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US asks NASA to set an official time for the Moon - Reuters

Nadiya DanyshchukNews
NASA to set official time for the Moon

On April 2, the White House instructed the National Aerospace Administration (NASA) to develop a single time standard for the Moon and other celestial bodies in the solar system. The United States is seeking to establish international standards in space amid a growing "space race" as more and more countries announce plans to explore the Moon, Mars, and near space in general.

This was reported by the British agency Reuters. The publication learned the content of a memo from the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Arati Prabhakar, in which she instructed NASA to develop a plan to establish "consistent lunar time" (LTC) by the end of 2026.

Different gravitational forces and potentially other factors on the Moon and other celestial bodies make it difficult to establish LTC. NASA spokesman Kevin Coggins said that conventional earthly clocks on the Moon may be off, and new instruments designed specifically for space conditions may be needed for accurate measurements. For example, it could be an atomic clock.

"Think about the atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory (in Washington). It is the heartbeat of the nation, which synchronizes everything. You're going to want a heartbeat on the Moon," Coggins said.

Under its program, NASA aims to send astronaut missions to the Moon in the coming years and establish a scientific lunar base that could help lay the groundwork for future missions to Mars. Dozens of companies, spacecraft, and countries are involved in this effort.

According to Kevin Coggins, without a single standard for lunar time, it would be difficult to synchronize communications between the Earth, lunar satellites, future lunar bases, and astronauts.

Time differences could also lead to errors in mapping and determining positions on or around the Moon.

"Imagine if the world didn't synchronize its clocks to the same time. How disruptive that could be and how difficult everyday things would become," Coggins said.

As reported, world space agencies have planned more than 10 missions to the Earth's satellite, the Moon, for 2024. Orbital and descent vehicles, lunar rovers, and even manned spacecraft should pave the way for future research.

Earlier, it was reported that Jeff Bezos, the richest man on Earth, will intervene in the lunar race: his space company Blue Origin intends to land the unmanned Blue Moon Mark 1 (MK1) module on the lunar surface by mid-2025 at the latest. This will be a test mission aimed at demonstrating the reliability and effectiveness of the developed technologies.

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