The European Space Agency (ESA) has “urgently” called for establishing a Moon time zone as countries plan on building their own lunar bases in the near future. According to Fox News, ESA stated that there is a need for the Earth’s natural satellite to have its own time zone as some of the future spacecrafts will likely be communicating and working together.
Pietro Giordano, a navigation system engineer for the agency, said that experts are looking for a “common lunar reference time” for space agencies to use in a bid to best keep track of time when on the moon. “A joint international effort is now being launched towards achieving this,” Mr Giordano added.
As per The Independent, ESA highlighted the “importance and urgency” of establishing an internationally accepted common lunar reference time towards which all lunar systems and users may refer to. This discussion began with a meeting with ESA’s ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) in the Netherlands last November. It is part of a larger effort to agree on a common “LunaNet” architecture covering communication and navigation services on the Moon.
“During this meeting at ESTEC, we agreed on the importance and urgency of defining a common lunar reference time, which is internationally accepted and towards which all lunar systems and users may refer to,” Mr Giordano said, as per the outlet.
Notably, under the current system, astronauts use the time of the nation that is operating a spacecraft. However, with more missions looming, scientists are looking for more efficient ways of recording and communicating accurate times.
But according to Fox news, there are still technical issues that scientists have to consider when developing a lunar time system, like the fact that clocks run faster on the moon by about 56 microseconds each day. Tickling also reportedly works differently on the lunar surface than when in orbit. “But having established a working time system for the Moon, we can go on to do the same for other planetary destinations,” said Bernhard Hufenbach, a member of the Moonlight Management Team.
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