NASA will develop new time reference system on the Moon

NASA will develop new time reference system on the Moon
NASA will develop new time reference system on the Moon
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Thinking about increasing the precision of space missions, the American agency is now making efforts to establish Coordinated Lunar Time; understand!

Just over a century ago, the brilliant German physicist Albert Einstein made a discovery that would greatly change what was thought about one of the basic principles of physics: time is not absolute, but relativewhich means it can run differently depending on, for example, what planet you are on.

With that in mind, NASA is now working on a way to try to discover the time on the moon.

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, a memo sent by the head of the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) asked the famous space agency to work together with other agencies, not only American but also international, so that it could establish a new time reference system focused solely on the Moon.

Called Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC), it should be established by the end of 2026.

According to The Guardian, it would not work exactly as if it were a time zone, as it is inside the Earth, but would rather define a complete picture with a new time reference for the Moon. It is known that as there gravity is weaker than here, time moves a little faster.

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An atomic clock on the Moon will run at a different rate than a clock on Earth,” he explains. Kevin Coggins, NASA communications and navigation official, in a statement. “It makes sense that when you go to another body, like the Moon or Mars, each would have its own heartbeat.”

Now, NASA plans to send new manned missions to the lunar surface starting in September 2026, in its Artemis program, which should also establish a scientific lunar base that could be, even more, the first steps towards a mission on Mars. Dozens of companies and spacecraft from around the world will be involved in these efforts.

Why a new time?

As an OSTP official explained to Reuters, a unified lunar time standard is important so that data transfers between spacecraft are more efficient. safe and accurate, ensuring greater synchronization between the Moon and Earth. Furthermore, discrepancies in time could also lead to failures in mapping and locating the Moon in its orbit.

It is worth explaining that, on Earth, clocks and time zones operate in the so-called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is based on a network of atomic clocks spread across different locations around the globe that measure changes in the state of atoms, generating an average that constitutes a precise time.

Therefore, atomic clocks will probably be needed on the Moon for the development of LTC.

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However, there are still other obstacles: for example, to officially implement the LTC, it will be necessary to adopt international agreements between the 36 nations that signed a pact called Artemis agreementwhich involves actions in space and on the Moon by countries.

It is important to highlight that China and Russia, the United States’ main rivals when it comes to space exploration, are not part of this agreement.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: NASA develop time reference system Moon

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