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I'm old enough to remember the rah-rah introduction of the first IBM PC. Those of us working in IT back then were bulk unimpressed. The machine couldn't hold a candle to the existing small computers. But hey - the rest is history, as the IBM juggernaut rolled roughshod over the opposition. The more we've used computers, the more things we think up to do with computers, and the smaller and more powerful they become. Everybody knows the processor in a mobile phone far, far exceeds the capability of the computers which in the seventies took man to the moon, and the Voyager probes to the stars.
The same is happening with space technology. The Martian portrays a realistic description of the journey to Mars and back - the importance of the relative positions of Mars and Earth in their orbits to determine distance. It's a helluva a long way, even when the planets are at their closest. In the movie it was long, long months - years. But even right now - okay, maybe a year or three down the track - that time WILL be shattered. A mission to deliver supplies could arrive at Mars in weeks or days, using laser propulsion. Take a look. Of course, the movie would have lost a bit of narrative drive, but that's a different story. We are on the cusp of great things in space. Yes, you may quote me.
Oh, by the way, I was pleased to see a number of strong female characters in the movie. But I've got to say - why did they all have o be young and beautiful?
Hey ho. Baby steps.