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Blazer Common Book: 2019-2020 Selection


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The Martian by Andy Weir

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The Martian Events & Library Resources

Welcome to Mars! (Wed., 9/4, 11AM)

Help NLC kickoff its 2019-2020 Common Book by learning all about Mars. Hear Prof. Jason Eberle provide and overview of the red planet, then visit the Space Capsule Odyssey for a planetarium presentation.

When Wed Sep 4, 2019 11am – 12pm 
Where H200 (map)

Related Readings:


Martian Survival Skills for the Earthbound Student (Interactive Presentation - M. McGuirk)(Wed. 10/2, 11AM)

Astronaut Mark Watney faces a challenge literally no one else on Earth has had to face: how to survive alone on Mars. He is able to make it through the experience by being tenacious--never accepting his fate. In this lecture, you’ll learn about perseverance and how you--like Watney--problem-solve to overcome daily obstacles.

When Wed Oct 2, 2019 11am – 12:30pm 
Where H200 (map)


Famous Lines

“Mars is a barren wasteland and I am completely alone here. I already knew that, of course. But there’s a difference between knowing it and really experiencing it.” 

"He must rely on his own resourcefulness to survive. He begins a log of his experiences. His philosophy is to "work the problem", solving each challenge in turn as it confronts him."

“My life is now a desperate struggle for survival…with occasional titration.” 

"Things didn't go exactly as planned, but I'm not dead, so it's a win."

“I got bounced around a lot, but I’m a well-honed machine in times of crisis. As soon as the rover toppled, I curled into a ball and cowered. That’s the kind of action hero I am.”

“My terrifying struggle to stay alive became somehow routine. Get up in the morning, eat breakfast, tend my crops, fix broken stuff, eat lunch, answer e-mail, watch TV, eat dinner, go to bed. The life of a modern farmer. Then I was a trucker, doing a long haul across the world. And finally, a construction worker, rebuilding a ship in ways no one ever considered before this.” 

Find more great quotes from


Related Readings



Creating Mars: Behind the Movie (Tue., 11/12, 11AM)
See a screening of the award winning film The Martian, then join the discussion as video technology professors Sharie Vance and Greg Ruska provide an inside look at how the movie magic is created.

Related Readings:


  • Kadner, N. (2018). "First Man - Moon Shot: Linus Sandgren, FSF mixes film formats to recreate NASA's race to the lunar surface." American Cinematographer, 99(1), 30-41. 

An Astronaut’s Perspective (Wed., 2/5, 12PM)

Join us as the NLC community comes together to hear from a NASA astronaut. During this lecture, learn about what it’s like to live in space, how astronauts have to think on their feet, and just how feasible it is to send a mission to Mars.

When Wed Feb 5, 2020 1pm – 3pm 
Where Performance Hall or H200 (map)

NASA TV screenshot

Hear from current astronauts directly from the NASA TV.

Related Readings: 

Use these popular magazine articles to start scholarly discussion and research:

The Space Program: Past, Present, and Future (Tue., 3/31, 11AM)
Explore the history and future of NASA’s space program, from the early days of Mercury to the upcoming Orion missions and beyond.

When Tue Mar 31, 2020 11am – 12:30pm -05:00
Where H200 (map)

Image courtesy of NASA

Apollo 50 anniversary poster of moon landingThis past July was the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Check out the NASA's digital exhibitLaunch Pad V-Drome 2020The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History are also celebrating the 50th Moon Landing Anniversary with a special exhibit.

Related Readings:

Be a Badass Botanist: Sustainable Gardening (Wed., 4/22, 11AM)
Mark Watney sciences his way to keeping himself alive by growing potatoes on a planet where nothing grows. In short, he’s a badass botanist, and you can be, too! In this session you will learn how to create and grow a sustainable garden right here on Earth.

When Wed Apr 22, 2020 11am – 12:30pm -05:00
Where H200 (map)

NASA's Matt Romeyn works in the Crop Food Production Research Area of the Space Station Processing Facility at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Image courtesy of NASA/Cory Huston

Related Readings:


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