Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021 on Earth is a big deal for a lot of humans. It's Super Bowl Sunday. But it's also a big deal on Mars because it marks the Martian New Year, an event that happens much less often than on our own planet.
As we look ahead to someday sending humans to Mars, we should start thinking more about Martian holidays. A year on the red planet lasts 687 Earth days, so we would need a lot less champagne and noisemakers than we do back home.
This week, the European Space Agency (ESA) offered some suggestions for marking the Martian New Year. "If you would like to feel younger, just divide your current age by 1.88 and casually mention to your friends that that's your real age … on Mars," said ESA.
We know it's 2021 on Earth, but what year will it be on Mars? The answer: 36. "The count started in Earth year 1955," the ESA said. "This first Martian year coincided with a very large dust storm in its second half, aptly named 'the great dust storm of 1956.'"
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If you ever feel like you don't have enough time in the day, Mars might be for you. Days on Mars (called "sols") last for about 24 hours and 39 minutes.
's Curiosity rover just marked its 3,000-Martian-day anniversary in January.
There are extra reasons for Earthlings to celebrate the Martian New Year this time around. It comes just days before a trio of spacecraft sent by NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates reach the planet. They'll arrive at slightly different times, and there's a lot of excitement around the landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on Feb. 18.
The next Mars New Year won't happen until Dec. 26, 2022, so break out the bubbly and raise a toast to the red planet and what promises to be an epic Martian year for exploration.
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