Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

The Martian

PostedOctober 4, 2015

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Anchor Lede: A book called “The Martian” has gone from self-published on the web, to bestseller, to a major motion picture opening this weekend. Its author is being praised for the story’s technical accuracy.

Randy Atkins: “The Martian” is a novel about astronaut Mark Whatney who accidentally gets left by himself on Mars. Author Andy Weir says he needed Whatney to be a good engineer.

Andy Weir: The whole book is a series of engineering challenges that his life depends on.

Randy Atkins: Weir is a computer programmer who wrote the book for fun, and a relatively small web audience of…

Andy Weir: …kinda science dorks like me.

Randy Atkins: He says reader feedback helped him get facts right.

Andy Weir: And I wanted to be technically accurate because I knew that was important to the readers that I had. I never dreamed that it would have mainstream appeal.

Randy Atkins: But now Matt Damon is playing Whatney and, though it wasn’t his goal, Weir says he hopes the character inspires future engineers. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.