I just finished reading The Martian, the recent bestselling novel that got made into a major motion picture. It’s a very gripping story that will keep you reading until the very last page and I enjoyed it immensely. As I was reading the novel, a humorous twist came to mind that could have happened but fortunately didn’t.
So far, so good.
I just drove 70 kilometers on the rover, which was how far I wanted to travel today. The juice on the solar panels are running low, so now’s a good time to call it a day and let the batteries recharge. In the meantime I unloaded the tent from the trailer and have set up camp to spend of the day resting in preparation for tomorrow’s long drive.
So this begins the most perilous part of my trip but it’s one that must be done if I want to get off Mars. And I certainly do. Each day I hope to get a little closer to the Schiaparelli crater which is where the landing base is and also my ticket out of here. There’s a rocket ship there that I’ll use for my eventual rendezvous with the Hermes mission on its way to rescue me, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, I’ll just relax and enjoy a few potatoes.
Man, is it boring inside this tent. Nothing to see but the same green color of the interior and the 70’s TV reruns on Martinez’s laptop I brought in with me. Something’s missing, and I know what that is.
I brought along a family portrait that was taken years before this ill-fated mission. There’s me, along with my wife and my two sons, the very people who are awaiting my return home on Earth. I find renewed strength and determination every time I look at this portrait, so I need to put it where I can see it.
The wall of this tent looks like a good place. And it just so happens I have a hammer and some nails with me, so I think I’ll put down this pen and do some quick hammering. I’m sure the fabric of this tent can handle one nail despite the enormous pressure from the pumps supplying the oxygen I need to breathe.
Well, here goes.
A few minutes later, at mission control in Houston, Mindy’s mouth dropped open as she viewed the feed from the surveillance satellite orbiting Mars. “Venkat, I think you should see this. There’s been an explosion.”
Venkat came over and stood behind Mindy as he caught a glimpse of the screen. “An explosion? From what?”
Mindy zoomed in on the satellite feed and could see Mark Watney’s body lying on the Martian terrain while surrounded by tattered pieces of canvas. His right hand still gripped the hammer and his surprised expression was permanently etched on his face.
“Idiot,” Venkat sighed.