Living on Mars Time: Scientists Suffer Perpetual Jet Lag

Morten Bo Madsen spends his work day crunching data on a laptop seated in front of a clear plastic-covered box about the size of a widescreen computer monitor that emits a startlingly bright blue light.
No, this isn’t a scene from a sci-fi movie. Madsen is one of the 150 scientists and engineers working on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission. The bright light keeps Madsen’s internal clock in check, because Madsen, you see, is living on Mars time.
Phoenix is a $420 million mission with the aim of sampling and analyzing the dirt and subsurface ice layer in the north polar regions of Mars as it looks for signs that the red planet may have been habitable at some point in the past.
Since the spacecraft landed on Mars on May 25, mission controllers have been living on its schedule, or rather the exact opposite of it. When the spacecraft is sleeping during the Martian night, the scientists are up analyzing data; when the spacecraft rises at the beginning of the day on Mars, they retire and let Phoenix do its work.