A Return Trip From Mars Would Give You The Worst Jet Lag Known To Man
With an extra 40 minutes each day, you'd finally have time to establish a yoga practice or watch that trendy new TV show.
With that time, however, comes exhaustion.
A new article for The Atlantic analyzes the potential consequences of extra time for humans moving to Mars.
Although there's plenty of hope the Red Planet may one day be habitable, Harvard sleep medicine professor Charles Czeisler has been performing short-length trials and isn't so sure.
On Mars, each day (called a "sol") is 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds long. Even though the circadian rhythms that tell humans when to wake and sleep are somewhat flexible, it seems those 40 minutes each day add up.
Instead of being just a few minutes behind Earth time, those on Martian time would soon be living days and weeks behind their counterparts back home.
Part of that cumulative exhaustion has to do with light. On Earth, the blue light of day wakes us and the reddish sunsets lull us to sleep.
According to The Atlantic, however, the lighting on Mars is bound to throw human visitors for a loop, with red daytime light and blue sunsets.
To combat the impending "rocket lag," Czeisler is experimenting with light therapy in order to help astronauts adjust their regular patterns of sleep and wakefulness.
He helped design blue and red-toned LED light bulbs that will soon receive a working trial on the International Space Station. They can be adjusted to simulate dawn or dusk, depending on the hour.
While Czeisler and his team attempt to find a solution for the Martian light problem, you might want to reconsider wishing for an extra hour in the day.
It may be an extra 40 minutes too much.