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Time standard for moon UPSC NOTE

 NASA’s Mission

  • In September 2025, NASA’s four-member Artemis crew is scheduled to fly around the moon in preparation for the space agency’s mission to land on the moon again.

  • To support such missions, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has directed NASA to establish a Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC) to standardise time-telling on the moon.

  • The LTC will be the standard to measure cislunar operations with the earth’s UTC Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

  • The project falls under the current administration’s National Cislunar Science and Technology Strategy.

Brief History

  • The idea for the UTC was formulated in the 1960s

  • Atomic clocks are known for their extreme accuracy

  • A weighted average of hundreds of atomic clocks produces the International Atomic Time (TAI).

  • Solar time on the other hand is calculated by measuring the earth’s rotation relative to the Sun, and is variable in nature.

  • The UTC was designed to accommodate the difference between solar time and atomic time, and is kept within 0.9 seconds of solar time to follow the earth’s rotational variations and within an exact number of seconds of the TAI.

  • Currently, moon missions follow the time of the country that operates the spacecraft, while clocks on the International Space station run on the UTC

Need for change

  • There’s currently no standardised time for cislunar operations.

  • The White House’s Celestial Time Standardisation policy seeks to assign a time standard to each celestial body and its surrounding space environment, focusing on the lunar surface and missions operating in cislunar space.

  • It outlines the four features such a standard must possess: “traceability to the UTC”, “scalability beyond the earth-Moon system”, “accuracy for precision navigation and science”, and “resilience to loss of contact with the earth”.

  • Unlike the earth, however, the moon will have only one time zone and daylight saving will be unnecessary.

  • Various space agencies around the world are currently planning to establish a permanent human presence on the moon.

  • A system like the LTC could help coordinate their activities with each other and with their respective ground stations as well as, in future, lay the foundation for a dedicated lunar satellite navigation system by 2030.

  • This system will function similar to how the Global Positioning System does on the earth

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Time standard for moon UPSC NOTE
Time standard for moon UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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