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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur One, Sol 20 (1.1.20)  6:51 PM NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  23 January 2016  2:00 PM PST

When the United States went to the Moon they were guided by ‘Mission Control.’ In many ways the astronauts were dependent and subservient to the people on the ground. In part, that was because the critical information that supplied data about ship operations was in the massive computers on the ground.

Mars Mission is not controlled from the Earth-based control centers. The mission crew does work with ground based centers; however, those perform an advisory role, not an authoritative one. When the ships and crew are commissioned, Commander Jenna Wade will be the final authority on all ship and mission decisions.

Mars Orbital Transfer Path

Earth to Mars in 110 days

This is not an arbitrary decision, but one of necessity as time delay between Earth and Mars could mean the difference between life and death for the crew. In addition, the crew will almost always have more information about a situation than anyone on Earth.

That is why 1 February is more than just ceremony when the ships and crew are commissioned. The mission actually begins on that day and when ESS QE II departs orbit on 24 February, it will just be another day for the crew…well, maybe another BIG day.