The Martian Characters from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The Martian

Mark Watney

Watney is The Martian’s protagonist, and he narrates large sections of the novel. A NASA astronaut on the Ares 3 mission, Watney is accidentally left behind on Mars by the rest of the crew… (read full character analysis)

Commander Melissa Lewis

As commander of the Ares 3 mission, Lewis takes her responsibility to protect her crew extremely seriously. She is also the crew’s geologist. She was previously in the navy and is still considered military personnel… (read full character analysis)

Major Rick Martinez

A former Air Force pilot, Martinez is still military personnel but is now the pilot for the Ares 3 mission. His precision as a pilot is noted repeatedly by Watney and other characters throughout the… (read full character analysis)

Beth Johanssen

A “computer geek” and career software engineer, Johanssen’s coding skills enable the Hermes crew to override NASA controls and perform the Ralph Purnell Maneuver without authorization. She likes the Beatles and Agatha Christie novels. Blonde… (read full character analysis)

Teddy Sanders

As NASA Administrator, Teddy has the final word on all decisions at NASA. He knows that the public sees him as accountable for both NASA’s successes and failures, and he takes this responsibility seriously. Even… (read full character analysis)
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Mindy Park

A low-level employee who processes Satellite images at NASA Satellite Control (Sat Con), Mindy is the first person on Earth to realize that Watney is still alive. She quickly becomes involved in conversations with upper-level… (read full character analysis)

Annie Montrose

As Director of Media Relations at NASA, Annie is responsible for keeping the public and the media informed on developments with Watney and the Ares 3 mission. Part of her job is to “spin” stories… (read full character analysis)

Mitch Henderson

As Flight Director for Ares 3, Mitch has strong opinions about how to communicate with the Ares 3 crew. He clashes with Teddy over the decision not to tell the crew that Watney is still… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Irene Shields

As flight psyschologist for the Ares missions, Shields knows Watney and the other Ares 3 crew members relatively well. She appears several times on the Mark Watney Report to discuss the psychological impact of space… (read full character analysis)

Watney’s mother

Watney doesn’t reveal much about his mother, except that, when he complained about shoveling snow as a kid, she told him not to be a “wuss.” When she writes a letter to him after he… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Alex Vogel
The only non-American member of the Ares 3 crew, Vogel is a German representing the EU on the mission. He is also the mission’s official chemist.
Beck
Beck is the Ares 3 crew’s resident doctor, biologist, and EVA specialist. During the fly-by, it is his responsibility to leave Hermes, reach Watney, and bring him back to the ship. During the mission, he and Johanssen fall in love.
Venkat Kapoor
Venkat is the Director of Mars Operations and one of NASA’s top managers. He tends to support Teddy’s decisions. While he initially underestimates Mindy’s abilities as a scientist, he also promotes her and advocates for her in front of other NASA managers.
Chuck
Chuck works on radio communications at NASA. He is a colleague of Morris.
Morris
Morris works with Chuck on radio communications at NASA.
Cathy Warner
CNN reporter and host of the Mark Watney Report, a daily half-hour special covering Watney and the effort to rescue him.
Bruce Ng
Director of NASA’s JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Los Angeles.
Bob
Director of Satellite Control and Mindy’s boss.
Marcus Washington
A US Postal Service official, Washington is interviewed by Cathy Warner on The Mark Watney Report about the discontinuation of Mark Watney commemorative stamps.
Tim
Tim runs the communications console at the Pathfinder control center at JPL.
Marty West
Reporter for NBC news.
Jill Holbrook
Reporter for BBC.
Jack Trevor
A software engineer at NASA, Jack finds a way to implement code that allows Pathfinder and Watney’s rover to “talk” to each other, which significantly improves the efficiency of communications between Watney and NASA.
The President
The US president calls NASA managers several times.
Rich Purnell
An astrodynamist at NASA, Purnell independently develops the risky Rich Purnell Maneuver, which allows the Hermes ship to change course and rescue Watney in a “fly-by” before returning to Earth with all six members of the Ares 3 crew.
Mike
Rich Purnell’s boss, Mike works in NASA’s astrodynamics department.
Maurice Stein
Maurice was scheduled to be the pad leader for the EagleEye 3 mission. When NASA decides to use the EagleEye 3 booster for the Iris probe, Maurice becomes the pad leader for the Iris launch.
Dr. Keller
A NASA nutritionist who advises top management on Watney’s food supply, particularly on his risks of starvation and malnutrition.
Guo Ming
Director of the China National Space Administration. Guo is just as frustrated by the CNSA’s bureaucratic procedures as Watney is with NASA’s.
Zhu Tao
Under Director of the China National Space Administration.
Brendan Hutch
An up-and-comer at NASA, Hutch is in charge of Mission Control from 1am to 9am. He is the first person on Earth to learn of the Hermes mutiny.
Robert
Commander Lewis’ husband. Robert shares his wife’s love of disco and 1970s pop culture.
Su Bin Bao
A CNSA employee, Su serves as Teddy and Venkat’s guide and translator while they are in China.
Helena
Vogel’s wife, a teacher at a grammar school in Bremen.
Eliza
Vogel and Helena’s daughter.
Victor
Vogel and Helena’s son.
Vogel’s mother
Though she does not appear in the novel, Vogel and Helena reference her in conversation.
Amy
Beck’s sister.
Marissa
Martinez’s wife. She and Martinez have known each other since they were fifteen.
David
Martinez’s son.
Johanssen’s father
Johanssen’s father works as the district sales manager of a napkin factory. He’s both incredibly proud of his daughter, and incredibly worried about her.
Johanssen’s mother
Johanssen’s mother never appears in the book, but according to her husband (Johanssen’s father) her worries over her daughter’s life and safety are having a strong negative effect on her own mental health and quality of life.
Randall Carter
Martian meteorologist at NASA.
Watney’s father
Watney doesn’t reveal much about his father, except that he made him shovel snow as a kid, and that he drove really slowly on the freeway. He lives in Chicago with Watney’s mother.