The timeline of The Martian is as follows:
- July 29: NASA was founded.
- July 16 - 24: Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong went to the moon.
- May 30: The ESA was founded.
- July 15: Melissa Lewis is born in Missoula, Montana
- January 21: Rick Martinez is born in Brooklyn, New York
- August 2: Chris Beck is born in Hartford, Connecticut
- May 19: Beth Johanssen is born in San Jose, California
- May-September: Beth graduated from high school and then moved on to MIT.
- Lewis was picked to lead the Ares III manned mission to Mars at some point in 2026 in NASA Group 35.
- Martinez is selected for NASA Group 36.
- The crew of the Ares I lands on Mars, taking humanity's first steps on the Red Planet.
- Chris is selected to be an astronaut with NASA Group 36.
- Mark was selected to be an astronaut with NASA Group 27.
- Beth was also selected to be an astronaut with NASA Group 27.
- March 23: After congressional approval, NASA formally announces goals and objectives for the Ares III mission.
- May 4: The crew is screened and selected based on those mission goals.
- September 1: Crew training begins. This can take up to two years.
- September 16: Pre-supply missions for Ares III begin.
- June 29: The Ares III crew depart Earth to rendezvous with the Hermes Spacecraft in orbit.
- July 6: The Ares III crew leave the Earth orbit for Mars in the Hermes.
- November 7: The Ares III crew step foot on Mars.
- November 8: The crew will make a series of departures from The Hab to complete their primary scientific expedition beginning with soil samples.
- November 25: A powerful sand storm hits Mars causing 5 out of 6 Ares III crew members to evacuate Mars, leaving Mark Watney stranded and presumed dead.
- November 26: Watney awakens and performs emergency surgery on himself to get the piece of shrapnel out of his body.
- December 5: They were supposed to decommission The Hab, leave Mars and return to The Hermes via MAV.
- December: People at NASA learn of Mark Watney's survival on Mars but decide not to tell the Ares III crew for two months.
- February: Mitch Henderson lets the Ares III crew know of their crew mate's survival.
- At some point: The crew perform the 'Rich Purnell Manoeuvre' in The HERMES, resupply using the Taiyang Shen and turn back for Mars.