What Time Is It in Space?
Scientists plan to figure out what time it is on the Moon!
NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
What time is it on the Moon? Scientists say there is no set time on the Moon, and that could make things confusing when astronauts spend more time there.
On Earth, people have agreed on the time. For example, we all know when it’s 10 in the morning. Earth also has time zones for different parts of the planet. When it’s 10 a.m. in New York, it’s 9 a.m. in Texas. And it’s 4 p.m. in France.
So, how do people work out the time in space? When astronauts go to space, they decide what time it is based on the time on Earth. For example, if they launched into space from Texas and it’s 9 a.m. in Texas, then it’s 9 a.m. in space, too!
But that won’t always work. Many trips to the Moon have been planned by people from different parts of the world. If people from different countries work together on the Moon, they will need to agree on what time it is. Why? Think about how hard it would be to get through a day if everyone at home or at school thought it was a different time!
It won’t be easy to set a Moon time. First, nations will need to agree to one. Second, time doesn’t work the same way on the Moon that it does on Earth. If you put a clock on the Moon, it would go a tiny bit faster than it would on Earth. This has to do with the Moon’s distance from Earth’s gravity. But scientists will work on these problems together.
If it sounds tough to come up with a Moon time, here’s another question to think about. What time is it on Mars?