US space agency NASA to devise time standard for the moon

The US government says it will start preparing to establish a new unified time standard for the moon.

The White House announced a policy on Tuesday to develop time standards at and around celestial bodies with an initial focus on the lunar surface.

It says the US space agency NASA will play a leading role in setting up Coordinated Lunar Time, or LTC.

Time passes a little faster on the moon than on the Earth. This is because lunar gravity is one-sixth of the Earth's.

The new policy is aimed at enabling countries and businesses to carry out missions accurately and safely to the moon, Mars and beyond.

The White House says NASA will provide a finalized strategy no later than December 31, 2026. It says the agency will coordinate with the departments of Commerce, Defense, State and Transportation.

The time standard for Earth, or Coordinated Universal Time, is set by using atomic clocks. A similar method may be used for developing LTC.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson wrote on social media on Wednesday, "Out there in space, every second matters."
He said establishing a unified celestial time standard on the moon and beyond is essential for the future of global space exploration.