Last Updated on November 19, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 413
Mark Watney is the protagonist of The Martian. He is left stranded on Mars after his crew leaves him for dead during a sandstorm, believing he has been killed. He is a botanist and an engineer. The skills he has as a result of these two specialties allow him to survive alone in complete isolation. He keeps a diary which serves as the bulk of the novel, especially the first third. His tone throughout varies from determined to devastated. He uses his glib humor as a coping mechanism to aid his survival as much as he uses his mind and prodigious skill set.
Venkat Kapoor is the director of the Mars Mission. He is the first person who makes contact with Watney once they have established a radio connection. He is the leader of the team on the ground, and he stays focused for nearly the whole novel. He serves as something of a moral sounding board, striking a balance between Mitch and Teddy.
Teddy Sanders is the chief director of NASA itself. His hierarchical role is larger than Venkat's, and we often see him taking larger issues into consideration—Congress, the media, and so on. In what he deems later as an abundance of caution, he rejects the Rich Purnell maneuver because it is too dangerous.
Mitch Henderson is the flight director onboard the Hermes . He pushes back against Teddy by illegally sending the details of the Rich Purnell maneuver to the crew, resulting in their mutiny. He believes it should be their choice...
(The entire section contains 413 words.)
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