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.

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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.

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"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."

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.