By Shirley Li
September 11, 2015 at 06:50 PM EDT
20th Century Fox
  • Movie

To save Matt Damon, NASA will need Childish Gambino. 

In this latest clip from The Martian above, NASA’s best and brightest listen as astrodynamicist Rich Purnell (Donald Glover) explains a maneuver he believes can rescue Mark Watney (Matt Damon) and bring him home. In the book, Purnell is a meticulous (if eccentric) engineer who nerds out over his solution. In the film, Glover injects some comedy into the character: He uses NASA chief Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) and PR director Annie (Kristen Wiig) as props representing Earth and Mars, respectively. “I’ve done the math,” he says. “Checks out.”

That “math” involves using the Hermes — the ship carrying Watney’s fellow astronauts from the Ares 3 crew back to Earth — as a resupply ship that would accelerate around Earth thanks to the planet’s gravity. By changing its course, it can pick up supplies, head back to Mars, pick up Watney on a fly-by, and then head home. You can guess from the room’s reaction that the actual execution of the plan is more complicated and dangerous than the math.  

The Martian lands in theaters Oct. 2.

20th Century Fox

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2015 movie
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 142 minutes
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