More precisely Mars Time. For those of you who may not know all about astrophysics, planets rotate at different rates. What this means is that each planet has a day of a different length. For instance Earth's day is 24 hours long. It takes 24 hours for the spinning earth to make one rotation. Everybody knows that, and as it turns out human physiology is uniquely suited to a 24hr day. Doctors call this circadian rhythm. Now what does this have to do with Mars? Well as it turns out Mars has a day that is slightly longer than the day on Earth. Longer by about 40 minutes. So the big question for human exploration of Mars is will this mess up the human circadian rhythm and what will it do to the astronauts on a long term mission to Mars.
To begin to find out the answer is actually kind of complex. You have to have an environment where there are few, if any, visual cues for the body to follow. Low earth orbit is good for that. There they have 20 minute days and nights. This is too fast for the body to adjust so basically it stops trying. The problem is getting stuff into LEO is expensive. Conveniently it also turns out that the Arctic in summer and winter is good too. Either the sun doesn't set like now in the summer, or it is night all the time like in the winter. The next thing you have to do is throw your calendar out the window, because with an extra 40 minutes per day, days and nights get out of whack with the rest of the world real quick. This is also possible in the Arctic since we are so remote and communications are delayed anyway.
In short my crewmates and I make the perfect lab rats, so we've agreed to try a study for the next 30 days into what it will be like to be on Mars Time. We actually started last night at midnight and today was our first sol. "Sol" is Martian for a "day". Today is sol 1 and you can keep up with our time at our engineering website. Here you can see how out of phase we are with you at any given time. The website is: engineering.marssociety.com/MarsTime.html I hope with the extra 40 minutes I can get some more blogging done and maybe get some pictures up next time. I've got some good one stashed from my last in-sim EVA. I'll try and get them up in the next couple of days.