[tz] Sol 5000 for Opportunity

Brian Inglis Brian.Inglis at SystematicSw.ab.ca
Sun Feb 18 07:08:25 UTC 2018

On 2018-02-17 21:48, Marshall Eubanks wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 17, 2018 at 9:46 PM, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Tim Parenti wrote:
>>> Today, 16 February 2018, at 01:26:20.092 UTC, it is 01:01:06 Coordinated 
>>> Mars Time on Mars Sol Date 51235>> What's the source for these timestamps? It's an Earth reference frame,
>> surely? 

> The short answer is that so far, it effectively is.>
> Mars spacecraft keep (so far) an effective Earth time. Their clocks (so far) 
> typically aren't that good, and so they are just treated as if they were on
> TAI or even UTC and adjusted from time to time to keep close to Earth time.>
> Mars Coordinated Time (or MTC) is the Mars Mean Solar Time (the Mars
> equivalent of UT1) for the Mars reference longitude (crater Airy-0). However,
> I believe that all of the lander/rover missions to date use actually the mean
> solar time for their latitude and longitude (roughly, UT0 + a longitude
> correction) in setting their sols and the local solar time. No spacecraft
> clock is AFAIK set to run at MTC.
JPL have defined time zones based on Airy Mean Time: see under Local and "Zonal"
Times in:


based on:


> The Martian local solar time undergoes fairly large variations over a
> Martian year, much as the local solar time does on Earth, but more so, due to
> the larger orbital eccentricity. The wikipedia article describes these and 
> provides a formula for getting MST from terrestrial time (TT = TAI + 32.184 
> seconds).>
> I helped to determine the mean Mars length of day (LOD) and what little is 
> known about its variations from Viking and Pathfinder data. There is a fairly
> large seasonal variation of Mars LOD (due to the seasonal transfer of CO2 to
> and from the poles) but little is known about any long period changes in
> Martian LOD, and thus it is not known whether leap seconds would be needed to
> keep Mars atomic time (once that is set up) and Mars mean solar time 
> aligned.
>> Because of relativistic effects, if an observer on Earth sees that
>> Mars's 51235 01:01:06.000 CMT timestamp corresponds to Earth's 2018-02-16 
>> 01:26:20.092 UTC timestamp, then I guess that an observer on Mars should
>> see that the same CMT timestamp corresponds to a slightly-different UTC 
>> timestamp, even assuming both observers have error-free measurements, and 
>> that the difference will be observable with millisecond-precision 
>> timestamps.
>>>> This is due to both the relative velocity of the Earth and Mars and to
>> gravitational-field effects. For millisecond/year precision Pan and Xie 
>> write that you need to figure in not only the gravitational effects of the 
>> Earth, Mars, and the Sun, but also those of Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and 
>> Venus (!). See their analytic model of timekeeping for a Yinghuo-1-like 
>> mission in:>> Pan J-Y, Xie Y. Relativistic algorithm for time transfer in Mars missions
>> under IAU resolutions: an analytic approach. RAA. 2015. 15(2):281-92.>> https://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1674-4527/15/2/011>>
> The Wikipedia article does not discuss the relativistic differences between
> time on the Earth and time on Mars, but these are significant; Mars is both
> traveling slower on its orbit and further out in the Sun's gravitational
> potential. Atomic time on Mars would run faster than AT on Earth by about 5.1
> x 10^-9, or ~0.16 seconds per year, on average, and there are seasonal and
> other variations. This is taken into account in great detail in the Martian
> ephemeris work, but so far as far as I know the people setting the spacecraft
> clocks ignore it.
> The long awaited arrival of the first Deep Space Atomic Clock into Mars
> orbit will change all of this. That will not be adjusted in rate and thus
> would run fast by 3.4 parts per billion (on average) compared to its cousins
> back here on or near Earth, or roughly 7 orders of magnitude above its
> hoped-for sensitivity level.
JPL needs to set up an [I]MRS to coordinate TAM, MTC(Airy), model and measure dMT.
TAI, UTC, UTn may need renamed to TAT, TTC, TTn, and work started on newer solar
system referenced realizations of TAS, STC, STn.
Pretty presumptuous of the IAU to use Universal: they /should/ know better.
At least the Brits only claim GMT is accurate at Greenwich: after the adoption
of Greenwich (approx.) as the International Meridian at the eponymous
Conference, perhaps they should have kept the pattern and called it IMT,
although the French may have preferred TIM (old UK phone # for talking clock),
TMI, or compromised on MIT.

> How (or even whether) future Mars colonists will align their time with the 
> Earth's remains to be seen.
>> The whole idea of time transfer between Mars and Earth brings into stark 
>> relief what an easy job it is to track civil timekeeping on Earth, compared
>> to how it would be elsewhere. And Mars is an easy case. Someone should
>> alert Elon Musk.
He'd claim to use Terra Time, but we'd all know it really meant Tesla Time ;^>

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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