In The Martian, why does Mark have to move to the Schiaparelli Crater? How does he get there, and what is the problem with that?

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    Welcome to the site. I think it's quite likely that this question will attract downvotes as its asking to explain some fairly basic plot points. In particular what is confusing about 'How does he get there'? We see him drive for days in the rover vehicle. Can you explain in more detail what you are finding confusing? – iandotkelly Sep 20 '19 at 13:37
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    Also the 'what is the problem with that'? is phrased in a very open way. HIs entire existence on the planet was a constant struggle .... what sort of problems specific to the journey are you finding confusing? This detail will help me improve my answer. – iandotkelly Sep 20 '19 at 13:39
  • In general, @iandotkely I would agree. The Martian, however, is an adaptation of a novel and as such, some explanatory things were rushed over quickly. As an example, when it came to the explanation for the encoding of messages in hex and the rotation of the camera, it was fairly rushed. I think that bears mentioning for people who are thinking of downvoting this question. I caught it on TV and had little chance to pause rewind etc and I doubt I'm the only person in that situation. I did read the book beforehand though – m1gp0z Sep 20 '19 at 13:46
  • @m1gp0z It might very well be that there's open questions to be asked about the plot. But disregarding that, the question itself could definitely use some more context and explanation to clarify what specifically is unclear about it. I've seen the film a few times and even read the book, but I haven't really much of an idea what the question is asking about. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 20 '19 at 22:55

Mark has to move to the Schiaparelli Crater because it is the landing site of the next planned mission to Mars, and it has the required rocket vehicle to get him into orbit to be rescued. The rocket is placed there by Nasa in advance of the next mission.

He gets there in a modified rover vehicle. He modifies it primarily to make it able to travel further on one battery charge. Amongst other things, the modifications he makes are:

  • Disconnecting the electric heating for the cabin
  • Putting a small nuclear-isotope power generator in the cabin to provide the heat he needs to survive.
  • It carries a bunch of solar panels from the base.
  • He makes a hole in the cabin roof to create an storage bubble. For the longer journey he needs more space to store equipment and consumables like food and water.

(Many of these modifications he makes earlier in the movie, before he goes to find the Pathfinder probe)

He travels largely at night, and sleeps during the day while the battery recharges.

Apart from the technical challenges to modify the vehicle to live in for his journey, he encounters no problems in the movie. In the book he encounters many more life threatening problems.

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  • The bulky equipment he carries did not initially fit without the rook, The nuclear reactor and the oxygenator both have to go in the first Martian rover and without this modification, the equipment wouldn't have fit – m1gp0z Sep 20 '19 at 13:56
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    @m1gp0z ... yeah, but in the movie it's not really explained how he has to reorganize the cabin for the longer journey. They show him bashing the roof in and making the rook, but it's left unsaid what he puts up there. I'll rephrase. – iandotkelly Sep 20 '19 at 14:01

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