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It’s been 6 years aback the hacker’s amusement of a book, “The Martian” by Andy Weir, was self-published, and 2 years aback the cine came out. We’ve talked about it briefly before, but abundant time has anesthetized that we can now beat the book’s juicier hacks while actuality careful to not accord abroad any artifice spoilers. The book has added hacks than the cine so we’re application the book as the source.
For anyone alien with the story, Mark Watney is an astronaut who’s larboard for dead, by himself, on Mars. To survive, he has a abode advised for six, alleged the Hab, two rovers, the Mars Descent Vehicle (MDV) they accustomed in, and the basal allocation of the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), the top allocation of which was the rocket that his bristles crewmates ancient in aback they larboard him abandoned on the brusque arid planet. If you haven’t apprehend it yet, it’s accessible to accomplishment over a continued weekend. Do yourself a favor and aces it up afterwards assignment today.
Watney’s aloft affair is food. They beatific up some potatoes with the mission which will sprout roots from their eyes. To abound potatoes he needs water.
One basic of the adored H2O atom is of advance the O, oxygen. The basal allocation of the MAV doesn’t aftermath oxygen, but it does aggregate CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and food it in aqueous form. It does this as one footfall in bearing rocket ammunition acclimated afterwards to bang off from the surface.
For Watney to get the oxygen from this CO2 is easy. In the Hab is a accessory alleged the oxygenator whose purpose is to booty in the CO2 exhaled by bodies and abstract the oxygen. Next he needs the H, in H2O, the hydrogen and that calls for a allure hack.
During the crew’s landing in the MDV they hadn’t acclimated up all the fuel, which includes hydrazine, N2H4. Separating the N2 (nitrogen) from the H4 is easy, he aloof runs it over an iridium catalyst, additionally accessible in the MDV. A ancillary aftereffect of the acknowledgment is the absolution of some added ammonia, NH3, but this is mentioned in casual as a nuisance.
The blow of the rig is neat. He creates a chase from a amplitude suit’s air corrupt and arranges it so that the hydrogen (hot from the reaction) rises up it. A blaze in the chase burns the ascent H2, combusting with oxygen in the air and leaving water: H2O.
What it absolutely leaves is boiling air which the Hab’s baptize reclaimer turns into aqueous water. The blaze itself comes from splinters of wood cut from a religious cantankerous acceptance to one of the ancient astronauts. Watney ignites the splinter application an electrical atom in the attendance of a little oxygen.
His efforts don’t go off afterwards blow though. He fails to apprehension that some hydrogen gets accomplished the blaze in the chase and accumulates in the air. On acumen this afterwards he measures the air as 64% hydrogen, a actual atomic bulk in the attendance of oxygen.
So he decides to abate the oxygen to 1%, and afresh bake off the hydrogen a little at a time. The botheration is that the Hab’s air regulator that decides how abundant oxygen is accustomed in the air won’t let it go beneath 15%. To ambush it, he tapes an oxygen abounding bag to one of the regulator’s sensors, at which point it thinks there’s way added oxygen in the air than there is, and gain to acquiesce the oxygen to get bottomward to the adapted 1%.
The MAV comes with a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Architect (RTG), a architect absolute 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of plutonium-238. This gives off aloof shy of 1500 watts of calefaction which it afresh uses to aftermath 100 watts of electricity. And of advance it contains abundant radiation shielding. Its purpose was to accomplish ability for producing fuel for the acknowledgment trip. Watney makes use of this accessible activity source a few times. To use Watney’s own words, “As with best of life’s problems, this one can be apparent by a box of authentic radiation” (from log entry: sol 199).
The aboriginal time, he uses it is to advice calefaction Departer 2 during an expedition to acquisition Pathfinder, a NASA Mars lander whose mission concluded in 1997, the one that independent the aboriginal bug on Mars. Application the RTG as a boiler turns out to be about as simple as aloof sitting it in the rover. However, it makes too abundant heat, and so Watney uses a bang to abolish artificial sections and solid cream insulation from the rover’s walls, acceptance some calefaction to escape.
As adventure progresses, Watney needs to accomplish a abundant best adventure to Schiaparelli crater, afresh in Departer 2 and to accept abundant breathable air ne charge booty the air regulator anatomy the Hab forth for the ride. As mentioned above, the air regulator analyses the air and controls the bulk of O2 and CO2 present. To do that it first does spectroscopy and afresh separates the gases by supercooling them. Luckily Mars is generally algid abundant that abundant of this cooling can be done by artlessly active the gas to a alcove amid outdoors. The problem is that the algid air afresh has to be reheated so that it can be breathed. And for his continued adventure in the rover, that would booty too abundant power.
Enter the RTG, that acutely absolute calefaction source. Watney runs the regulator’s algid air achievement corrupt bottomward into a artificial box area he coils it up and pokes baby holes in it. He afresh fills the box with baptize and submerges the RTG in the water. The RTG heats the baptize while the algid air enters via the hose. It afresh leaves the corrupt through the baby holes, bubbles up through the water, and actuality acrimonious up at the aforementioned time.
During the adventure in Departer 2 to Schiaparelli crater, Watney encounters a dust storm in his path. He needs to bulk out in which administration the storm is affective and the appearance of the storm, so that he doesn’t drive into it area it’s accepting thicker.
Since he gets his ability from solar panels he anon looks at the antecedent day’s ability bearing and see’s that it was 97% of optimal. Solar ability is generated from sunlight and the dust acutely blocks the sun. That gives him an abstraction of how to bulk out the storm’s shape. He’ll accomplish accompanying solar ability bearing abstracts at altered locations in the storm.
For that he’ll bead off a solar panel, drive south 40 kilometers and bead off addition one, and afresh go south addition 40 to bead off one more. The bulk of ability anniversary generates over the aforementioned aeon of time will acquaint him area the storm is thicker (higher ability loss) and thinner (lower ability loss).
To do the abstracts accompanying he anxiously strips cameras from an added EVA amplitude clothing he’d brought along. His electronics kit includes affluence of ability meters, so anniversary camera would blur one of those. The cameras admit a time brand into the lower larboard bend of anniversary image. That all goes in a closed container, and to accumulate it all balmy during the Martian night, he has some of the ability go through resistors, which heat up. All of this is powered by the solar panels and some advancement batteries, also taken from the EVA suit.
Preparing all that takes time, afterwards which he measures how abundant ability his regular solar panels accept generated. Ability generated had alone from the antecedent reading’s 97% to 92.5% of optimal. That tells him the administration the storm is moving, west.
Making his 40 kilometer accomplish to bead off the panels and afresh retracing his accomplish to get them back, he finds the northernmost one recorded a 12.3% ability loss, the average one 9.5%, and the southernmost 6.4%. That agency the appearance of the storm is such that the thickest allotment is arctic of him. He accordingly drives south, afresh continues east as he was accomplishing before.
During Watney’s continued adventure in the rover, he has to bulk out his latitude and breadth afterwards landmarks. Mars’ arbor credibility at the star Deneb. Knowing this, Watney abstracts out his breadth application a sextant made of a alveolate tube for attractive through, a string, a weight, and article with amount marks on it.
Longitude, however, has historically been a harder task, accepting required the apparatus of an authentic time piece, no beggarly accomplishment if you appetite one that works on a agitation address on an ocean. Fortunately Watney has abundant computers all giving him the accepted time, and he has the moon Phobos, which orbits Mars in beneath a Martian day. To get longitude he artlessly observes aback Phobos dips beneath the border and plugs the time into a circuitous blueprint he formed out.
Perhaps my admired drudge from the book was the able use of solar panels to admeasurement the array of the dust in the dust storm. Not that we haven’t apparent able uses for solar beef before, this brawl acclimation caster is one such example. What drudge addled you as the best clever, or conceivably one that you’ve done yourself, from either the book or the movie? Maybe it was one that we missed? Let us apperceive in the comments and amuse try to accumulate the comments spoiler-free or at atomic accord a admonishing first.
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