Apr 3, 2024
2 mins read
2 mins read

NASA Seeks Clock For the Moon, Where Seconds Tick Faster

NASA Seeks Clock For the Moon, Where Seconds Tick Faster

WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — NASA hopes to develop an out-of-this-world way to keep track of time, putting the moon on a separate clock.

It isn’t a time zone, like on Earth, but a lunar frame-of-reference. Because gravity is less on the moon, time there moves  58.7 microseconds faster each day compared to Earth.

The White House instructed NASA to collaborate with U.S. and international agencies to create a moon-centric time system.

“An atomic clock on the moon will tick at a different rate than a clock on Earth,” said Kevin Coggins, NASA’s top communications and navigation official. “It makes sense that when you go to another body, like the moon or Mars, that each one gets its own heartbeat.”

When astronauts were sent to the moon in the 1960s and ‘70s, they wore watches, but timing wasn’t as precise as it now with GPS, satellites and communications systems, Coggins said. Those microseconds matter when high-tech systems interact, he said.

The White House wants NASA to create a preliminary idea by the end of 2024 and have a final plan in late-2026. 

NASA is aiming to send astronauts around the moon in September 2025 and land people on the surface a year later.

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