In scenes when Damon makes contact with the crew, he types and reads messages back in real time, when there would likely be a delay of many minutes to get messages to Mars and back.
Nor does the movie allude to the dangers of radiation in space, and the risk of cancer that would likely stalk the Mars pioneers if they made it back to Earth.
Not to mention that NASA is still working on the machinery to rocket humans to Mars. The US space agency has begun testing the Orion deep space capsule, but its first manned flight test may not be until 2023.
“I think the reality is that even if all those technologies were ready — if the Orion was magically ready tomorrow — we would be a no-go for launch because the human body is not yet ready for us to go to Mars,” said Camille Alleyne of the International Space Station program science office.
But space policy expert John Logsdon said he expects the story will inspire young people to keep working on ways to get there.
“I think the bottom line of both the book and the movie is yes, it is worth doing,” he said.
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