Mars: 21M (Sol 21) 07:41 LMST
Earth: August 27, 2012 04:35 PDT
“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.”