Surviving in space is hard and scientists say "The Martian" shows precisely what challenges astronauts will face on a pioneering mission to Mars, even though it contains some big inaccuracies right from the get-go.
Case in point -- the colossal storm that causes the crew to abandon the movie's main character, botanist Mark Watney played by Matt Damon, would not have packed much of a punch on the Red Planet.
"The fundamental starting premise is completely incorrect," said Mars expert Scott Hubbard, a consulting professor in the department of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University.
Due to the thin atmosphere on Mars, wind speeds could only reach about half a hurricane's strength, and "would probably not be sensed by an astronaut -- let alone pose the sort of threat seen in the movie."
Still, Hubbard and others say they are fans of the story -- both the novel, written by Andy Weir, and the movie, directed by Ridley Scott -- because it brings to life the obstacles NASA must overcome as it strives to send humans to Mars by the 2030s.
In the movie, NASA is already there, landing an ethnically diverse crew on the Red Planet, where Damon's character accidentally gets left for dead with about a month's supply of food.
Facing the prospect of waiting four years until a spaceship could get back to him, he is constantly thinking about what could kill him and how to avoid it -- that is, when he is not dancing to the disco music left behind by his commander or vowing, "I am going to have to science the shit out of this," in order to survive.
"The thing we like about the movie is it shows how you think one, two, three steps ahead," said NASA astronaut Rex Walheim.
In the movie, which opens in the United States October 2, the stranded astronaut manages to grow a crop of potatoes, which he eats along with protein bars and vitamins in order to stay alive.
When his character is feeling glum, after running out of ketchup, he crushes up the painkiller Vicodin and sprinkles it on his potatoes.
At one point, Damon proclaims himself the greatest botanist on the planet, which is true since he is the only one.
But when he brags that he grew hundreds of potatoes in his "own shit," he takes a bit of creative license, said Bruce Bugbee, director of the plants, soils and climate department at Utah State University.
"You would never put raw sewage on plants," said Bugbee, noting that his waste would have to be composted first to kill off any harmful bacteria.