The Martian

Utah Film Center Salt Lake City, UT


Sylvia Torti Dean

Associate Professor (Lecturer), Honors College; Adjunct Associate Professor, Biology

The Martian— Science-ing the $%#& out of food cultivation

Is Mark Watney’s potato farming on Mars realistic? Plant biologist Sylvia Torti Dean discusses whether it’s possible to grow food in an environment with limited resources essential to farming and how Earth’s changing climate might necessitate innovation in food cultivation. Presented as part of the 2019 National Week of Science on Screen.

Utah Film Center Salt Lake City, UT

Film Synopsis

When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney, presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must use his wits, spirit, and scientific know-how to find a way to survive on the hostile planet.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney's safe return. Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, The Martian was nominated for three Golden Globes.