Moon should have own time zone as ‘international effort’ looks to make it happen

The Moon should have its own time zone, space boffins say.

Lunar operations currently run on the times of the countries that launch missions.

But as space travel soars, experts say co-ordinating movements of astronauts and craft all running on different clocks will become impossible.

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The European Space Agency navigation system engineer Pietro Giordano revealed a “joint international effort is now being launched” to establish a lunar time zone.

The agency said planned systems will perform better if they “employ the same timescale along with the many other crewed and un-crewed missions they will support”.

The ESA added that operations around the Moon will require spacecraft and controllers “to communicate together and fix their positions independently from Earth”.

The idea was discussed at a recent meeting at its Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands.

Experts said the current system will have to change when more countries and private space companies start launching their own Moon missions.

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They are also examining technical issues such as the fact clocks run faster on the Moon than on Earth, gaining about 56 microseconds each day.

The ESA’s Bernhard Hufenbach admitted: “This will be quite a challenge.’’

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