The Martian Movie Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Martian' is a 2015 dramatic film by director Ridley Scott about an astronaut who is left behind on a mission to Mars. This resource provides classroom discussion questions for use with this film.

The Martian

Ridley Scott's The Martian is a blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon about an ingenious astronaut who uses science and survival skills to remain alive while attempting to contact NASA. Students will explore themes related to isolation, perseverance, science, and survival through this film. The following questions support classroom discussion about The Martian.


  • Who are the members of the Hermes crew? Describe their relationships to each other. Make a connection between the crew and a cohesive group that you have been part of. What sacrifices would you be willing to make for the people on your team?
  • What causes the crew to lose sight of Watney? What are some strategies the crew used to try to find Watney?
  • Why did the commander make the decision to leave Mars without Watney? What would have happened if she had not made this decision? Do you think good judgement was used in this scenario? Explain your answer. What would you have done?
  • When Watney regains consciousness and assesses his situation, what challenges does he face? How does he prioritize his needs? What skills does he possess that will be useful in this scenario? How can you apply Watney's problem-solving strategies when you face a series of challenges?
  • After Watney is declared dead and a memorial service is held in his name, why is NASA unwilling to use satellite images to locate the body? How do NASA officials conclude that Watney is still alive? Why are they pessimistic? How would you balance public relations, realistic expectations, and life-saving measures in a scenario like this?

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