Heroes

This artist spent a month living on Mars time just to find out what it's like.

If humans are going to live on Mars, our concept of time will have to shift.

This artist spent a month living on Mars time just to find out what it's like.

Inspired by NASA scientists working on the Curiosity mission, Sara Morawetz spent a month living on Mars time.

The Australian-born artist realized that if we lived on Mars, we'd have 40 minutes of extra time each day. But adjusting to that time change could present some major challenges.

Sara M_balance.jpeg


Her project took place in a Brooklyn gallery-turned-bedroom, which looks like the inside of an Ikea catalog. All photos by Sara Morawetz, used with permission.

"It struck me instantly that people aren't really aware of the reality of working towards living on another planet or operations on another planet," she said. "I had this moment where I realized I had never considered time outside of Earth. Mars' time system is slightly different so that lived experience is altered and shifted, and that's what I'm really fascinated by."

Morawetz's artistic project, called "How the Stars Stand," is all about time as an arbitrary construct.

"We could eventually have multiple times we are talking about when we talk about time," she said.

And while an extra 40 minutes a day might sound great, Morawetz said that extra time made it tough to communicate with "earthlings."

During her experiment, Morawetz lived by two clocks — an Earth clock and a Mars clock, which she had to manually adjust. By the middle of the 37-day experiment, she found time completely flipped; her Mars mornings occurred during Earth's nights.

Sara M_alone.jpeg

"Being on your own time is really hard," she said. "Being out of touch with everybody that you know, there was no spontaneity in my days."

At the end of the month, Mars and Earth time synced up again, and Morawetz gratefully "returned" to Earth.

What did she learn? For the most part, those who call Mars their future home will adjust to the time change better than she did.

First, they'll have a community of people to rely on who are all on the same time. And second, their schedules will align with the planet's actual solar cycle.

Communicating with people on Earth will be the real challenge, though.

How do we define time in relation to other systems? How do we share a reality when time and lived experience are so different?

For now those questions remain unanswered, but they are important nonetheless — especially if we want to travel to another planet or a galaxy far, far away.

"My job as an artist isn't to explain the science concretely," Morawetz said. "It's to open up that notion that we will have to negotiate [our rigid standards] later and contemplate what it means for time to have different values."

For all of time's wibbly-wobbly uncertainty, one thing is certain: Morawetz would definitely live on Mars time again.

"On Jupiter, a day is 10 hours long. Maybe I could do it; I don't know. Mercury has a year that's shorter than its day," she said. "There are some practical concerns about trying other planets and whether that would work as well. I think for now at least, Mars will be my friend and we'll continue on."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less