This is a good book for those interested in hard science fiction, but is still accessible to those without an engineering background.
A Mars exploration crew has to evacuate the planet, leaving a crew member behind (they think he died in an accident). He then uses basic science to survive on a hostile planet. Every step is spelled out clearly enough for a high school student to understand, but it isn`t too boring for engineers.
This would make an amazing move like "Gravity", but with the vast empty vistas of Mars rather than low Earth orbit - especially if they did the same as with `Gravity`, and avoided any flashbacks or switches to scenes on Earth.
- The stranded crew member has plenty of air, but not enough water. So, he carefully burns hydrogen-rich rocket fuel inside his habitat.
- He has no communications, so he does an overland excursion to a former Mars rover, brings it back, and uses its camera to send messages to Earth. To send messages to Mars, the Earth controllers move the camera and wheels to spell out letters in ASCII.
- He has some uncooked potatoes in his food stores, so he sprouts them, and grows potatoes to stretch out his food supply. For a growing medium, he mixes Martian sand with feces.