Science-minded movie viewers may be pleased to know that the film "The Martian" is rooted more deeply in scientific fact and possibility than many of Hollywood's other offerings.
Based on the novel of the same name, the film depicts an astronaut who is stranded on Mars while his NASA colleagues back on Earth believe he is dead. He has to find a way to survive with limited food and resources until the next mission arrives in four years.
Many of the technologies he uses in order to stay alive are not only possible, but are already put to use in the real world—including a machine that can extract breathable oxygen from the red planet's atmosphere, according to an article in Science News that cites the NASA scientist who advised director Ridley Scott on the film.
It is also theoretically possible to grow plants on Mars' surface, which is what helps astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, grow enough food to sustain himself.