Monday, September 18, 2006

Hey, look at me! I'm famous!

Or at least a group of college students in Singapore have read some of my writing and used it as an example in their paper.

What writing, you say? My Vophick calendar for Mars! I wrote it about seven years ago. It was one of many calendars for Mars that I designed back then.

Their paper is about what life on Mars would be like. One of the sections is on calendars. They discuss in depth four systems: Robert Zubrin's (the head of the Mars Society), Thomas Gangale's, Frans Blok's, and mine. Their write-up on mine starts on page 74.

Zubrin's calendar is twelve uneven-length months that fit the eccentric orbit of Mars so that there are exactly three months per season. The months vary in length between 46 and 66 days.
Gangale's Darian calendar has 24 months of 27 or 28 days each. Blok's calendar is structurally similar to the Darian calendar (24 months of 27/28), but he invented a new naming system for the months so there would be no confusion between Earth and Mars.

My Vophick calendar has sixteen months of 41 or 42 days each. I was trying to strike a balance between the long months that only twelve would create and the large number of months that shorter months would cause. And this is precisely why they included it in their paper.

They also mention my leap-year system as being confusing, which it is. But there really isn't any great solution for that one. Instead of an extra 0.242 days, there's an extra 0.592 days. You try to solve it.

Personally, I settled on my Pavonian calendar, which has twenty months of 33 or 34 days. But I still keep track of the Vophick calendar, as well. FYI, today is August 11 on the Vophick calendar, Acidalia 1 on the Pavonian calendar, and Aries 11 on the Darian calendar. I don't keep track of Zubrin's silly thing.

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