NASA intends to introduce a unified standard for time zones on the Moon - Kommersant

NASA intends to introduce a unified standard for time zones on the Moon - Kommersant

The Joe Biden administration has instructed NASA to introduce a single time standard for the Moon and other celestial bodies, reports Reuters.

According to the agency, the order came from the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Arati Prabhakar. He instructed NASA to develop a concept for introducing coordinated lunar time by the end of 2026.

The US desire to introduce its own time standard is associated with an increase in the number of lunar missions and tougher competition in space. Thus, the United States, as part of the Artemis program, intends to send astronauts to the Moon in the coming years and create a scientific base on the surface of the Earth’s satellite.

The head of OSTP said that without a uniform lunar time standard, it would be difficult to ensure the security of data transmission between spacecraft and the synchronization of communications between the Earth, lunar satellites, bases and astronauts.

The United States was not the first to announce its intention to establish a single standard for lunar time zones. In February 2023 with the same initiative spoke European Space Agency (ESA). For this purpose, the agency has developed its own platform LunaNet.

However, developing such a time standard for the Moon will be very difficult, say NASA and ESA experts. Clocks on the Moon run faster than their terrestrial counterparts, accelerating by about 56 microseconds (or millionths of a second) per day. And their exact speed also depends on the position on the Moon - on the surface and in orbit the indicators will differ.

About the lunar race between the USA and China - in the material "Kommersant" “The lunar race adjusts the timing”.

Kirill Sarkhanyants

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