Syn­chro­nise your watches ... for Mars

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - HE­LEN KEMPTON

DO you ever feel that there are just not enough hours in the day to get ev­ery­thing done?

Per­haps it is time to move to Mars — or into the red planet’s time zone at least — where a day is 40 min­utes longer.

Sci­en­tist Paulo de Silva, who works with the Mars Ex­plo­ration Rover pro­gram, says set­ting your watch and liv­ing ac­cord­ing to Mars time would cre­ate sim­i­lar “body clock ef­fects” in hu­mans as those ex­pe­ri­enced when day­light sav­ings comes into ef­fect.

Dr de Silva has two watches — one is set on Earth time, the other on Mars time.

“When we work with ma­chines on an­other planet you need to work on lo­cal time,” Dr de Silva said.

“It is one of the in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges in­volved in the Mars pro­gram, it is like day­light sav­ings in the ex­treme.

“Fu­ture as­tro­nauts will have to fac­tor in a longer day and the changes in the cir­ca­dian cy­cle that pro­duces.”

He said time dif­fer­ences will be some­thing to be fac­tored in as hu­man ex­plore other plan­ets or moons into the fu­ture.

Dr de Silva said he would go to Mars “in a heart­beat” if he did not have earth­bound re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to con­sider.

“At this stage it would be a one-way ticket and I have fam­ily to con­sider,” he said.

In Jan­uary 2004, the Mars Ex­plo­ration Rover pro­gram con­trolled the land­ing of two ro­botic ge­ol­o­gists — named Spirit and Op­por­tu­nity — on op­po­site sides of the red planet.

The ro­botic ex­plor­ers have trekked for miles across the Mar­tian sur­face, con­duct­ing field ge­ol­ogy and mak­ing at­mo­spheric ob­ser­va­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.