Monday, April 8, 2024

Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)

Aimee Picchi:

The moon could soon get its own time zone.

The White House is directing NASA to work with other government agencies to develop a lunar-based time system called Coordinated Lunar Time, abbreviated as LTC. The Biden administration has given the space agency until the end of 2026 to hammer out the new system.

According to a Tuesday memo from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the goal is to create a standard time measurement that will help coordinate efforts as humanity returns to the moon for exploration and economic development. The reality of such developments is not far off, with Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander touching down on the moon earlier this year and NASA planning a manned landing in 2026.

Debbie Goldsmith:

I keep seeing the news about lunar time presented as “the Moon is getting its own time zone.” What’s actually happening is the Moon is getting its own time standard. The problem being solved is that time passes slightly more quickly on the Moon compared to Earth (due to General Relativity) and so the Moon needs its own time standard for precise measurements and navigation. UTC is the time standard for measuring time on Earth, and LTC is being created for the Moon.

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The Apollo lunar missions used Central Time as a convenience for Mission Control in Houston. For extremely detailed information on the Apollo Central Timing Equipment, consult CuriousMarc's YouTube channel.

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