Those words marked the end of the seven minutes of terror, two years ago today. Curiosity has been alive and well for two years on the surface of Mars.
As a tribute to that anniversary, I relived the seven minutes of terror, and realized there was much more than I could put in a single blog post.
I abridged my experiences into a single pdf, posted online at the provided link. That night was by far the most important in my life thus far, and it’s my honour to be able to share it with all of you.
Just click on the title to relive Curiosity’s landing.
Thanks so much for all your support, not only for our Mars time run, but for everyone at NASA and in spaceflight!
The future is just around the corner. Thanks for being a part of it!
(Please feel free to leave questions and comments)
I’m so happy to still have people visiting this site, and I just want to say thank you to everyone for reading our story! When I wrote this blog I meant for it to be read as I posted our activities.
If you’re new to Marstimr, or if you just want to re-read our story, click on the one of the links (you might have to scroll down) to start from the beginning.
The beginning: http://marstimr.tumblr.com/page/6
The Archive: http://marstimr.tumblr.com/archive
P.S. I’m still active on this site, so feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section. You could also ask me a question directly by clicking on the “Ask me Anything” button under the site logo.
Well here we are; we’ve gone all the way around the clock (and then some)! This truly has been the adventure of a lifetime! As a family, we’ve grown much closer together. As for our adventures, we feel like we’ve taken a vacation.
LA has a whole night world that is invisible during the day. By going on Mars time, we’ve visited that world, interacted with it, and come back. In this way, we’ve had a vacation that many kids our age have never experienced.
Curiosity landed, and this adventure allowed us to take a part in it! We’ve gotten to experience some of what the people who created it have experienced. I feel uniquely privileged to have done this.
Now it’s time to move on. For me this means 8th grade and Lego Robotics (Go Golden Gears!) My sister is moving to 6th grade, and my brother to 3rd. We hope to pursue science, and we hope that someday we’ll be the ones sending things into outer space! We’ll miss Mars time and the world it opened to us, but we welcome the people and friends we get to see again!
Lastly, I have some thanks to give: Thank you Dad for all you do at JPL and at home! Thanks Mom for taking care of us and having so much patience while on Mars time! Thanks to all 56 of my Tumblr followers for their loyalty. Finally, thanks to all of you 17,000+ readers who have kept us going! (I didn’t think I could break 1000 readers!)
"It feels like we are in the final stretch of our Mars Time adventure. Though we are still getting up early in the morning, the time before dawn is shrinking rapidly and school is starting tomorrow. Soon we will end our journey around the clock, and I would like to share a few thoughts.
First, taking a journey around the clock really is a great adventure for the family and a great bonding experience. It has been great to have the family together on Martian time. There is nothing like coming home from a long day day at work at 4 AM, opening the door, and having the kids run up and yell “Daddy” and then sitting down to eat dinner. It is invigorating, and livens up a dark night. It has brought the family together to wander through the night doing all these different things. I believe we are a closer family at the end of this month than at the beginning.
Second, the city of Los Angeles is really a completely different city at night than during the day. The weather cools down, the traffic disappears, and you can travel from any part of the city to another in 30 minutes by car. Parts of LA have a reputation for being sketchy at night, but we never ran into any of that. The people we met were invariably kind, friendly, and happy to see us (happy to see the kids!) wandering through at 4 AM. And they were invariably interesting. The friendly waitress Nicole, Auggie, the space enthusiast at the bowling alley, Andy at the 24 hours newsstand were all great people we would never have met on Earth time. It was great to see a wonderful side of the city that we had never seen before.
Third, it was hard to lose the social interactions with friends as we moved our schedule though the night. We will look forward to coming back to Earth time (coming back home!) and meeting our friends again, and we’ll have a big party to celebrate.
Fourth, it is a privilege to work on the Mars program. There is nothing like sitting in mission control at 2 AM looking at the pictures newly received from the Rover, knowing that we in the room are the first people on Earth to see them. It has been an honor to work with the most brilliant team of people I have ever met in my career.
Both at work and at home, I will cherish the experiences we have had, the knowledge we have gained, and the friends we have made on this two part adventure: exploring Mars at work and living on Mars Time at home.”
Now that we’ve been on Mars time for almost a month, we’re starting to feel some side effects. We think we are feeling a mild form of cabin fever. There are two main things that are effecting us; Sunlight and people.
Sunlight not only provides vitamin D, but it also effects attitude. Some people on MER suffered from depression due to lack of sunlight. We don’t feel depression, but we do feel cooped up. We try to go out during daylight hours and that helps us feel less stuck indoors.
The biggest problem we have is with people. It’s been great being together as a family, and we’ve had some really important bonding time. However, being with the same people 24/7, and not seeing anyone else (for the most part) gets to you after a month. This week we’ve arranged times to see friends to help combat it. We are actually looking forward to school just so we can see other people! (This is not saying that we don’t get along - there have actually been less arguments since we’ve been on Mars time)
I’d just like to thank all my readers and followers. I didn’t think that I could get more than 1000 hits all month, but I’m currently at over 14,000 hits! Thanks so much!
We’ve pretty much lost track of what day it is. Towards the beginning of the month we could say things like tomorrow, tonight, last night, tomorrow night, ect. Right now our day is split between two days, and we’ve resorted to calling our days “Sols.” Currently our Sol is split between two Earth days.
To tell what we’re talking about, we’ve been using terms like “Solmorrow” and “Yestersol.” This gets pretty weird when saying “Yestersol night” and “Solmorrow evening.”
If you have any other ideas please comment them. We need terms like night, evening, and today that are somehow combined with “Sol.” Thanks!
Our family woke up yesterday and had no idea what the date was (Earth time). We’ve stopped working in days and started working in Sols (Martian days since landing). This made us reflect on our schedule and ask; Again… why are we doing this?
As a family we think it’s a lot of fun, but we talked to Dad and here’s what he had to say:
"The Curiosity Rover operates on Mars time, which is LMST (Local Mean Solar Time) at the landing site. A Martian day is 39 minutes longer than a day on Earth and is called a Sol. Every Sol at 10am LMST, the rover "wakes up" and listens for orders from Earth. A flight director has to be in mission control to send commands at 10am LMST every day.
BUT: Before the commands are sent, a flight director has to review and approve the commands. Therefore, the flight director comes in about 5 hours earlier than the command time every Sol; around 5am LMST.
Therefore, both the flight director (me) and my family are effectively running 5 martian hours ahead of the rover every day. We get up earlier than the rover so that we can be ready to send commands at 10am LMST. This new time ends up being our “body time” or the time on which the family runs. You could also say we are 5 time zones ahead of Curiosity, or (LMST) + 5hrs”
Just testing the Ask feature! When asking questions please use the same courtesy you use when commenting. Thanks!
Up under the Marstimr logo is a link that says “Ask me anything.” If you have any in-depth questions about us or about Curiosity feel free to ask. Using the Ask feature will allow for more detailed answers than just commenting. I also think that strings of comments (off of questions) could be really interesting!
When asking questions the same rules as commenting apply. Please be polite!
I’ve been using Mars24 to create my time stamps, but it only had the times for MER and Phoenix (I had to put in coordinates for MSL time). This new version features times for MSL (Curiosity), MER-B (Opportunity), and Mars (LMST at 0 degrees). For any of you who want to check it out follow this link:
Using a program called Disqus I enabled commenting. If you like a post, have questions, or have suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.
I do however have some rules. I discourage irrelevant comments and will quickly dispose of them. I also ask that you avoid personal comments and advertisements. **Crude language (including swear words and Klingon) will not be tolerated.**
If the comment system is abused I will shut it down. If any crude language is used I will immediately delete the comment and shut down the system.
Please understand that I would like this to be a fun feature! I think it can be useful (and it isn’t easy to enable) so I really don’t want to have any problems.
There is a quote at JPL, so much overused there that some have it committed to memory:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
This next one really sums up what everyone working on this project feels. The amount of time and dedication these people sent is worth more to them than the some multi billion dollar spaceship. For some, this is their entire career’s work (thus far) and it means so much to them. It is also worth so much to their families, who see them work crazy shifts and put so much dedication into it. I hope you feel the same as us.
A Facebook post from Dr. Oh:
"In [less than] 24 hours, Curiosity lands on Mars. I have spent 6 years working on the largest, most complex, and most advanced rover ever developed. It has been an honor to work with the most brilliant team of people I have ever met in my career. Regardless of success or failure, I will cherish the experiences we have had, the knowledge we have gained, and the friends we have made on this great adventure.
P.S. T stands for time, T- is time minus, or time till landing.
We’ve started switching our times! We stay up until 11 and 11:30 at night, and sleep in until 10am! It’s fun staying up late; we get to play games in our pajamas!
Tomorrow’s the landing! It lands 10:31pm PDT. Tomorrow night we’re going to see the landing at Caltech. If you haven’t seen the landing videos then check my past posts. It really will be seven minutes of terror!
“For landing this, I’ll take all the great engineering we have, and all the luck you can give us, too.” -David Oh
Today is August 2, and we are preparing to go onto Mars time. My brother, sister, and I are staying up late (until 11 or 11:30) and are sleeping in as long as we can.
When we finally go onto Mars time, we will stay up 40 mins later than the previous day, and will sleep in as long as possible. We will not start changing our clocks until August 5, because that is the day Dad switches over. (Dad is not staying up with us because he has to work)
Once our clocks change, I will try to post every few days or so. At first, our life will not look that much different from normal, but as we go later and later into the month, our lives will begin to get much stranger.
Only 3 days till landing. MSL needs all the prayers it can get. Please hope for us!