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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Timekeeping on Mars
Timekeeping on Mars
HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 11.07.2013, 23:49 | Message # 16
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Because "January" is strongly associates with winter (or summer in southern hemisphere) and so.

This would not be much of a problem if we just use new names. Also, most Martian calendar proposals use the vernal equinox as the start of the year, which is something I agree with. The year should begin with spring, not winter smile





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WatsisnameDate: Thursday, 11.07.2013, 23:52 | Message # 17
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Hmm, I actually agree with midtskogen on the issue of months, and my reasoning is exactly what you said, Harbinger:

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Martian calendars should be specific to Mars, and not factor in anything to do with Earth. Mars colonists should not be forcibly tied to Earth in any way, and if colonization goes well then they will be entirely self-sufficient within a few martian years anyway.


But this is exactly what months are -- an Earthly phenomenon, derived from the lunar synodic cycle. This cycle was important to all ancient cultures, from its effect on tides to available light during night hours, so it's no surprise it became a form of timekeeping. If the lunar cycle was instead 26 days long then we'd have a calendar with 14 months and nobody would think it strange.

So if we are to suppose that Mars colonists should remove all Earthly considerations from their calendar, then they should either redevelop months from a Martian perspective, or dispose of the term entirely. Unfortunately, deriving a Martian month is not straightforward, because Mars does not have a single moon, but two, and they provide less light. Furthermore their orbital periods are more comparable to that of a Martian day, so it does not conveniently bridge the gap between days and years as the Earth's lunar cycle does.

Personally I would favor a calendar system that had no 'months' at all, but rather solar longitude angle, from which the Martian seasons naturally become clear.





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 12.07.2013, 00:12 | Message # 18
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Quote (Watsisname)
But this is exactly what months are

What I meant was that the basis of the calendar should be Mars' orbit around the Sun, and so on. Getting rid of all Terran influence - in a literal sense - would be absurd: it would mean abolishing language, units, everything. So clearly there are boundaries to which that principle should be applied. And as I also said before:
Quote (HarbingerDawn)
These systems are for the use of people, and must be developed with that in mind.


Quote (Watsisname)
Personally I would favor a calendar system that had no 'months' at all, but rather solar longitude angle, from which the Martian seasons naturally become clear.

This is useful for astronomical timekeeping, but I don't see how this is convenient for timekeeping in everyday life. The systems we construct for use on Mars should be functionally similar to the ones we already have, unless some great benefit from altering it can be demonstrated.

Quote (Watsisname)
deriving a Martian month is not straightforward

If you want to get really technical about it (as everyone seems to be in a hurry to do in this thread) then you can still see Earth's moon from Mars with the naked eye, and can watch it move from one side of Earth to the other and then back again over the course of a, well, month. I would not use this as a reason for making a system of months like we have now, but it technically does validate the concept, since that seems to be the criterium that most interests some people when deriving their time systems...





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Gondor2222Date: Friday, 12.07.2013, 05:45 | Message # 19
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I've always been a fan of decimalized time. How problematic would it be to divide a Martian sol into 10 hours (~147.95 Earth minutes each), each hour into 100 minutes (~1.4795 Earth minutes or 88.77 Earth seconds each), and each minute into 100 seconds (~0.8877 Earth seconds each), and divide Mars longitudinally into 10 time zones? (with optional subdivions of each time zone into ten pieces for further accuracy if needed)
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 12.07.2013, 06:06 | Message # 20
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Quote (Gondor2222)
~0.8877 Earth seconds each)

That would be the problem. Using something other than the SI second as a base unit of time creates a lot of complications and inconveniences. You would have to convert every time you wanted to perform any kind of physics calculation, which would be much more often than you might think.





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midtskogenDate: Friday, 12.07.2013, 08:17 | Message # 21
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Mars colonists should not be forcibly tied to Earth in any way, and if colonization goes well then they will be entirely self-sufficient within a few martian years anyway.

Depends on what you mean by self-sufficient. If simply able to survive, yes, that would be a goal and so likely if settlers do arrive. Yet, even if they survive relatively comfortably, I would still find it highly unlikely that they wouldn't feel the link to Earth affecting their everyday life. They would still want to communicate with Earth, and be visited by Earth (manned or not) and perhaps travel back. It would be somewhat similar to settlements on Earth isolated in winter. Calendars have a highly practical purpose. Calendars were invented to help long term planning. So what the Martians will spend most of their time doing will decide which calendar they will use. If everyday life is all about sunshine hours, temperature, dust storm season and such things, then, yes, the calendar will be based on the Martian year. If everyday life is more influenced by communication with Earth, the next window of travel/supply opportunity and such, then something based on the synodic period of Earth is more useful, both on Mars and Earth. I don't think Martians would not care about Earth until Mars has been properly terraformed, which could require millions of years if at all possible.

Added (12.07.2013, 11:17)
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Quote (Gondor2222)
I've always been a fan of decimalized time.

Then I think you should start with making Earth time decimalised first and see how that goes. A decimalised second would then become 864 milliseconds.

We then also need to divide the circle into something other than 360 degrees.

It will probably be hard to accomplish, but we've already done it for seconds (nobody uses a "tertia" for 1/60 second or a "quarta" for a 1/3600 second anymore, though it was used in Newton's time). And we commonly also use degrees with decimals rather than minutes and seconds, perhaps eventually totally replacing minutes and seconds.

By the way, the origin of the words "minute" and "second" is "pars minuta" and "pars minuta secunda", that is, "the small part" and "the second small part" (of an hour, degree or whatever). The sexagesimal system (division into 1/60 parts) goes of course back to the Sumerians and Babylon in the 3rd millennium BC. One can argue that the decimal system is inferior since 10 is only divisible by 2 and 5 (besides 1 and itself), just barely superior to primes. So while at fixing things, we could just as well consider using 12 as a base instead, or perhaps in the age of computers use base 16. Totally unrealistic, though.

That we can divide 12 by 2, 3, 4 and 6 is certainly a good reason why this system of dividing time into hours caught on. I suppose the system was popularised mostly by the Romans, in particular by the Roman military, where night watches had to be divided in a practical manner: 4 watches 3 hours each. In Roman times the hours were always counted between sunrise and sunset (and between sunset and sunrise), so the length of an hour would depend on the season. And counting started at sunrise and sunset, so the sixth hour would be noon or midnight.

I might be straying a bit off the topic with these historical anecdotes, but if we are to change or adapt an existing system, I think it's relevant to remind ourselves of why what we have today is as it is.





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Edited by midtskogen - Friday, 12.07.2013, 08:46
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 31.07.2013, 21:29 | Message # 22
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Yesterday Mars had its northern vernal equinox (reached Ls = 0°). So happy Martian new year! We're now in year 215 of the Darian calendar smile




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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Wednesday, 31.07.2013, 21:29
 
Rocket55Date: Thursday, 09.01.2014, 22:36 | Message # 23
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I have a suggestion for keeping 12 months in a martian "year" without causing confusion among earthlings: name them after the sign of the zodiac which Mars occupies for that period of approximately 50 to 60 sols. Northern hemisphere "winter" months would be shorter.
I'd keep 7 sol weeks for convenience, but maybe name them differently also. Earth days are named after the Sun, Moon and some planets, we could do likewise on Mars.
I like the idea of keeping the SI second as the universal time interval for scientific & engineering measurements , but I realize the difficulty for martian local timekeeping. Maybe a martian second (secm) defined as 1/86400 of a 24-hour martian sol could be used for timekeeping.
 
apenpaapDate: Thursday, 09.01.2014, 23:04 | Message # 24
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The problem with that is that Mars' orbit is quite elliptic, so it takes longer to go through the constellations at apohelium than at perihelium. Another problem is the fact that the constellations aren't all the same size. It would also only work if seen from the Sun; if you took Earth as the point of view to avoid confusion among earthlings the opposition loop would make the calendar go really weird.




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AycemanDate: Saturday, 11.01.2014, 18:10 | Message # 25
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When it comes to dates I'd support the usage of the Martiana Calendar, which is a Darian Calendar that doesn't repeat month by month - this is actually an advantage as the Darian calendar leads to cultural issues of whether Sunday or Monday should be the first day of the week. I'd also replace the 12 Sanskrit months with everybody's local terrestrial month names and the weekday names with local terrestrial names.

And though it may seem counter intuitive, in the long term it may be best to use local seconds/minutes/hours, as the SI second will remain the fixed interplanetary unit of time, but can't be reliably applied almost anywhere but Earth. Even on Earth we'll eventually have to lengthen the local second.
 
midtskogenDate: Saturday, 11.01.2014, 18:46 | Message # 26
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Quote Ayceman ()
And though it may seem counter intuitive, in the long term it may be best to use local seconds/minutes/hours, as the SI second will remain the fixed interplanetary unit of time, but can't be reliably applied almost anywhere but Earth. Even on Earth we'll eventually have to lengthen the local second.

Can't we continue inserting leap seconds as needed on Earth?

As for a second or whatever as a fixed interplanetary unit (or interstellar unit for that matter), you'll still run into issues depending on how accurate you need to be. The orbital speeds of Earth and Mars differ, so there will be relativistic effects.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 09.03.2014, 01:06 | Message # 27
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Quote midtskogen ()
The orbital speeds of Earth and Mars differ, so there will be relativistic effects.

Their masses also differ, as do their distances from Sol (both of which affect gravitational time dilation) which has an even greater effect.





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LABHOUSEDate: Monday, 28.04.2014, 20:29 | Message # 28
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Why not make the time keeping identical but at 23:59 it would go to be 24:00 and keep going until 24:39:37 when it would go to 0:00? Or alternatively have leap days to make up for each 39 minutes left out.
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 28.04.2014, 21:52 | Message # 29
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LABHOUSE, you clearly already discovered the correct place to talk about Martian timekeeping since you posted here. Making another thread to say the same thing is unacceptable. Do not do it again.

As for your idea, SpaceEngineer suggested it in post #3, and I addressed why it would not work post #4. If you are interested in this subject, read the rest of the thread, you may find it interesting.





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