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Author: Allison C.

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Final Project

Allison C.

Legislator:  Kent Grusendorf, Representative

It took me a long time to find one specific topic that I was interested in and could research thoroughly but my searching ended when I came across the subject of terraforming Mars. Why I did not think of this sooner I do not know since it was the last topic in the last chapter. Most people have never heard the word terraform before. Terraforming is simply the process of converting Mars into a planet similar to Earth in which humans will one day be able to live without life support. One thing I like about terraforming is that it truly is a unique subject. Its only boundaries are how far the imagination is willing to go. A new millennium has started, and new technology to keep up with the increased speed of humans is well on its way.

Our capabilities in some areas are reaching limits never thought possible.  If this continues then we really have no limits. Some scientist or common man for that matter may only be one step away from the perfect idea that launches our development of the terraforming of Mars. Many people have already developed calendars, clocks, etc. For example, Tom Gangale developed the Darian Calendar while others such as Frans Blok, Alan Hensel, as well as myself just changed the names of the months that Gangale proposed.

After researching the Darian Calendar I just stared in amazement at how one man could come up with such a complicated system by himself. Tom Gangale's system consists of twenty-four months, each composed of twenty-eight sols.  A sol is like an Earth day, except that it is 24.6 hours or twenty-four hours, thirty-nine minutes, and 35.244 seconds long. The human body would need a little bit of time to adjust to this difference, but in the end I believe it to be to our benefit since our biological clocks run through a twenty-five hour cycle. Undoubtedly, 24.6 is closer to twenty-five than twenty-four. The Martian year consists of 668.5921 sols per year; a year being the length of time it takes a planet to orbit the sun. Since this is not a precise whole number, we have a problem similar to the fact that Earth's rotational period around the sun is 365.25 days. Our solution is to simply add one day every four years, in which a leap year occurs. Gangale has developed a similar solution. Since .5921 is not a nice number like .25 (one-fourth), each decimal place has to be taken care of individually.  First, the .5 must be taken care of. This is achieved by making every odd year a leap year of 669 sols. Every even year (also known as a common year) has 668 sols except for those divisible by ten. In ten calendar years there would be 6686 sols as opposed ten Martian tropical solar years composed of 6685.921 sols. Therefore, every year divisible by 100 would have to be 668 sols as opposed to 669 sols. Furthermore, every five hundred years would have to be a leap year. This can be expressed much more simply mathematically. The intercalation formula is as follows: (Y-1)\2 + Y\10 ? Y\100 + Y\500.

Gangale has divided the Martian year into twenty-four months. These months are named after the zodiacal constellations. Since there are only twelve of these, the Latin and Sanskrit names are used. I appreciate this naming system because most people are familiar with the zodiac enough to gain a basic understanding of the reasoning behind Gangale's concept. Those not familiar with the zodiac are opened to something they knew nothing about but which plays a part in our society today. The first month of the year is Sagittarius, followed by Dhanus, Capricornus, Makara, Aquarius, Kumbha, Pisces, Mina, Aries, Mesha, Taurus, Rishabha, Gemini, Mithuna, Cancer, Karka, Leo, Simha, Virgo, Kanya, Libra, Tula, Scorpius, and Vrishika. The first day of the year is the vernal equinox. Spring in the northern hemisphere lasts for the first 194 days of the year, followed by 177 days of summer, 142 days of autumn, and 156 days of winter. The southern hemisphere would be the exact opposite. The first day of the year would be the autumnal equinox with 194 days of autumn, 177 days of winter, 142 days of spring, and 156 days of summer following. Of course, Mars has an entirely different atmosphere from Earth. Summer in Mars is not the time to swim and hula. It's a time to wrap up in blankets and sit by the fire with a nice warm cup of cocoa. In fact, every day on Mars is like that. Due to a thin atmosphere, what little heat makes it all the way out to Mars (it's quite farther from the sun than earth) will most likely just bounce off the surface and be lost in space. For this reason, terraforming Mars will have to consist of some kind of greenhouse effect to create an atmosphere on Mars thick enough to keep the sun's heat in.

Another thing I like about Gangale's plan is that he kept one week at seven days. This will make it much easier on people who have to adjust to a new climate. Also, instead of using some exotic names, he uses the names of the days of the week in Latin, which many languages today are derived from.  Chances are most people are at least a little familiar with the names. The days of the week starting with the equivalent of Sunday are as follows: Sol Solis, Sol Lunae, Sol Martis, Sol Mercurii, Sol Jovis, Sol Veneris, and Sol Saturni. I can easily see the similarities between these Latin roots and their Spanish cousins with which I am familiar.

One unique question Gangale had to consider was ?When exactly is the first year?? Gangale decided on July 1976 when the Viking 1 spacecraft landed on Mars. Another day suggested includes January 1, 1707, the most recent time when the Martian vernal equinox fell on the first of the Gregorian year. Of course we never even thought about Mars then so I do not see the need for the years to date so far back. If man wants to track unmanned vehicles under a Martian calendar, then I agree with Gangale: the ?Sol 0? should be when the Viking 1 landed on Mars. If there is no desire to track unmanned vehicles on the Martian calendar, then ?Sol 0? should be the day man first steps on Mars.

One problem that has not yet been tackled is the set up of one sol. How will it be divided? It cannot simply be twenty-four hours of 3600 standard seconds each. Many proposals have been submitted for everything from a ten-hour day to a twenty five-hour day. I believe the best solution would be to keep the twenty-four hour day and change the length of a second, minute, or hour. For example, there are 24.65979 hours in a Martian sol.  To accommodate the extra .65979 hour we can make a second equal 1.02749125 standard seconds. (A standard second is that which we use on earth).  Justification: 24 hours x 3600 seconds = 86400 seconds per day on earth.  24.65979 hours x 3600 seconds = 88775.244 seconds per sol on Mars. 88775.244 /86400 = 1.02749125 seconds. In this case, there would still be sixty seconds in one minute, sixty minutes in one hour and twenty-four hours in one day, only one second would be a little longer than one second on earth.

Another way to fix the problem would be to keep a second equal to a standard second but change the amount of seconds in one minute. Justification: 24 hours x 60 minutes = 1440 minutes per Earth day. 24.65979 hours x 60 minutes = 1479.5874 minutes per Martian day. 1479.5874/1440 = 1.02749125 minutes. Therefore one minute would have to equal 1.02749125 Earth minutes or 61.649475 seconds. The problem with this method is that there is nothing to do with the .649475 second. They could accumulate for the day and watches could be fixed at the end of the day, but this could be too much trouble. A third way to correct the problem would be to change length of an hour. 24.65979 hours / 24 hours = 1.02749125 Earth hours or 61 minutes 38.9685 seconds. This would also present a problem due to the extra .9685 second. Another way to approach the problem would be to change the number of seconds in one minute instead of the length of one second or the number of minutes in one hour, but each of these will always have some kind of fraction left over. I believe the best way would be the first example: lengthening a second to 1.02749125 standard seconds. Martians would eventually get used to the longer second. We do not measure anything smaller than a second in every day life, not to mention that it is almost equal to one second exactly. Consequently, many people would not even notice the difference.

Frans Blok developed the Rotterdam system. He keeps the Darian Calendar in his plan, but changes the names of the months to Adir, Bora, Coan, Deti, Edal, Flo, Geor, Heliba, Idanon, Jowani, Kireal, Larno, Medior, Neturima, Ozulika, Pasurabi, Rudiakel, Safundo, Tiunor, Ulasja, Vadeun, Wakumi, Xetual, and Zungo. These crazy words actually do make a lot of sense. Here is Blok's argument: alphabetical order convenience, last letters spell r-a-n-i-l-o four times (four seasons), odd months end in consonants, even months end in vowels, d indicates the first month in a group of four, u indicates fall/winter in the northern hemisphere, and other characters are ?free.? This is a good system, but I am not very fond of it because many of the words are hard to pronounce, and I ask, ?Who is going to notice which months have a ?d? in them off the top of their head?? His names for the days of the week are as follows: Axatisol, Benasol, Ciposol, Domesol, Erjasol, Fulisol, and Gaviosol.

My favorite naming system is that of Alan Hensel. His system is very simple but works wonderfully. His names for the months are Vernalis, Duvernalis, Trivernalis, Quadrivernalis, Pentavernalis, Hexavernalis, Aestas, Duestas, Triestas, Quadrestas, Pentestas, Hexestas, Autumnus, Duautumn, Triautumn, Quadrautumn, Pentautumn, Hexautumn, Unember, Duember, Triember, Quadrember, Pentember, and Hexember. The base of each word (either vernalis, estas, autumn, or ember) refers to which season it is, written in Latin. The prefixes (du-, tri-, quad-, pent-, or hex-) refer to the sequence of the months in groups of six. All prefixes are Latin except for pent- and hex-, which are Greek. The Greek are used here because if the Latin quint- were used, the months could not be abbreviated with two letter (quad- also starts with q). The Latin sex- is supposedly not used because ?if there were sex- months, they shouldn't be the shortest months of the year!? (Gangale).

After researching other people's names, I decided to try making a system of my own. Unfortunately, I loved Hensel's system so much that I do not think I could ever top it, but since I spent some time coming up with a system, I might as well explain it. The names of the months are as follows: vernalis, vera, vemaner, vet, vequelle, vor, estas, et, everano, ete, esommerlich, etor, autumnus, atoƱo, automber, autet, absinken, autor, ember, emet, envierno, ehiver, ewinter, and etmor. The main fault I find in my system is the difficulty one may have remembering all those names that sound almost the same. Fortunately, it makes more sense than it looks. The beginning of each group of six (beginning of each season) is the Latin name for the current season in the northern hemisphere, i.e. vernalis, estas, autumnus, and ember. The months containing ?et? are every fourth month.  The last month in a season (contains twenty-seven days versus twenty-eight) contains ?or? and is shorter than the other months for the most part. All other months are the name of the current season in Spanish, French, and German, respectively. Some modification has occurred to keep months starting with the same letters (invierno has become envierno). This may keep a sense of internationalism in the air, but may also lead to countries such as Russia to wonder where ?their month? is. Of course, adding Cyrillic letters to the Phonetic alphabet does not sound like a calendar I would want to memorize, considering most people do not even know how to pronounce the letters.

Although many people have attempted to make a timing system for Mars, I believe the best choice would be Tom Gangale's. After looking at a couple other designs, his seems to be the easiest to adjust to as well as easy to learn. Conversions from Gregorian time to Darian time would take practice, but it is one step that we cannot skip, and one action that makes us one step closer to Mars.


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