NASA asks to set the time on the Moon for 2026 | Trending Viral hub

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The White House has ordered NASA to set a time standard for the Moon, as the United States races to return to the Moon, at a time when several countries, including China and Russia, and private companies, have also put their you look in space.

TO memorandum On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy describes the Biden administration’s desire to “establish weather standards on and around celestial bodies other than Earth” and instructs the space agency to “develop a standardization of celestial weather with an initial focus on the lunar surface.” for December 2026.

The unified time standard will be known as “Lunar Time Coordinated (LTC),” the memo says.

A standardized time reference is needed because the Moon has a weaker gravitational pull than the Earth due to its smaller mass, meaning that time moves slightly faster on the Moon than on Earth: on average, 58, 7 microseconds per day, “with additional periodic variations.” the memo says.

The project, first reported by Reuterswill be important because “knowledge of weather… is critical to the scientific discovery, economic development, and international collaboration that form the foundation of U.S. leadership in space,” the memo said.

“Clocks run faster on the Moon,” Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal of Scotland and professor of astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh, said in an interview. “This is one of the beauties of fundamental physics: Crazy things happen.”

Heymans explained that “the way we define time on planet Earth is with an atomic clock.” Atomic clocks are affected by gravity, meaning that “if you took that same atomic clock to the moon, in 50 years it would be one second faster than the atomic clock on Earth.”

“So it’s a very small change in time” between the Earth and the Moon, he said, but as Einstein’s theories of relativity As they explain, time “runs faster on the Moon than on Earth.” According to the theory, time moves differently depending on where you are in a gravity field, and time moves faster where gravity is weakest.

Timing is an exact science for technologists — and in atomic time, a second is defined as 9,192,631,770 oscillations of a cesium atom.

Furthermore, Heymans points out that a day on the Moon (including a day and a night) is also different from a day on Earth. One lunar day is 29.5 Earth days, he said. “This means that on the Moon, the sun rises for about two Earth weeks, and then it is dark and nighttime for about the next two Earth weeks.”

The White House memo says that one of the key reasons for time standardization is due to the fact that the United States plans to “return humans to the Moon and develop capabilities that enable a lasting presence.”

from NASA Artemis lunar program aims to realize the American goal of returning astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Artemis II aims to send a human crew around the moon, and its crew include the first woman, the first African American and the first Canadian to fly on a lunar mission. POT wait to launch Artemis III, which involves a human moon landing, for September 2026.

The time for standardization comes as China, India, Russia, Japan and others are also pushing for a greater presence in space; China, in particular, has saying Its goal is to land its first astronauts on the moon before 2030. Private companies They are also developing initiatives to send commercial spacecraft to the surface and orbit of the Moon, for scientific research and mineral mining.

“United States leadership in defining an appropriate standard, one that achieves the precision and resilience necessary to operate in the challenging lunar environment, will benefit all space-capable nations,” the memo said, also noting that a “unified time standard will be critical to these efforts.” .”

Last year, the European Space Agency published its own memorandum highlighting the “urgency of defining a common lunar reference time”, recognizing a “new era of lunar exploration”.

Like the White House, he said it was no longer sufficient to base the time of celestial bodies on Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, which is widely used on Earth, and that a more precise time reference is needed as the use of the moon becomes more sophisticated. and common.

Standardization of timing will also allow for greater precision in spacecraft docking, data transfers, communication and navigation, Heymans said. “There would be chaos on Earth if we didn’t all have the same time,” and that could soon be the case on an increasingly busy moon, he added.

Earth’s moon is the largest and brightest object in our night sky and is about 27 percent the size of Earth. according to NASA.

“It is always there in our lives. “What is so beautiful about the moon is that it is constantly changing, it never looks the same from one night to the next,” Heymans said.

“If we want to work safely in that Moon environment, we have to take into account that fundamental different nature over time,” Heymans added. He also pointed out one advantage of possible lunar time: by not needing to maximize daylight hours, there would be no need to apply daylight saving time there.

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