While those of us with busy schedules often yearn for an extra hour or two, the practical application of such added time is complicated. It's not like you just get an extra 40 minutes to take care of all the stuff on your To Do list that you haven't gotten to yet. As the day shifts, "morning "and "night" eventually flip-flop as clock time becomes untethered to sunrise and sunset. Day becomes night, and suddenly you're eating breakfast at 11:30 p.m.
Karen Thompson Walker's lovely YA novel THE AGE OF MIRACLES offers a fictional imagining of what it might be like if our days started extending (which I wrote about in this previous post). But for a real-life account, hop over to Braden Oh's MarsTimr blog, where the 13-year old chronicled his family's adventure as they spent about a month living on a rotating schedule.
Aug 3: Dr. David Oh gives the NASA Social a tour of Mission Control and tells us about what to expect the night of the Curiosity Landing
I loved reading about the details of figuring out how to configure economical blackout shades for sleeping during the day (Gorilla tape = key element), riding bikes in the middle of the night, and the fun of waking up at 3:30 p.m. And of course, the conundrum of deciding if a 3 a.m. meal at Denny's is dinner or breakfast (label-schmabel, pancakes work for any meal!). Oh's family even came up with some new timeshift terminology:
We’ve pretty much lost track of what day it is. Towards the beginning of the month we could say things like tomorrow, tonight, last night, tomorrow night, etc. Right now our day is split between two days, and we’ve resorted to calling our days “Sols.” Currently our Sol is split between two Earth days.
To tell what we’re talking about, we’ve been using terms like “Solmorrow” and “Yestersol.” This gets pretty weird when saying “Yestersol night” and “Solmorrow evening.”
But perhaps the coolest part of reading Braden's blog was seeing how well kids respond to innovative efforts to involve them in science. Dr. Oh could have just explained the change in time, shown his kids a few graphs and charts, and then disappeared into Mars Time with the rest of the Mission team. Instead, he and his wife gave their children a unique visceral experience. As Braden writes in his post as he shifts back to Earth time: “Dare mighty things!”
-Check out the NPR story on the Oh family's experiment:
-Rover updates: Follow @MarsCuriosity on Twitter.
-For another account of the landing weekend: Brad Snowder's writes in detail about the NASA Social experience on his blog Skywise Unlimited.