Going to Mars? Better Check Your Body Clock First!

"Hey Mikey, you awake?"
"Can I get a shot of Red Bull in there?"
“Can I get a shot of Red Bull in there?”

Bad news for all you morning people!

A study from the University of Manchester looked at internal clocks, also known as circadian rhythm, compared to Earth’s rotational speed. The researchers took two groups of mice, one of which had a gene inserted that changed their circadian rhythm to 20 hours rather than 24 hours.

After putting the early risers and normal, coffee-drinking mice in outdoor pens and allowing them to mix, something interesting happened. As the mice bred, the 20-hour-gene mice became less common, and by the time the study ended the population was mostly typical, shuffle-to-the-subway, 24-hour-clock mice.

So what’s the big deal? Well, anyone looking to go to Mars might have an issue if their clock runs fast (meaning all of you who are perky early in the day). Because the Martian day is 12 minutes longer than the Terran day, anyone with a faster biological clock will run into issues sooner rather than later.

"Hey Mikey, you awake?"
“Hey Mikey, you awake?”

If you want some good bedside reading, the study can be found here.

Not sure where you fall on the morning person/night owl scale? Score yourself here!

 

So what are you, morning or night person? Where did you rate on the scale? And would you go to Mars, even if you might have solar insomnia?