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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur Two, Friday, Sol 9 (001.2.9)  09:46 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Sunday, 13 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT
  • Distance traveled:  58,579,560 kilometers   Time Delay:  3 mins 00 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  333,830,192 kilometers

Daylight Saving Time on Earth does not impact ESEP. The entire organization operates on Noctis Standard Time, which is not affected by Earth time zones, nor annual changes in time for the seasons of Earth. In addition, the Mars landing site is close enough to the equator that there is no reason to impose a Daylight Saving-type change to the standard time.

However, an adjustment to the location of ESEP’s operation is advantageous in keeping Earth in synch with the mission.  A Mars day is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, so every eight days or so the administrative functions on Earth is moved west in order to keep the Mars day aligned with the Earth day. The day of the swap is known as the Daylight Saving Day, as it is done to keep Earth-based ESEP functions in the daylight when the Mars landing site is in the daylight.

Currently, the administrative functions are handled out of the San Jose ESEP Center in California. At 12:01 AM NST it will switch to Kumamoto, Japan. A handful of administrators will leave San Jose at about 4:00 PM NST today and arrive in Japan at about 3:00 AM NST (6:00 AM JST.) At 6:00 AM NST (9:00 AM JST) the day shift will begin for ESEP.

It was during the last swap from the twin Operation Centers in Figueres, Spain and Perpignan, France that one of the three planes carrying the administrative team crashed in the North Atlantic. Today was haunted by the fact that it was the first Daylight Saving Day since the tragedy.

While it was on the minds of the Command team listening to Megan De Luca, it didn’t seem to faze her as she was explaining,

“Director, I understand your concerns; however, the more this has been discussed, the more logical it seems. The one issue is computer power. As we move into longer and longer transmission delays, the infrastructure needed to support an offworld centered administration becomes a critical issue.

The solution seems to be a triple-redundant computer system. This would mean computer centers on Earth, in orbit above Earth on Earth Prime, and a computer center on Mars. We had discussed the computer center on Mars as part of the establishment of self-sufficient colonies; however, what we are talking about now is sending the infrastructure up as soon as we have it built. This also means that a significant element of colonization will now be in place years before we planned.

Establishing ESEP administration offworld also means establishing support staff on Mars ahead of schedule. Development and Exploration would be concurrent. Life support and food resources would become a high priority. None of this is a negative, it just means we are moving faster than we originally planned. Let me know if we can move forward on this. It is pending your approval.”

Naomi was the first to speak,

“Director, Paige will be the lead on the computer system and Earthside has discussed this with her. Based on her recommendation, they could have the hardware ready to leave Earth orbit by the second or third week of Sur Three. I’m not sure when it would be in Mars orbit, but it would be a shorter trip than ours, so it would be there soon after we have established our landing site.”

Roman Gomez followed up,

“Director, the timing of it is good. They are talking about a three section Quill, and it would be best to land it close to our base, so connecting it up would be less complicated than bringing it in later. They expect Earth Prime’s computer center to be operational by the time we arrive at Mars.”

Jenna said,

“Alright, it’s a go; and Megan, I want this to be an open decision, with it revisited after we arrive at Mars. None of us really know what our lives will be like once we start putting people on the surface. I’ll assume the Directorship on those conditions. Also, let’s move up the next mission. Roman, I need you and Lanny to come up with a priority list of what we need and when we need it. Assume we will have four more missions by the end of this year, and a January mission. Look at equipment, supplies, and personnel.

Kayla, your medical center has now become a full-fledged hospital. Find out what we need for 400 people on Mars by Sur One of Year Two. Wendy, you need to look at staffing and facilities for your team. Assume two bases, four outposts, and multiple remote operations by the start of Year Two.

Ken, I’m not sure we can keep you as Commodore on Mars Prime. Look for a replacement and the timing of getting them to Mars. Same for you Naomi. Roman, at one point the engineering team discussed using Storm Crater as a city center and covering it with a transparent dome. Would you and Lanny look into the idea and decide whether we would be better with excavating living spaces underground or using a crater and building in to it.

Now, Megan, let’s talk about Daylight Saving Day.”