(ORDO NEWS) — On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong took his first life-changing step on the moon. The exact moment occurred just as our planet’s standard universal time reached 2:56 am. But how long was it for Neil?
There is currently no answer to this question, but with plans to populate the moon, this may need to change.
At a recent meeting in the Netherlands, members of space organizations from around the world agreed that we need to implement a proper lunar time zone – an internationally recognized common lunar time that all future missions can easily use for communication and navigation.
A recent meeting in the Netherlands was organized and hosted by ESA researchers, but the discussion was very collaborative.
The goal is to assemble a mutually agreed upon framework called LunaNet that will provide a common interface for all future lunar missions, optimizing their networking, navigation, discovery, inform and communication.
Time will be critical for those with future surgeries.
In the next few years, several automatic landers from various space organizations and private companies will be sent to the Moon.
Moreover, ESA, NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to create a lunar orbital station called Gateway, from which future missions can be launched.
“These missions will not only be on or around the Moon at the same time, but they will also often interact with each other, potentially transmitting messages to each other, performing joint observations or performing rendezvous operations,” the press release said. release. ESA.
Historically, every mission that went to the Moon used atomic clocks on Earth to track their progress, synchronizing their time in space with their time on Earth.
It basically requires “radio at home” and asking people on earth what time it is and also taking into account the time it takes to make that call.
Ordinary old clocks aboard a spacecraft simply won’t do the job. deceive. The forces of gravity and velocity on the Moon are different, which means that they affect time differently than forces closer to our planet.
In practice, this means that if a lunar astronaut brought a clock with him from Earth, he would work faster than usual by tens of microseconds a day. The speed depends on whether this astronaut is in orbit or standing on the Moon itself.
In these difficult conditions, it will be difficult to establish a stable time set specifically for the Moon, but it can be more accurate and faster. than synchronization with earth time.
This is what scientists are now discussing. Do we stick to Earth time or switch to lunar time?
The latter scenario would require a working lunar time system and a common coordinate system for the Moon’s surface, similar to the one we use on Earth to track orbiting satellites.
This may require more energy and effort, but may result in a much more accurate system that can then be applied to other planets.
“Of course, the agreed time system also needs to be comfortable for the astronauts,” explains Bernhard Hufenbach, Head of Strategic Planning at ESA.
“This will be quite a challenge on the surface of a planet where each day is 29.5 days long at the equator, including freezing two-week moonlit nights, and the entire Earth is just a small blue circle in a dark sky.”
This is a mathematician’s dream puzzle.
“Throughout human history, research has actually been a key factor in improving timing and geodetic reference models,” says Javier Ventura-Travset, who coordinates ESA’s contribution to LunaNet.
“Now is by far the most exciting time to do this for Luna…”
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