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You Can Name Mars' New Time Zone

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Published 1-Apr-2015

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A new official Time Zone on Mars will be launched in January 2016, exactly 10 years before the first four Mars One participants are set to take off on their one-way trip to the Red Planet.

Interplanetary Space Station Orbiting Planet Mars.

What's the right time on Mars?

From January 2016 a new official Time Zone will be the starting point for telling time on the Red Planet, but what will it be called?

©bigstockphoto.com/3DSculptor

What's the best name for the
New Time Zone on Mars?







T Minus 10 Years

Last week The Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which aims to send four people every two years on a one-way trip to colonize the Red Planet, announced it has pushed the initial launch date two years from 2024 to 2026.

On January 1, 2016, an official 10 Year Countdown to the new launch date will be announced along with the name for an official New Time Zone on Mars. You can help name it by voting for your favorite suggestion through the month of April.

No Time Standard in Space

Space agencies around the world have yet to agree on a time standard in Space. Some astronauts follow the time of their respective Control Centers on Earth, while others follow Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), which is kept using highly precise atomic clocks.

When astronomers discuss timekeeping on Mars, they currently use the term Coordinated Mars Time (MTC). The six successful Mars landers to date have all used their own time zone, corresponding to average local solar time at the landing location.

Anticipating a human colony on the Red Planet, the Mars One scientists have decided it is time to set the standard once and for all with an official Time Zone on Mars.

Why "Planet Time"?

Without the word "Planet" in a few of the name suggestions, the abbreviation would easily be confused with time zones on Earth with the same acronyms, like for instance Mountain Time (MT) in the US.

DST on Mars?

A day on Mars is about the same length as on Earth. However, a Martian year is almost twice as long as Earth's. It is still undecided whether Mars One will adopt Daylight Saving Time (DST).

If Mars One chooses to observe the same time as the "home office" in the Netherlands, it would mean setting clocks forward one hour on the last Sunday of March, along with most European countries. The new Martian Time Zone would presumably follow suit, adding an S for "Summer", even if it is actually winter on Mars.

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