US directs NASA to create standard time for Moon amid growing space race | World News

US directs NASA to create standard time for Moon amid growing space race | World News
US directs NASA to create standard time for Moon amid growing space race | World News

The White House has asked NASA to establish a unified standard of time for the moon amid a growing space race between countries.

NASA has been told to devise a plan by 2026 to set up a Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC), according to the instructions given by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

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LTC would provide a benchmark for time on the lunar surface to improve the precision of mission-bound spacecraft and satellites. The task is a challenge due to the moon’s varying gravitational force and other factors that would need to be considered in the process.

“The same clock that we have on Earth would move at a different rate on the moon,” said Kevin Coggins, NASA’s space communications and navigation chief.

According to the OSTP memo to Nasa, an Earth-based clock would appear to lose on average 58.7 microseconds per Earth-day and would have other kinds of variations too.

“Think of the atomic clocks in the US Naval Observatory (in Washington). They’re the heartbeat of the nation, synchronizing everything. You’re going to want a heartbeat on the moon,” Coggins said.

US ups efforts for Artemis moon mission

The project comes as the US plans to revamp its moon missions with the Artemis program. As part of the program, NASA will send astronauts to the moon and build a scientific lunar base. The project’s work will assist scientific advancements that could improve the chances of successful Mars missions later.

According to the OSTP, a unified lunar time is needed to ensure secure data transfers between spacecraft. It will also synchronize the communication between satellites, astronauts, bases and the Earth.

Clocks on Earth

On the Earth, Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the primary time standard globally used to regulate clocks and time. It operates through a global network of atomic clocks worldwide, which measure changes in the state of atoms to generate an average that makes up a precise time.

The US officials are hoping for a similar system on the moon.

(With inputs from agencies)

 
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