White House wants NASA to come up with time standard for the moon

The White House is asking NASA to create a standard time for the moon.

The White House is asking NASA to create a standard time for the moon.

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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a memo this week that says that the Biden Administration wants to “establish time standards at and around celestial bodies other than Earth” and wants NASA to “develop celestial time standardization with an initial focus on the lunar surface,” according to The Washington Post

The memo said that the time standard would become known as “Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC),” the Post reported.

There is less gravity on the moon than on Earth which causes the time on the moon to move faster — about 58.7 microseconds a day — according to The Associated Press.

“An atomic clock on the moon will tick at a different rate than a clock on Earth,” said Kevin Coggins, NASA’s top communications and navigation official, according to the AP. “It makes sense that when you go to another body, like the moon or Mars that each one gets its own heartbeat.”

The White House wants a preliminary idea from NASA by the end of the year, according to the AP. The hope is that NASA will have a final plan by Dec. 2026, according to the Post.

Last January, NASA said it was planning to have its first astronaut lunar landing in Sept. 2026, Reuters reported. It will be the first time an astronaut lunar landing will happen since the Apollo program ended in the 1970s. Another mission is expected with four astronauts flying around the moon and back a year prior in Sept. 2025.

The European Space Agency said last year that Earth has to figure out a “unified time” for the moon. According to the AP, a day on the moon is about 29.5 days on Earth.

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