If "The Martian" wins big on Oscar Sunday, Arizona State University researchers will be over the moon!
ASU Mars satellite imaging system captured some of the real planetary images used in the film staring Matt Damon. According to ASU, the THEMIS images and mosaics appear briefly in a few scenes, and at least one was framed and hung on the wall of the NASA director's office.
Professor Phil Christensen, a planetary geologist, says the movie offers an accurate look at the future. He said the technology and landscape are similar to what real astronauts are likely to encounter.
ASU develops cameras, spectrometers and other space imaging and sampling equipment. Researchers in the School of Earth & Space Exploration study Mars geography, resources, and even try to identify possible landing spots for future manned NASA missions. Christensen says finding viable sources of water is critical.
“If you are going to go to Mars for a year, you are not going to bring all your water with you,” Christensen said. “So we’re also trying to find places where there is underground water, snow, ice, other things.”
“The Martian” is nominated for seven Oscar awards, including a best picture nomination and best actor nomination for Matt Damon.
ASU is also mentioned in the film's credits.