The Ares III mission was a human mission to Mars, orchestrated by NASA, and directed by a crew of six astronauts.
The Ares space program began in the early 21st Century where the first humans walked on Mars during the Ares I mission.
Like all Ares missions, a series of 14 robotic supply drops are deployed to Mars to supply the crew when they arrive. All Ares crew members travel to Mars in the Hermes Spacecraft, a spacecraft that uses nuclear-powered ion engines to accelerate all the way to Mars.
Ares III was the third human mission to Mars after the previous Ares I and II missions and are the 13th-18th people to set foot on Mars.. The Ares III crew is a group of six astronauts who, in order of rank, are:
Supply missions for Ares III began on the 16th September, 2033. The Ares III crew departed Earth to rendezvous with the Hermes Spacecraft on the 29th June, 2035 and left Earth's orbit on the 6th July, 2035. The crew arrived on the surface of Mars on the 7th November, 2035 and began surface operations the next day. The Ares III crew was due to depart Mars on the 5th December, 2035 , after 31 sols on Mars. However, the mission was cut short after a Dust Storm engulfed the landing site, and an emergency evacuation was ordered by NASA .
Stranded on Mars
During emergency evacuations, astronaut Mark Watney was struck by a communications dish and sent flying several hundred meters away from the MAV. His bio-monitor readings concluded that his suit had been breached, and so Chris declared him dead. Believing him to be non retrievable, Commander Melissa Lewis and the other four astronauts evacuated Mars before the MAV tipped over, despite Lewis' stalling.
During the journey home, the Ares III crew received a message from NASA's Mitch Henderson, breaking the news to them that Mark Watney was still alive, and had managed to sustain himself long enough so that he could contact NASA.
However, after the Iris probe failed to get to orbit and get en-rout to Mars, Two options were presented to save Mark Watney. 1) NASA would send a Iris II probe to Mars to give Watney enough supplies to last until Ares IV, the next human mission to Mars, and 2) a new idea called the Rich Purnell Maneuver, which was thought up by Astrodynamics' Rich Purnell. The course involved getting the Hermes Spacecraft back to Mars by sol 517, and Watney using the Ares IV Mars Ascent Vehicle to get to orbit so Hermes could pick up Watney. NASA rejected the Rich Purnell Plan, and instead decided to go with Iris II
Alter the decision, Mitch Henderson, director of Mars Mission, sent an encrypted message to Hermes detailing the Rich Purnell Maneuver. The message also told the crew that NASA rejected this plan, which meant that executing it would be mutiny.
During a meeting in the REC module on Hermes, Commander Lewis led a discussion about the plan, and whether it should be executed. The plan was passed by the crew and after Johanssen disabled all the remote override systems, the Hermes was redirected to Mars. Because NASA couldn't let the Ares III crew die, the Iris II probe was re-directed to the Hermes. Hermes resupplied and shot back to mars to get Watney. This is the only mutiny that ever happened through all the Ares Program.
As a result of Mark Watney's endeavor on Mars with the ARES IV MAV, the Ares IV mission was terminated. It was instead succeeded by the Ares V mission five years after Watney's rescue.