NASA To Create New Time Zone For Moon


Lisa Moore Contributor
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The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) petitioned NASA to create time zones for the moon and other celestial bodies, a White House press release announced Tuesday.

Arati Prabhakar, the head of the OSTP, requested that NASA institute Coordinated Lunar Time, or LTC, to facilitate future space missions and navigation by the end of 2026, according to her memorandum.

“Over the next decade, the United States will work with allies and partners to return humans to the Moon and develop capabilities to enable an enduring presence,” Prabkar’s memorandum states. “A unified time standard will be foundational to these efforts.”(RELATED: US Makes First Moon Landing In 50 Years)

“As NASA, private companies, and space agencies around the world launch missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, it’s important that we establish celestial time standards for safety and accuracy,” OSTP Deputy Director for National Security Steve Welby states in the press release. “A consistent definition of time among operators in space is critical to successful space situational awareness capabilities, navigation, and communications, all of which are foundational to enable interoperability across the U.S. government and with international partners.”

LTC will “enable cislunar operations and can be tied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) … on Earth,” the press release states.

However, establishing LTC will be a complex operation.

“Due to general and special relativity, the length of a second defined on Earth will appear distorted to an observer under different gravitational conditions … to an observer on the Moon, an Earth-based clock will appear to lose on average 58.7 microseconds per Earth-day with additional periodic variations,” the memorandum states. “This holds important implications for developing standards and capabilities for operating on or around the Moon.”  (RELATED: Let The New Moon Landing Kick Off Our Journey Back To Greatness)

NASA has scheduled to send four astronauts to the Moon September 2025, Reuters reports.