My Letter to Mark Watney

An open letter to Mark Watney
“I am definitely going to die up here … if I have to listen to any more god-awful disco music.” – Matt Damon on playing Mark Watney in The Martian.


Dear Mark Watney,

You were stranded on Mars after your friends left thinking you were dead and woke up with a metal pole in your stomach. Ouch. With how far luck goes, you got a pretty good deal, apart from you know, being left on Mars with a metal stick in your stomach. At least you’re alive! You had to perform surgery on yourself, while conscious, with only a staple gun to stop the bleeding. I bet you weren’t thinking you were lucky then.

You weren’t only stranded, you were stuck there until the next Ares space mission landed which was a very long time away. So you started thinking of how to grow food on Mars. Thank God for botany! And human waste! And science! You grew potatoes out of your own poop and Mars’ sand and gave them water by extracting the hydrogen from the hydrazine in rocket fuel. You do blow yourself up at first though. But you then succeed in growing crops and in turn colonize Mars! A round of applause for Mark Watney everybody! Too bad you blow all your crops up later. What’s with you and blowing stuff up? You’re not Jason Bourne!

You are super smart though. You remembered that NASA had sent a probe up to Mars in 1997. You bring it back and fix it. Without help on Earth though, you would’ve never been able to reach NASA. Luckily, Venkat Kapoor, the director of the Mars missions, figured out what you were trying to get and rushed to the company it was made in to see if they could establish a signal. You soon had communication with Earth but couldn’t have detailed conversations with them. Luckily, you found a chart that told you how to use numbers as letters (a hexadecimal language chart). You soon started talking about how to get back to earth and what you needed to do to survive. I would also consider you being very lucky when you found that one of your crew mates had video games on his laptop. As you can see, there’s a recurring pattern here of luck. You were very unlucky though to be stuck with disco music. I would’ve put it under the rocket when you left Mars.

That was one crazy escape plan NASA came up with. Slingshot the Hermes around Earth to get back to Mars, you had to get rid of the windows, chairs, and basically everything else on your rocket and had to use a tarp instead of a sealed top when you blasted up into orbit, your friends then had to improvise and blew up part of the Hermes (again with the explosions!), and catch you in space. That wouldn’t work so you, Mark Watney the space pirate, had to cut open your spacesuit and fly like Iron Man to your commander. At least now you have a great story to tell your kids, your students, and everybody else. Imagine a student bragging to his friends “I went on a world tour!” You’d just come up and say “I went to Mars, colonized it, and got to fly like Iron Man in space. And you’re bragging about a world tour?” That smug look couldn’t be wiped off your face.

Thanks for being a great source of entertainment and excitement for me and people all around the globe!

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