While designing and building the International Space Station, NASA had to address the issue of keeping time in space. Although the space station does not have its own time zone, it runs on Coordinated Universal Time, which helps to coordinate the time difference between the different partnering space programs around the world. The international team investigating lunar time is considering whether a single organization should set and maintain the time on the moon.
There are technical challenges to consider, such as the fact that clocks run faster on the moon than on Earth, gaining about 56 microseconds each day, and ticking occurs differently on the lunar surface than in lunar orbit. Lunar time will also have to be practical for astronauts on the moon, as each day there lasts as long as 29.5 Earth days. Nonetheless, establishing a working time system for the moon would enable similar systems to be developed for other planetary destinations, noted the ESA’s Bernhard Hufenbach.