Mark Watney isn’t just a super hero of a character who figured out how to survive on the seemingly fatal terrain that is Mars, he’s the embodiment of the pioneer himself from ages gone by.
A few years ago I was able to watch a Herzog documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. The film followed a group of hunters and trappers on their journeys into the cold wintery forest of the Taiga, an area in Siberia where most modern technology has yet to permeate their lives even now. We watch on as they are faced with daily challenges that failing is just not an option since failure, in most cases, equate to death as it would have when these lands were first ventured into. These are the stakes that exist for astronaut Mark Watney as he finds himself alone on the surface of Mars as his crew left him after presuming he died in a storm where they were all attempting to flee.