If you need to find someone to run a manned mission to Mars and you have two applicants, Andy Weir and Bas Lansdorp, then I would recommend you to hire Weir. Though both men are primarily associated with manned missions to Mars, only Weir shows a deep understanding of the difficulties of living on Mars.
Weir’s excellent novel The Martian present a vivid picture of how a manned Mars mission got horribly wrong. Every person who is contemplating a trip to the Red Planet should, in my humble opinion, read this book and then reconsider his desire for such a trip. The novel is based upon thorough research by the author and hence it has a great degree of scientific accuracy.
I would say that The Martian is perfect example of what mundane science fiction should be. No imaginary or highly speculative technology, but a realistic extrapolation of existing science and technology. Weir has succeeded to write a hard sf story, which educates the reader about the fundamentals of (manned) space exploration without becoming a boring text.
What I appreciates most about this novel, is that Weir sticks with the primary story of a man struggling to survive on an alien and hostile world. No annoying side plots which has little to nothing the do with the main story. All characters in the book are somehow busy with getting the protagonist Mark Watney back to Earth alive and consequently it is one of the few decent novels without a real antagonist.
Weir is a true master of suspension. Every time you think Watney is finally safe, Murphey’s law strikes back – until the very last moment. The result is a real page turner.