It seems that without fail, whenever I post something seemingly simple and silly on Twitter, my friends there find a way to turn it into something very interesting.
Take today, for example – it’s Monday so I make a comment about having a “case of the Mondays” and get this back in return:
A very good question – What day is it on Mars?
The answer turns out to be Friday – which is undeniably effed up…BUT, the way we got to that answer is, as ever, the interesting bit of the journey.
LET’S DO A CALENDAR SCIENCE!
There are many definite problems with living on Mars, as we well know. There’s the climate, the distance, the pressure, the lack of food and other nonsense – but also there’s the menial boring stuff, like what day is it, when will winter be over, and when the hell is my birthday? These are real issues, and on Mars they are tough to answer because a Martian year is 668 (ish) days long – sort of double an Earth year. So what we need on Mars is a whole new calendar – a new way of looking at a year and measuring time. And luckily for us, that’s already been done by some nerd.
It’s called… THE DARIAN CALENDAR. And it’s pretty awesome.
The Martian Calendar, or Darian Calendar, was invented in 1985 by Thomas Gangale – and named after his son Dairus… which seems a little bit presumptuous to me, but then he also named his son Darius which is even more problematic, so what can you do?
Now, the Darian Calendar is set up to work specifically for Mars, and is designed to work for humans who might eventually live on Mars. As a result there will be some similarities and some differences – but in general it works like this:
Mars has (in the Darian model) 24 months, double that of Earth. Now, these months are not at all analogous to the phases of the moon like ours are, because the Martian moons go through phases like SNL goes through cast members – quickly and with little regard to common sense.
So the Darian model has 24 months, and each of these months has 27 or 28 days… or Sols as they’re called. (Sol is just short for SOLAR DAY – which I notice also shortens to “Day”, but I guess we have to be spacey about everything for some dumb reason – whatever) Most months on Mars have a full 4 weeks of 28 days, with the last month having a leap day every two years and only three months having 27 sols - which we’ll get to in a moment.
24 months – we’ll stick with that for now – and the names of those months are a bit odd and random, but again, NAMED HIS SON DARIUS, so let’s just go through them… Sagittarius, Dhanus, Capricornus, Makara, Aquarius, Kumbha, Pisces, Mina, Aries… and oh my God I’m bored! So moving on…
You’ll notice that some months look like astrological names, Aquarius for example, and then others look odd – well that’s because the Martian months are named after constellations, but they needed twice as many names so he wound up choosing the Latin names and then just the same constellations, but with Sanskrit names. The equivalent of us calling it January and then Janvier – or June One and June Two… it’s pretty arbitrary, but it works.
So moving on. 24 months, following the Martian orbit around the sun. Now, the days of the week work out like this; Mars has 7 day weeks, just like Earth (so we’ll feel right at home) and 4 weeks in a month… but the tricky part is this: EVERY MONTH STARTS ON A SUNDAY!
That means that on the months where there are only 27 days, the month ends on a Friday and the next day is Sunday the first… Effectively stealing away 3 Saturdays a year, which is bullshit.
The days of the week incidentally are named after the planets, and such – so Sunday is Sol-Day I guess, then Luna-Day for the moon, Mars day, Mercury Day, Jupiter day, etc… Basically the French names we have here on Earth is you’re into French (and who isn’t?)
So let’s get to the meat – what day is it on Mars?
On Mars today is is Sol Veneris (Venus Day or Friday), the 20th sol in the 13th month – which is called Gemini.
So – it’s Friday, Gemini 20th on Mars.
Now – this was seriously the most basic and broadest over-view of the Darian calendar – 24 months, 28 days unless there’s 27 and you lose your Saturday, and the seasons are also of differing lengths because the Martian orbit is askew. But – before we go, I’m going to give you a couple links:
Really though – you should read up on this stuff, because it’s the little things like knowing what day it is that makes the idea of living and colonizing Mars seem like a possibility. We can overcome their stupid environment and idiot days and we can be human there. And if we can be human on Mars, we can maybe even manage it on Earth.
Have great Friday or Monday… and try to learn something how about?