This photo is the first image of Mars taken by NASA InSight Mars lander after his successful landing in the Plains of Elysium Planitia on November 26, 2018. The dust seen on the image is on a jacket protecting the camera.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Time zones are still tricky – but interplanetary time differences are even harder to track and now that NASA's Mars InSight lander has landed successfully on the Red Planet, that's precisely what the mission staff members must do.
A Martian day is not too different from a land day, it only lasts about 37 minutes. But over time, all these minutes are added to compensate for a Martian day, called soil, terrestrial schedules.
And it turns out that it's a pain for people who run Martian robots like InSight Lander – people like payload systems engineer Farah Alibay. The InSight team is small enough that members do not ship as humans do behind the Curiosity mobile. Instead, they work as a group, Alibay told Space.com in a video interview. [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Full Coverage]
The team members also want to work during the Martian night, while the spaceship does not work. So they signed yesterday at 3 pm local time at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California (6 pm EST, 11 pm GMT) for 12 hours, Alibay said before the InSight landings. But if they were still following the Martian time, their schedule would run for 37 minutes, which is hard for people to handle.
"Doing this job every day is too difficult for the human body," said Alibay. The members of the team therefore found a compromise. "When the planets line up and we are able to work during the day and the Martian night, we work every day and, when they do not, we work every other day. many scientific analyzes must be done on the earth between these days anyway, so it works a bit. "
The mission's schedule will be in soils, with the landing of November 26th marking Sol 0. (InSight's scientific mission is expected to last 709 total soils, nearly two terrestrial years.) So, for Alibay and his colleagues, who must navigate Earth sunrise, shopping and family schedules while they work with the Insight LG, it's a relief not to be stuck on Mars by all the 709 of these soils.
Space.com editor Tariq Malik contributed to the writing of this article. Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or follow her. @meghanbartels. follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook. Original article on Space.com.