Coordinated Lunar Time

In April, the White House released a memo on a standard for lunar time (PDF). I hope it is not too late to save the country from a terrible mistake: abbreviating this standard as “LTC”.

“LTC” is a jumbled initialism for Coordinated Lunar Time, patterned after “UTC” as a jumbled initialism for Coordinated Universal Time. But why jumble the initialisms? The UTC Wikipedia page quotes a paper which says:

In 1967 the CCIR adopted the names Coordinated Universal Time and Temps Universel Coordonné for the English and French names with the acronym UTC to be used in both languages. The name “Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)” was approved by a resolution of IAU Commissions 4 and 31 at the 13th General Assembly in 1967 (Trans. IAU, 1968).

It’s bad enough that Earth’s coordinated time is abbreviated in a cut-the-baby compromise with the French, but at least the French are actually on Earth. Lunar time should be decided in a symposium on the moon itself. If you want your voice heard, you should have to land there.

Micah R Ledbetter @micahrl