'The Martian': The Upcoming Matt Damon Flick Has NASA Excited--Find Out Why

The Martian, starring Matt Damon, is a film based on a fictional book written by Andy Weir. The novel and film tell the story of an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars. While The Martian is a work of fiction, Weir took great pains in making it as accurate as he possibly could by doing online research. Perfecting technical details in The Martian was important to the software engineer-turned-author.

In translating The Martian from the page to the big screen, director Ridley Scott worked with NASA to make Mars and space exploration technically and visually accurate. Green answered questions about rockets and habitats and allowed Scott and the crew to see prototypes NASA was building for astronauts to land on and explore Mars.

"What [NASA's] done in the last 50 years is quite extraordinary, and I hope the film does it justice," Scott said.

The NASA director of planetary science, Jim Green, says science fiction tales such as The Martian are important to our culture and give us inspiration to what we can try achieving in the future.

"Science fiction is extremely important in our culture. It's ingrained in what we do, but it really projects a vision of the future. Something that we aspire to. What I really enjoyed about the book and movie is how close to reality it can be. It's just around the corner for us."
As a matter of fact, NASA believes we're about twenty years away from an astronaut landing on Mars. Nothing that has landed on Mars has been able to leave the red planet so far, but there's hope that one day, a way will be found to visit the planet and come back.

Once Fox bought the film rights to The Martian, screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, Daredevil) had a goal in mind--to turn The Martian into a "love letter to science" as star Matt Damon explains.

"The first thing [Goddard] said was 'I want this to be a love letter to science. We had a long conversation about that and how that's a really wonderful thing to put out into the world right now. And I don't have any lofty expectations but I hope some kids see it and geek out on the science, enjoy it, and maybe it's one thing in their life that pushes them in that direction."
The Martian might just be a love letter to NASA, as well, as explained by Ryan Bradley for Popular Science.
"Space—and a wildly expensive, risky, and long manned mission to Mars in particular—cannot simply be cool. It must be compelling... It has to be more than an idea, too. Everything is advertising and everything is political, particularly with a public agency funded by our tax dollars. So if you want to understand why it is that NASA loves The Martian and is so gung ho for this movie, you have to realize that this movie more or less presents exactly their future vision, minus all the drama."
The Martian, a story that's based on science, hits theaters October 2 and already has science fiction fans everywhere excited.

Are you looking forward to The Martian?

[Photo by Bill Ingalls (NASA) / Getty Images]