European Space Agency Considering Lunar Time Zone

In a move sure to complicate the lives of admins and developers everywhere, the European Space Agency (ESA) says the moon needs its own time zone.

“Space organizations have started considering how to keep time on the Moon,” states a recent ESA article, and “the discussion is part of a larger effort to agree on a common LunaNet architecture covering lunar communication and navigation services.”

The initiative faces various technical issues, including the fact that “clocks on the Moon run faster than their terrestrial equivalents — gaining around 56 microseconds or millionths of a second per day. Their exact rate depends on their position on the Moon, ticking differently on the lunar surface than from orbit,” the article says.

“This will be quite a challenge on a planetary surface where in the equatorial region each day is 29.5 days long, including freezing fortnight-long lunar nights, with the whole of Earth just a small blue circle in the dark sky,” notes Bernhard Hufenbach, a member of ESA’s Moonlight Management Team. “But having established a working time system for the Moon, we can go on to do the same for other planetary destinations.” 

See details at the European Space Agency.

See also:
Leap Seconds to be Discontinued in 2035
Network Time Keeps on Ticking with Long-Running NTP Project
Software Engineering 101: Time zones and Working with Dates

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