NASA will create special time pattern for the Moon by 2026

NASA will create special time pattern for the Moon by 2026
NASA will create special time pattern for the Moon by 2026
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Have you ever wondered what a specific time pattern would be like for the Moon, like a lunar time zone? To find out, the United States government instructed NASA this Tuesday (2) to create a unified time standard on our natural satellite and other bodies in space. Now, the North American space agency will work with other federal units and international agencies to establish by September 2026 what was called Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC).

The idea is not to create something like the time zones we have on Earth, but rather a complete time frame of reference on the Moon. As the lunar gravity is weaker than that of our planet, time passes 58.7 microseconds faster than it does. in the land. “The same clock we have on Earth would move at a different pace on the Moon,” explained Kevin Coggins, NASA’s chief of space communications and navigation.

The difference of 58.7 microseconds may seem small, but it is enough to cause a misalignment between time on Earth and time on the Moon.” Think of the atomic clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory. They are the nation’s ‘heartbeat,’ synchronizing everything. You’ll want a heartbeat on the Moon,” Coggins added.

According to him, “it makes sense that when you go to another body [no espaço], like the Moon or Mars, may each have its own heartbeat.” This is where LTC comes in: with coordinated lunar time, lunar probes and satellites would have the extreme precision needed to carry out their missions.

Without UTC, it would be difficult to guarantee the synchrony necessary for data transfers between lunar spacecraft and astronauts (Image: Reproduction/NASA)

But how will this happen? Well, to understand, we can use Earth as a reference: here, clocks and time zones operate according to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), defined from a large global network of atomic clocks positioned in different places. They measure changes in the state of atoms and generate an average, which allows time to be determined precisely.

For the LTC to be created, it may be necessary to take atomic clocks to the Moon. Furthermore, the implementation of this time standard will also require international agreements according to standards and between the more than 30 nations that have signed the Artemis Accords, which determine how nations they must act in space and on the Moon. Brazil signed the Agreements in 2021; China and Russia, the United States’ biggest rivals in space, do not.

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Source: Reuters

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: NASA create special time pattern Moon

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