Finally, calendaring has been quite an adventure. I started the process in Excel, listing David's start and stop times each day. I have lots of columns: Wake time and day (both in Earth time and Mars time), Sleep time and day since wake and sleep often fall on separate days, equivalent lunch and dinner times, sunrise and sunset, etc. I have a column with suggested activities based on our schedule. It gets a little more complicated in the places I have to maintain two separate schedules - one for David and one for the rest of us. That happens at the beginning and end of August. Once I was happy with the schedule in Excel, I created Sleep blocks in my Google calendar so I can see my schedule on the go.
I'm still considering what time I want to see on my "wrist watch" or house clocks. I may set my phone and some key clocks in the house to display the time zone we are in for the day instead of PDT so that our bodies gets daily cues (e.g. lunch/dinner) from the clocks.
Oh! One very low-tech device we are using is a full length mirrored closet door turned on its side plus a handful of dry erase markers. I plan on posting the upcoming wake/lunch/dinner/sleep times plus David's start and stop times. Maybe I'll add a column that tells everyone how much to set their clocks ahead by, too.
Will you be doing anything else to simulate living on Mars, like eating space rations or closing the shades to simulate the Mars night when it's daytime here?
BRADEN: Hopefully we won't have to have space rations (freeze dried food is pretty nasty), but we are putting blinds up in our rooms. Public windows will remain uncovered. Windows in bedrooms will always be covered in the hopes that it will help us sleep. The covers are removable however, so we could uncover them if we wanted to.
BRYN: We will not be doing anything special to simulate living on Mars -- no space rations, or anything. Instead, we are embracing what it's like to live in a big city at night. Our list of activities include things like: night hikes, midnight dinner at Denny's, visit Hollywood or the Santa Monica pier, teach our youngest to ride his bike in an empty parking lot, see a sunrise, figure out who actually goes to 24 Hour Fitness at 3 a.m. We're definitely interested in other people's ideas, too.
What do you expect will be the most difficult challenges?
BRADEN: Rotating our internal clock. We will have to stay up late and stay in bed even longer. Staying up late shouldn't be a problem for us boys, but staying in bed until wake up will be. It will probably be vice versa for my sister, who doesn't like to stay up at all.
BRYN: I think the hardest part will be staying motivated throughout the entire month. I hear that it's grueling to move your body clock day after day after day. I think it will be especially difficult if any of the children give up. One of my kids has a fairly rigid internal clock, and moving it one day, let alone 30 days, might prove quite a challenge.
I am also concerned about how difficult it will be to work against the sun. At least when you suffer jet lag, the sun is on your side. Studies from MER show that people get cranky on Mars time. Add to that a lack of sunlight, and we might not be the nicest or happiest people to be around.