Thursday, 18 April 2024
Trending

[the_ad_group id="2845"]

Investing

White House directs NASA to create time standard for the moon By Reuters

Protecting Palestinians a moral imperative, Pentagon chief tells Israeli counterpart By Reuters

[the_ad id="21475"]

[ad_1]

By Joey Roulette and Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday directed NASA to establish a unified standard of time for the moon and other celestial bodies, as the United States aims to set international norms in space amid a growing lunar race among nations and private companies.

The head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), according to a memo seen by Reuters, instructed the space agency to work with other parts of the U.S. government to devise a plan by the end of 2026 for setting what it called a Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC).

The differing gravitational force, and potentially other factors, on the moon and on other celestial bodies change how time unfolds relative to how it is perceived on Earth. Among other things, the LTC would provide a time-keeping benchmark for lunar spacecraft and satellites that require extreme precision for their missions.

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

OSTP chief Arati Prabhakar’s memo said that for a person on the moon, an Earth-based clock would appear to lose on average 58.7 microseconds per Earth-day and come with other periodic variations that would further drift moon time from Earth time.

“Think of the atomic clocks at the U.S. 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.

Under its Artemis program, NASA is aiming to send astronaut missions to the moon in the coming years and establish a scientific lunar base that could help set the stage for future missions to Mars. Dozens of companies, spacecraft and countries are involved in the effort.

An OSTP official said that without a unified lunar time standard it would be challenging to ensure that data transfers between spacecraft are secure and that communications between Earth, lunar satellites, bases and astronauts are synchronized.

Discrepancies in time also could lead to errors in mapping and locating positions on or orbiting the moon, the official said.

‘HOW DISRUPTIVE’

“Imagine if the world wasn’t syncing their clocks to the same time – how disruptive that might be and how challenging everyday things become,” the official said.

On Earth, most clocks and time zones are based on Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC. This internationally recognized standard relies on a…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at All News…

[ad_2]

[the_ad id="21476"]