This document is part of the Martian Time Boneyard. It was originally located at
Author: Alan Hensel

Martian Semi-Metric (24*10*1000) Clock

Martian Metric Clock Applet This is an attempt to visualize a different kind of clock for Mars than the standard stretched-24*60*60 proposal. The stretch is actually not too bad, since there are 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35.2 seconds in a mean solar day on Mars. (That's 88775.2 seconds, or 2.749% longer than an Earth day.)

In this clock proposal, there are still 24 hours in the day, so that a day may still be divided conveniently into shifts. But the hours are divided into 10 parts, probably not called "minutes", which is further divided into 1000 parts, probably not called "seconds"*.

(Note: the Martian Date is according to the Darian Calendar, in numerical format, as I am not fond of Tom Gangale's sense of naming. His otherwise excellent calendar can be found here.)



* Even with a 24*60*60 system, there is a need to avoid calling the units by their Earth equivalents. Witness the failure of Mars Observer due to a confusion of English and Metric units ... units that aren't as easy to confuse.

Here are some naming suggestions:

tal, the smallest unit of time in Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic Martian sci-fi tales.
millitik, where the "minute" unit is a "tik" and the "Martian hour" is a "dekatik".
sixth, because the unit is about 1/3 of a second... :-)


It has been brought to my attention that there is a slight modification of this scheme that has an interesting advantage: fitting with the earth second.

The 'tik' unit is 369.897 seconds long. If we standardize it to exactly 370 standard seconds, there will be 24 hours, 40 minutes in a day, overshooting the actual Martian mean solar day by just 24.8 seconds. This could be corrected by two (sometimes one) 'skip tiks' (spring forward) per month (assuming 24 months in a Martian year). That would be a loss of 12 minutes, 20 seconds at the end of every 4 weeks.

It sounds like a worthwhile compromise.