us as it is for him. He’s He’s so busy all the time. The idea that there’s literally nothing left to do. There are no problems left to solve. It’s just time to sit in a chair and wait for Martinez to rock at you off this planet. Wow. That’s, that’s heavy, as it were. Heavy. 


I think that what is really 


I what I really enjoy about Martinez is to me, I think he has the most faith that they will see Watney and what and he will survive this. In my words, not not Martinez, but he’s talking to Lewis. And he essentially says, you know, we’ll have him in our hours and 24 hours. And I was just like, 


oh, you sweet, sweet, gentle, faithful man. Well, I 


loved it. You know, the other thing that’s nice about Martinez is he’s he is established as the one who sort of has faith. You know, he’s the one who’s religious. And there’s a whole conversation about him telling Louis you need to have faith. And she says, you know, I’m not religious and he says faith and mark. You know, he’s the one who has faith. And oftentimes, faith is represented, especially in media. But even in just in real life, faith is represented as a passive thing. Faith is something that you just, you just release your your sort of your power, you know, I have faith that it will work out. I’m not going to do anything about it. I’m just going to trust that it will. But I like the fact that Martinez is specifically set up as the one who has the most faith. And he is also set up as the one who’s like, sort of kicking his own ass to make this happen. 


Yeah, he’s very active in his faith. Exactly. And the faith is not just in, in God, it’s in the people around him. 


Yeah, he’s faith and capability. Yeah. 


So he’s saying that he has faith in Watney. But in saying that, and saying Watney will be here in 24 hours, he’s also saying he has faith in the rest of the crew. 


Yeah, faith in himself, process faith in the tools. And I just I love that. Even the religious guy in this incredibly scientific story is a scientist, you know, he has faith. And he’s going to do it again and again, and again, to make sure he gets it right. 


But what is of fun little parallels, you have the Hermes three prepping themselves to, you know, get mark. And then you’ve got all of these scientists back on Earth. And you’ve got Mitch, who’s totally nervous. He is the other person outside of Martinez and Lewis, who’s probably the Who is the most invested and wanting safe return. And he’s hyper nervous. And if he is, because he’s got nothing to do, he’s helpless. Yeah. And I feel like if he had something to do if he had a way to contribute, at this point, he would be less nervous, and it’d be more focused on this is what I can do. These are the steps and it just speaks to how helplessness, the feeling of helplessness can completely change your emotional capacity, because you’ve got Mark Martinez, who is who has, he has his job cut out for him. And things could go awry, and he has to be able to be there to deal with it and fix it. Whereas midges sitting, and wherever, 


everybody, nothing, everybody on earth is helpless because of light delay, because they literally could not help even if they wanted to, because they’re not going to hear about what happened until it’s already too late to respond. 


Yeah, it’s like a 12 minute light delay, 


I think 12 minute one way one. So if they hear something and respond, it would be 24 minutes, which means it’s already over. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s got to be a real feeling of helplessness. And also, by the way, something that is sort of new for NASA. I mean, like in the world of the Martian, this is the area’s three missions. So they would have had to, or really three massive launches that would have gone down like this, that they would not have been able to respond, they would have just been able, they would have just been watching. But you know, in, in real NASA, that’s everything we’ve done has been launching from earth or from the moon, which means that you’re close enough to interact well. And, 


you know, up until this point, even when they haven’t been in communication with Mark, they’ve had something to do. Yeah. And now, the time has passed for them. Yeah, their work is done. Now we can we go back to mark, and we learned that he has 41 potatoes left until starvation, which is and he was eaten. 


Yeah. Oh, my soul, like four days worth of food. 


I just that like makes me so sick to my stomach. Yeah. And you know, he probably would have cut it back. The thing that we are not that we have not seen anybody talk about yet? Is his weight loss. Yeah, you know, he hasn’t said anything about it. Nobody from NASA has brought it up. So I don’t know if in the book they kind of reveal like, Watney is a skeleton walking, or if it’s just something that because movies are such a visual medium that that’s why we see it. Yeah. And it’s terror. It’s It’s so 


like, jarring in the movie. Yeah, 


it’s grotesque and a lot of ways. So he is now facing his own death. Which I think is interesting because he has been on a death trap of a planet for, you know, over a year and a half. And this is he’s he’s encountered lots of deadly situations. But this is the thing that could ultimately kill him. And nothing you can and there’s nothing he can do about everything every other time. There’s pretty much something he can do about it. If he lives through the thing, he can do something right. And this time, if the mave goes off course if anything bad happens his only option to him is to suck down nitrogen until he falls asleep and dice. Which is it’s just like, luckily, there, there are two ways he could go out here he either explodes and doesn’t obviously doesn’t know what happened instantaneous. Yeah, it’s instantaneous, or he has to do this nitrogen thing, which is sad and depressing and all of that. But I will say that at least it’s not painful. It’s like the it’s like the way people talk about drowning, where it’s which I’m terrified of drowning you guys like no joke. The only reason I learned how to scuba dive is because I was hoping that it would get me over my fear of drowning. It didn’t. But I do love scuba diving. It. You know, there’s there’s something nice about knowing that it’s not dying by fire. Yeah, you know, seriously. 


But we are left with this sort of finality of the chapter. He says I am leaving Mars today, one way or another about fucking time? And that is just Yes, 


it is. It is a beautiful ending. But you skipped something. Oh, good. I yeah, he talks about the jobs he’s had. And I think it’s funny that he brings the blue collar to a white collar explorer story. No, because he’s an astronaut. He’s an engineer. He’s a scientist. These are the some of the first labels that you would give this man. And he talks about how he has been a modern day farmer, a trucker, and a construction worker. Yeah. And I love that he is acknowledging all of this physical work this blue, this more blue collar work that he’s had to do, in an effort to keep himself alive. Yeah. And I don’t know, to me, there’s just something there’s something very human like, it’s, it’s kind of all encompassing, but in one person, have, we live in a world where you have to have the blue collar workers, you have to have the white collar workers, you have to have these people who can do all of these different jobs. Because if suddenly you don’t have people working at the laundromat, or at the at the fast food places, there’s a whole section of life that you no longer have access to. And it’s important to these people are important. their jobs are important. And somehow, Andy, we’re recognized to that, and put it into what Mark Watney said, and I just thought it was a little bit of beautiful philosophy. Yeah. And then he, and then we get the end of the chapter, which 


I loved. Drumroll, please. So, 


and he’s not shedding a tear for Mars, which I love. Yeah. Because he’s, he’s done. Yeah, he’s ready to go. And I like that. He’s not being sentimental about it. Yeah. 


That was fun for a while. Let’s go home. 


Yes, we’re done. And 


I wanted to read ahead. So bad, but I didn’t do it. 


Yep. And that brings us to the final episode. Next week, we are going to be reading the last two chapters of the Martian, it’s probably going to be about the same length of episode, if not maybe a little bit longer, because one of these chapters is more than twice as long as the average chapter. Okay, great. So, yeah, two chapters. So 


not the final episode of the synthesis, just a book. 


Yes, we we here at the synthesis, we’re going to do one more chapter of the Martian novel, and then we are going to do a special episode about the Martian the movie, we’re going to be talking about how it differs from the book and what changes they made, what they kept and how they represented realistic science in a film medium. For something that requires so much exposition in the book to explain how things work. I’m sure it was a huge challenge to adapt that into something where you don’t have somebody writing for pages and pages and pages to tell you about the process. 


And did we talk about? Does the one you like by the movie or something Do you get behind the scenes? Or like is there a director’s cut, or there is a director’s cut, which I think is probably the one that we’re going to watch, but I’ll need to check what I own. Okay, I think I own them both. And yeah, we’re gonna be talking about the movie, we’re going to be talking about some deleted scenes, as well as the area’s three promotional videos that they made. And 


so it might take more than one episode to do all of that. Maybe we’ll see. We’ll see. But we’ll keep you apprised of the situation. 


Yep. So be sure to tune in next week, same time as always, 530 Pacific on YouTube live for the next episode of the synthesis. 


Exciting now, guys, 


we’re almost done. Indeed. 


Okay. All right. That’s it for today.