The Martian, Ridley Scott, 2015 – My review


I went to see The Martian with some trepidation, Ridley has made two of the best sci-fi movies but that was a long time ago and Prometheus, his last effort was good-looking rubbish as far as I’m concerned.

I’m very pleased to report then that The Martian is a great sci-fi film, a story of survival against massive odds very much in the realms of the movie, Gravity but with more concern for scientific accuracy.

It’s not all accurate, some things like the ‘storm’ that sets the story in motion couldn’t happen on Mars but this is a film not a documentary and if the result is a web buzzing with articles discussing what the film gets wrong and right then, great.

That probably wouldn’t be the case though, if the film wasn’t first successful as a dramatic film in it’s own right.

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney the astronaut who’s stranded on Mars after being left for dead by his crew and has to try and survive until he can be rescued.

There are plenty of reasons why this is basically impossible but then you wouldn’t have a film – what Andy Weir (the writer of the original book) does instead is take each of the massive problems he faces and shows how they possibly could be achieved.

If this sounds like a YouTube physics demonstration video then it doesn’t come over like one – we get plenty of montages as Watney sows potatoes using his own fertilizer or drives around in the Mars rover but the combination of Damon’s strong acting, good script and Scott’s direction makes all of these episodes fun to watch, especially when you feel confident that the Science behind them is sound.

This isn’t just a film for Science nerds but it is very refreshing to watch something that doesn’t gloss over too many of the realities of living in Space. Personally, I find those things the reason that Space is so interesting in the first place and consequently why life on this planet is so precious.

Evidently Ridley Scott feels the same and I can’t praise highly enough the work he’s done here to make a throughly enjoyable sci-fi movie (with a message!) that doesn’t make you feel like you need a lobotomy to enjoy – it’s like Prometheus never happened.

La Cité Feu, Moebius, 1985

Flight of the Navigator – Randal Kleiser, 1986

Flying over Charon – New Horizons, NASA

What is Space-Time?

A Prominence on the Sun – Alan Friedman


This eerie landscape of incandescent plasma suspended in looping and twisted magnetic fields stretched toward the Sun’s eastern horizon on September 16. Captured through a backyard telescope and narrowband filter in light from ionized hydrogen, the scene finds bright plages near dark sunspots and a gigantic prominence lofted above the solar limb. Some 600,000 kilometers across, the magnetized plasma wall would dwarf worlds of the Solar System. Ruling gas giant Jupiter can only boast a diameter of 143,000 kilometers or so, while planet Earth’s diameter is less than 13,000 kilometers. Known as a hedgerow prominence for its appearance, the enormous structure is far from stable though, and such large solar prominences often erupt.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Colors of the Storm – Inga Neilsen


Another alien biotope. I enjoyed creating these alien plants. Some of them are huge balls filled with some gas which makes them light and lets them float in the air. When they are old enough and the wind gets strong, the ribbons snap and the wind carries them across the planet. That is the way they multiply.

Inga Neilsen – Facebook, Deviantart.


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