Unless you’ve been living under a giant galactic rock, you’ve probably heard by now that Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated new film, “The Martian,” opened over the weekend rocketing near (and possibly past) the October opening box office record held by “Gravity.” Based on the book by Andy Weir, the movie stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded on Mars after a fierce dust storm causes an evacuation of a human habitat. Spoiler alert (not really): Watney survives and finds himself stranded and alone on the cold and hostile planet à la Tom Hanks in “Castaway.” Faced with meager supplies and food, he is forced to draw upon his ingenuity for survival—or as he explains via his video diary in the movie: “’In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option. I’m going to have to science the s*** out of this.” In other words, he goes all MacGyver on the Red Planet.
Now, we’re pretty sure most of us don’t have to worry about issues like suffocation or implosion here on Earth—but it’s fun to think about applying Watney’s scientific creativity to our own houses. Here’s a step-by-step guide to living like “The Martian” at home. Note: Small Spoilers Ahead
Step 1: When in doubt, take shelter in an inflatable habitat.
You’ve heard of the tiny house movement? Well, we’re thinking of starting the inflatable habitat movement. Not ready to trade a roof and walls for a glorified tent? Start slow. Try camping in The Cave, a three-person inflatable geodesic dome tent, and see if it could feel like home.
Step 2: Stock your medicine cabinet with a good first-aid kit.
…because you never know when you might be stabbed by an antenna…or another sharp object. Note: We don’t recommend being your own surgeon, however. Leave that to the real doctors.
Step 3: Grow your own potato garden.
We’ll spare you the details of how Watney was able to grow potatoes on Martian soil. Here on Earth, growing potatoes is a cinch compared to Mars. Just follow these instructions. Or if you’re really lazy, buy this potato growing kit.
Step 4: Recover your water.
One of Watney’s biggest problems on Mars is water (or so we thought up until a week ago). Being a resident Californian, you’re an expert at conserving water and surviving droughts. Have you installed drought-resistant landscaping yet? What about a Tap-n-Flush? And if you’re really serious about water conservation, you can take it to the next level with a greywater recovery system.
Step 5: Install solar panels.
If Watney can figure out how to get a Mars rover working again with a little solar help, you can most certainly figure out how to install photovoltaic panels to your roof. (And by “you,” we mean you pay someone to install them for you). The upside: you can reduce your household’s carbon footprint by an average of 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, according to Forbes. Not bad!
Step 6: Lift the mood of your house by playing 1970s disco music.
In the movie, Watney is forced to put up with the likes of ABBA, The Bee Gees and Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around,” among others. Some might see this as a form of torture—but we dare you to drop this into your next party playlist and see which of your friends can resist the urge to shake their groove thing in your living room.
Step 7: Find creative sources of heat.
We’re not advocating for the use of a radioisotope thermoelectric generator or anything. We’re just saying think outside of the box for your heat sources. Here are a few unusual ideas for keeping your home warm this winter.
Step 8: When all else fails, use duct tape.
Watney may be the greatest advocate for duct tape ever: “Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.” Yes. We’re pretty sure duct tape fixes everything.
And there you have it. “In your face, Neil Armstrong!”
“The Martian” starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Jeff Daniels is now playing. Click here for showtimes.