How One Family Switched Over to Martian Time

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Damian Dovarganes / AP

Time to stop griping about daylight savings time. At least you’re not on Mars time.

When NASA’s newest Mars Rover, Curiosity, landed on the red planet about two weeks ago, NASA flight director David Oh’s family switched to Mars time to commemorate the event.

(PHOTOS: NASA’s New Mars Rover ‘Curiosity’)

According to the Associated Press, for every mission to Mars, a select group of scientists and engineers are required to report to their jobs on Mars time for the first three months. In this case, Oh’s wife and their three children decided to tag along for the experience.

On Mars, a day is 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer than an Earth day. It may not seem like much, but over a period of three weeks the Ohs are definitely feeling the effects. As the AP reported:

Days before Curiosity’s Aug. 5 touchdown, the children stayed up until 11:30 p.m. and slept in until 10 a.m. In the beginning, it wasn’t much different from a typical day on summer vacation. As the days wore on, they stayed up later and later, waking up in the afternoon and evening.

One day last week, the family ate a 3 p.m. breakfast, 8 p.m. lunch, 2:30 a.m. dinner and 5 a.m. dessert before heading off to bed.

(VIDEO: Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates Its Eighth Birthday)

For Bryn Oh, David Oh’s wife, the simple question “What time is it?” has taken on a whole new meaning, especially now that the family has recently managed to go to bed at dawn and sleep through the day.

Too bad the kids will have to go back to Earth time when school starts back up at the end of this month.

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

2 comments
Aksa8
Aksa8

That's a really interesting article. Still, it would have seemed more appropriate if the ladies in that family had insisted on keeping Venus time.