I've yust finished Andy weir's "the martian" for a second time. And I highly recommend it. It's a hard Scifi story abouth a astronaut that is stranded on Mars and needs to survive until he get's rescued. The event happens in the near future and isn't plagued by the usual impropable futuristic technologies. It's a fine read and they will make a movie abouth it at the end of november (2015). That said for those who have read the book what would you have done differently? Watney discoveres pretty soon that he will have to litlle space to be self Reliant on potatoes alone for this reason he attaches the 2 pop tents to create extra space for his potatoes. He also determines he needs extra water so he uses the MAV's hydrazine inside the hab to make additional water. What I would have done is picked 1 rover and decompressed it and set up that little chemical plant to transform the hydrazine into water here, then I would have feeded the rover oxygen from the outside. Keeping the hab safe from possible explosions. I also wouldn't have converted all of the hydrazine to water, he never really needed all of it in a pinch and it was reasenably to assume that a rescue mission could use it or it's simply to dangerous to burn the hydrazine to make more then needed the leftovers could have been stored inside their original containers and more could be produced if it was ever necesairy. Surface area was at a premium so watney who had 3 airlocks attached the 2 pop tents on 2 of them, both could be attached to the hab and to the rover. Whatney also shows he was able to take the 2 tents inside the rover and manage make a single bigger tent. He also made it taller from 1.2 meters high to 2 meters so he could stand up with extra hab canvas What he could have done in stead was attach both tents and made them smaller by buring them deeper under regolith assuming he flattened it out he could have roughly doubled the surface area of the pop tent leaving it roughly 60 cm high uncomfortable but Whatney only spends time in their to take care of the plants and it add many more plants. But these pop tents would have airlocks on both sides, on side could be attached to the hab whilst the other end could be attached to 1 of the rovers, it would provide yet again extra space for his plants and 2 airlocks between parts of the new (larger) base. This means even if part of it decompresses the plants in either the rover or the hab would survive. Preventing some of the drama, it also gives Whatney easy acces on that atmospheric sniffer inside the rover + a antenna that could be used to talk to sojourner from inside the hab. (Whatney couldn't consider this at this point but it makes for a happy accident). Would this have changed much? Well assuming the hab still breached enough plants in the rover would have survived (airlock) for a other harvest altough problems would have arosen with the soil. ANd the arrable land would have rissen from 106m²(hab)+20m²(pop tents) to 106m²(hab)+40m²(pop tents)+10m² rover. Or enoug land to create 1052 calories a day ([156m²(new surface area)/126m²(books surface area)]*850 calories(given in the book) This is still not enough to survive but closer then te book with a option to safe the harvest. Still Whatney never chooses to eat the plants themselfs this hold some truth because the potatoe plant is a family of night shade and therefore the leaves are poisenous, but NASA (in real life) is experimenting with sweet potatoes in space that are from a different family and from this plant the leaves are edible. Still Whatney is a botanist so I trust he would have known if they where edible. So I can accept that part.. Still Whatney also had a asosrtment of weeds it would have been nice to look into it if something edible could come from that (perhaps after coocking or something).