One of the more interesting details revealed in the NASA/JPL Curiosity team's Reddit "AMA" last week is that all of Curiosity's operators have shifted their schedules from Earth time to Mars time, where a day lasts 40 minutes longer than the 24 hours here on Earth. To adjust to living with 40 extra minutes every day, the engineers have to adjust their clocks and alarms at home every day, in addition to using smartphone apps that show time in Sols (Mars solar day). NASA offers a free desktop app to show Mars time as well. MSL Flight Director of Cruise Operations (now Flight Director of Surface Operations) David Oh took this one step further and switched his entire family over to Mars time for the month of August, while his three children were still out of school for the summer. In an interview with NPR, Oh and his wife explained that getting the family to adjust was surprisingly easy, and the shift in schedule has provided the family with unique experiences like learning to ride a bicycle in the middle of the Earth night.
Braden, Oh's oldest son, has also kept a blog about the family's adventures living on Mars time. Living in terms of Martian sols instead of Earth days wasn't just about getting 40 minutes more sleep per day, but also slowly modifying the body's internal clock to eat meals at different times and finding family activities to do at strange hours in the morning--24 hour diners, bowling alleys, and movie theaters apparently helped. By the middle of the month, Braden wrote that it became challenging to keep track of what "day" it was and the family had to create new words like "Yesterdaysol" to talk about time. The Oh family's experiment will end next week when the school year starts, but David Oh will of course stay on Mars time.
In other Curiosity news, the rover just completed its first test drive on Mars, testing its wheels by rolling forward three meters, turning 90 degrees, and then rolling back.