EPIC FAIL: NASA Says Making Movies About Mars Will Help Us Get There

How Matt Damon could rocket NASA to Mars in real life

marketwatch.com / By Jennifer Booton / Published: Oct 2, 2015 7:58 a.m. ET

Hollywood is hoping for a blockbuster opening weekend of the sci-fi thriller “The Martian.” But the film is drumming up public interest in NASA’s lofty Mars missions, too.

Public support is seen as crucial to the agency as it works to make due on a promise to send humans to the red planet within 20 years. As excitement regarding the potential to travel to, land, and possibly even live on Mars grows, scientists say it could prop up NASA’s missions and help secure ongoing funding.

This week, a number of scientists heralded the film’s factual accuracy, NASA announced a breakthrough discovery regarding flowing water on the red planet, and a rare blood moon on Sunday attracted a significant amount of attention on social media sites.

The momentum has set the film up for a solid opening weekend, with Fandango reporting that pre-sales for “The Martian” are exceeding those of the 2013 sci-fi thriller “Gravity.” Box office tracking company BoxOffice.com estimates the film will rake in $56 million this weekend.