What is the time on the moon: how to calculate it and why it is important to assign it an official time zone

Have you ever wondered What time is it on the moon? As curious or trivial as the question may sound, it is about It’s an annoying question that have been taken seriously before a pot and other space agencies around the world.

With a slew of return missions planned to our satellite, Establishing a time zone for the moon is becoming increasingly necessary To coordinate operations in space and synchronize clocks for different agencies and nations.

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the European Space Agency He is one of my promoters Create a “lunar clock”: I mentioned this week that with her, space organizations from all over the world Study the best way to determine the official time on our satellite.

NASA wants to return to the Moon as a stopover to Mars. For this you need to determine the time of the moon. (Image: NASA)

The idea arose during a meeting held in the Netherlands at the end of last year, where the participants agreed on The urgent need for a “common lunar reference time”.

European space managers claimed it The internationally accepted lunar time zone would make things easier for everyoneas more countries and even private companies target the moon and a pot Getting ready to send astronauts again.

How to measure time on the moon

Leaving aside some physical laws, this can be said The Moon has the same time here on Earth. But in this way we would be deceiving because, in addition to not specifying what part of our planet we refer to, we also do not specify how time is measured there.

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Also read: Humans will be able to live on the moon by 2030, according to NASA

There are many ways to determine the time in a particular location. Our usual system, solar time, is determined by the movement of the sun in the sky, although we have been measuring time with an atomic clock for many years. This means that Time depends on where we are on Earthwhich is a complication that we circumvent with different time zones.

But put time on moon Using the ground lift system Serious problemsbecause the moon clocks run at different speeds.

Since the moon’s gravity is weaker than Earth’s, Our hours will go up faster there, and the lunar instrument will gain about 56 microseconds every 24 hours. To further complicate matters, Seconds do not last as in its orbit on the surface of the moon.

Now, we can also define a similar time system based on the Sun’s visible motion from the Moon, but the problem is another: The lunar day lasts 29 Earth daysSo the task is not easy.

So what is the time of the moon?

Since the moon does not at present have its own clock, Lunar missions operate at the time of the country that operates or operates the spacecraft

However, given all the reasons mentioned and the difficulties in determining a local time on the surface of the Moon, the most advantageous option is Use a definition of time that does not vary by location.

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That “clock” exists and is called UTC (UTC) which is a modern form of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)GMT).

For example, the International Space Station Works with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is strictly based on atomic clocks. This helps coordinate operations between space agencies and programs whose bases on Earth are located in different countries and time zones.

So, until space agencies agree and establish, or not, a private time zone, Moon time will be the same as terrestrial coordinated universal time. To calculate it, just add three hours to what your watch indicates in Argentina. That is, if in our country it is 20:15, then on the moon it is 23:15.

Lovell Loxley

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