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NASA Wants Faster Clock for Moon

FILE - The moon rises behind the Home Place clock tower in Prattville, Ala., Saturday, June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
FILE - The moon rises behind the Home Place clock tower in Prattville, Ala., Saturday, June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
NASA Wants Faster Clock for Moon
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The American space agency NASA says it wants to come up with an out-of-this-world way to follow time on its own clock for the moon.

It would not be connected to the different time zones found on Earth. The moon clock would have an entirely different time for the moon.

That is because there is less gravity on the moon. So, time moves a little bit quicker compared to Earth. It moves about 58.7 microseconds faster every day.

White House officials recently told NASA and other federal agencies to work with international agencies to come up with a time system for the moon.

Kevin Coggins is NASA’s top communications and navigation official. He said, “An atomic clock on the moon will tick at a different rate than a clock on Earth.”

The last time NASA sent astronauts to the moon, the astronauts wore watches. But back then, timing was not important as it is now with computers, satellites, and communication systems, he said. And he added that those microseconds make a difference when high tech systems work together.

Last year, the European Space Agency said scientists needs to come up with a single time for the moon, where a day lasts 29.5 Earth days.

The International Space Station is in low Earth orbit. It will continue to use coordinated universal time, or UTC.

NASA must decide where the new space time starts. Even Earth’s time speeds up and slows down, requiring a unit of time called leap seconds.

The U.S. government wants NASA to come up with a proposal for the time system by the end of this year. It hopes NASA will have a final plan by the end of 2026.

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

I’m Gregory Stachel.

Seth Borenstein reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

navigation – n. the act, activity, or process of finding the way to get to a place when you are traveling in a ship, airplane, or car

tick – v. to continue to work or function in a normal way

watch – n. a device that shows what time it is and that you wear on your wrist or carry in a pocket