Let’s Dig Into The Martian’s Impressive In-Universe Viral Campaign

It’s been a good year for in-universe promotional campaigns so far, but The Martian‘s has really raised the bar, utilizing an impressive amount of original material to craft a pretty compelling look at the film’s world.

We’ll start with the Complete Mission Guide, an in-universe promo put out by NASA for the Ares space program. It’s a very slick look at the mission, with a ton of material to dig through about the tech and crew behind it. It’s also a great primer for the future the story takes place in.

The Martian is set in the year 2035, centering around the third manned mission to Mars. Space tech has apparently advanced quite a bit over the past two decades, as the ship carrying the six man crew will only take months to reach the red planet (current technology would take well over a year and a half).

the martian hermes timeline

That ship, the Hermes, was assembled in low orbit via a SpaceX orbital station (we knew you would get there eventually SpaceX!), and features artificial gravity generated by a rotating gravity drum.

the martian hermes ship 2

The mission is being led by one Commander Melissa Lewis, and also includes pilot Rick Martinez, surgeon Christopher Beck, chemist Alex Vogel, technician Beth Johanssen, and botanist Mark Watney. Their assignment is to spend a little over a month studying the geology of the Acidalia Planitia landing site, looking for evidence of subsurface ice.

the martian ares mission crew

Each of these astronauts is profiled in-depth in the Mission Guide, along with some of the technology being utilized by the mission. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the setting, and the speculative science behind it. Check it out in full here.

From there we can move on to the “Ares Live” YouTube account. The first video posted, “Farewell,” is a promotional live-stream produced in the lead-up to the mission, introducing us to the crew:

Next up is “The Right Stuff,” a glimpse into the psychological testing involved with vetting these astronauts. Each member of the crew spent 10 days in isolation as a training exercise, before being evaluated by a NASA psychologist. Isolation training? Talk about foreshadowing…

Seriously though, why can Aquaman control whales?

And this one is my favorite of the bunch: a very special episode of StarTalk with… yup,  Neil deGrasse Tyson. Man, he has aged well.

“Leave Your Mark” is another “official” promo spot, this time featuring Mark Watney’s physical training for the mission (and some crafty product placement):

The final video on the channel is interesting given it actually takes place during the events of the movie itself, not before it. Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, and the world rallies behind the rescue mission. Despite sort of spoiling the film’s story, it’s a pretty damn powerful lead in if I do say so myself. #BringHimHome indeed.

And now you’re ready to check out The Martian this weekend!

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