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OSTP Calls for Lunar Time Zone

APR 10, 2024
Coordinated Lunar Time aims to solve the inconsistencies that come with timekeeping across multiple worlds.
Jacob Taylor headshot
Senior Editor for Science Policy, FYI American Institute of Physics
A photo taken by the Orion module of the Earth rising behind the Moon during 2022's Artemis I mission

A photo taken by the Orion module of the Earth rising behind the Moon during 2022’s Artemis I mission.

(NASA)

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has ordered agencies to develop a new time zone that applies to cislunar space.

Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC) will apply to U.S. operations between the Earth and Moon and is designed to be interoperable with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Earth – much like any other time zone. OSTP’s memorandum states that LTC is the first of what may be several “celestial time standards” to deal with the timekeeping challenges that come with space travel around planets and moons beyond Earth.

NASA is tasked with implementing the LTC zone by the end of 2026. OSTP’s memo instructs NASA to encourage adoption of the standard by private companies and among international partners, especially by applying it to the timekeeping standards in the Artemis Accords.

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of April 8.

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