Sunday, July 1, 2007


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: 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.


Dad said...

Goodsol to all of you, Goodluck on your expedition to see what sol's do to you, just remember that strange things happen to you on these type of experiments. But, I know that you all know this and will be looking for changes. Jim, I went to Pidcoke last week and the low water crossing was about 18" over the concrete pad and extended to the far bluff wall across the creek. The Jeep made it o.k. but I almost got stuck going thru the cattleguard, so Pat & I walked around to the cleared area (looks fine) and the camper area. All of it looked like the ground was swetting(lots of water comming out of the verious layers, everywhere, needlessly to say, we will not be getting the buildings delivered anytime soon. We also went through Austin(Manor), to show Pat the buildings,there also, it was very wet.
That was on Tuesday, before Austin and the area above Austin to Waco got 24" of rain on Wednesday(6/27/07) and it has not stoped raining every day since. So, we'll just have to wait it out. Well, that is the all of the happy news that I have for now. Tell everyone hi, and I'll sign off for now. Love you much, and take care of yourself. Dad

Paul said...

Dude, Dad ain't lyin' on the rain!! It's been pouring here. It did slack off enough last night for us to watch the could see Clear Lakes display from my balcony..pretty sweet deal. Tried out my new gas grill and was VERY pleasently surprised!! I didn't think it would be anywhere near a charcoal steak, but it was JUST as good, if not better.

Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hi. I did download AVG and I still will have microsoft works when my trial of office 97 runs I'll make do til you get home.

Love ya man..Be safe and have fun!!

ps....definitely more pics with your spare 40 mins. I love 'em!!