The science of ‘The Martian’: 5 TED-Ed Lessons to help you understand the film


The Martian stars Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut — and Mars as the red planet of doom. Can our hero survive life on Mars? Can NASA find a way to bring him home? To help you better understand the film — and the scifi novel that came first — we’ve picked 5 TED-Ed Lessons that explore some key Martian life skills.


Mars is a cold, mostly dry, lifeless place. The hostile environment of the red planet is just one of Mark Watney’s 99 problems in The Martian. What other obstacles must he overcome to survive? This TED-Ed Lesson explains the main challenges of life on Mars.


Mark Watney isn’t a chemist. Yet his working knowledge of chemistry turns out to be crucial in The Martian — especially when it comes to making rocket fuel. To learn more about any of the elements, explore this interactive periodic table.


In The Martian, Mark Watney quickly discovers that his fluency in math can mean the difference between life and death. But is math the language of the universe? This lesson explores the idea.


What is a calorie? How many calories are required to stay alive? When you’re hungry on Mars, it’s crucial to know how the human body works. Test your own knowledge about food energy in this lesson.


The Martian is science fiction. But the true history of space travel is just as fascinating. Learn more about the life of a real NASA astronaut in this lesson.

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