White House asks NASA to create special time zone for the moon - Hindustan Times
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White House asks NASA to create special time zone for the moon

ByArya Vaishnavi
Apr 05, 2024 01:06 AM IST

The new time zone must be developed by the end of 2026, the White House said

NASA has been assigned a new task by the White House. In a letter issued Tuesday, officials said that the office wants the US space agency to establish a unified standard time for the moon and other “celestial bodies.” The request comes as an effort to create a standard for “timekeeping.”

The White House asks NASA to create a new time zone for the moon, namely Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)
The White House asks NASA to create a new time zone for the moon, namely Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)

White House asks NASA to create new time zone for moon

The White House states that the proposed Coordinated Lunar Time, LTC, is aimed at making space missions more efficient by providing enhanced assistance. The new time zone must be developed by the end of 2026, the White House added.

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Arati Prabhakar, the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, explained in the letter that a special time zone is “fundamental to the scientific discovery, economic development, and international collaboration.”

Prabhakar notes that standardising time for the moon would make space operations safer and acknowledged “important implications” associated with the creation of LTC. Since the moon has lesser gravity when compared to the earth, the time moves 58.7 microseconds quicker on the natural satellite.

The letter continues, “Due to general and special relativity, the length of a second defined on Earth will appear distorted to an observer under different gravitational conditions, or to an observer moving at a high relative velocity.”

It further adds that in order to establish safe navigation for future space missions, “the area within the moon’s orbit must have a consistent definition of time among users.”

“Exploration of Cislunar space opens a new sphere of human activity and offers opportunities to advance scientific understanding, exploration, and economic growth,” it adds.

“We are grateful to those across the community who have contributed to date, and to those who continue to share their valuable knowledge to shape our collective understanding of this topic as we move forward,” Prabhakar further added.

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