Such glibness can have consequences far worse than a group of grumpy, exhausted engineers, sleep scientists say. "It's a little shortsighted because you can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a mission but not pay attention to human factors, and that's one of the things that can easily go really, really wrong," Lockley says.
The problem will most likely get more attention if NASA eventually sends a manned mission to Mars. The astronauts on such a mission would probably adapt to the sol with relative ease because they would be receiving all the appropriate light-dark signals, sleep scientists predict. But if it was a prolonged mission that lasted months or years, NASA would have to become more proactive about helping people entrain to a Mars schedule or else come up with an alternative staffing plan for its support crew back on Earth.
Otherwise, it could face another mutiny.
Check in later this week for my posts to the Expeditions Blog on my own experiment to see how it feels to live on Mars time.