Wadi Rum: Mars

Jordan: The MartianWadi Rum: Mars

Location

Before director Ridley Scott and his team started filming, countless hours were spent researching. NASA saw an opportunity to promote deep space travel and came on board as scientific advisors, providing technical expertise and hundreds of images from Mars.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays the main character of Mark Watney, visits NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays the main character of Mark Watney, visits NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As a result of this process, the production designers built an authentic research station in the middle of the Jordanian desert.

The research station in Wadi Rum - Mark Watney's home for many years.

The research station in Wadi Rum - Mark Watney's home for many years.

The film team spent eight days on location in March 2015. A fair amount of time went into filming the scenes with the stranded Martian Mark Watney driving the Rover vehicle across the desert of the Red Planet.

After the wrap, cast and crew gifted the Rover to Jordan's Royal Automobile Museum - as a token of gratitude for the hospitality they had received from the locals. 

After the wrap, cast and crew gifted the Rover to Jordan's Royal Automobile Museum - as a token of gratitude for the hospitality they had received from the locals. 

Filming in this otherworldly landscape had a lasting impact on Matt Damon who described Wadi Rum as "one of the most spectacular and beautiful places I have ever seen, and like nothing I've ever seen anywhere else on Earth".

Some useful links:

Key Scenes

A severe storm has hit Mars and the research crew on the surface has to abandon their mission and leave the planet. But they leave one man behind.

A body lies facedown, half-covered in red sand at the base of a hill. We catch a glimpse of the nametag on the spacesuit: Watney.

A body lies facedown, half-covered in red sand at the base of a hill. We catch a glimpse of the nametag on the spacesuit: Watney.

Mark Watney gasps for air. He jerks back into consciousness. He’s disoriented, alarms blaring inside his helmet. As he struggles to move... he screams in pain. He glances down and sees a jagged length of antenna has pierced his spacesuit and stabbed straight into his abdomen.

Mark Watney gasps for air. He jerks back into consciousness. He’s disoriented, alarms blaring inside his helmet. As he struggles to move... he screams in pain. He glances down and sees a jagged length of antenna has pierced his spacesuit and stabbed straight into his abdomen.

Mark Watney gets up and starts walking towards the research station (The Hab) that is still intact.

Mark Watney gets up and starts walking towards the research station (The Hab) that is still intact.

CUT TO: The Rover parked on the Martian plain of Acidalia Planitia.

Nearby, Mark Watney is digging up the radioisotope thermoelectric generator that will provide him with enough power to drive the Rover across the surface to the site where his escape rocket awaits.

"Now, if I remember my training correctly, one of the lessons was titled, “Don’t Dig Up The Big Box of Plutonium, Mark...”. Mark starts digging up the big box of plutonium.

"Now, if I remember my training correctly, one of the lessons was titled, “Don’t Dig Up The Big Box of Plutonium, Mark...”. Mark starts digging up the big box of plutonium.

CUT TO: Mark, who has been driving for many days.

"Everywhere I go, I’m the first. It’s a strange feeling."

"Everywhere I go, I’m the first. It’s a strange feeling."

"Four and a half billion years... nobody here. And now... me. I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet."

"Four and a half billion years... nobody here. And now... me. I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet."

Videos

Map

Location 1: The radioisotope thermoelectric generator

The coordinates are N29° 43' 49" E35° 26' 46" or 29.730278 / 35.446111.

Location 2: One man left behind

The coordinates are N29° 39' 14" E35° 28' 1" or 29.653889 / 35.466944.

Location 3: An entire planet to yourself

The coordinates are N29° 38' 33" E35° 27' 42" or 29.6425 / 35.461667.

 

Travel Tips

1. Spend the night on Mars at nearby Sun City Camp.

2.Scout the area's diverse film locations with local film star Huseen Salamah.

3. See the Rover on display at the Royal Automobile Museum in Jordan's capital Amman.

 

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