Re: Leap Seconds on Mars?

From: Steve Allen <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 18:31:43 -0800

On Thu 2004-01-15T17:50:44 -0800, Tom Van Baak hath writ:
> Does anyone know if Mars is a better timekeeper
> than Earth? Earth's liquid core, polar ice caps,
> large moon, oceans, and climate all play a part
> in our irregular length of day. It seems to me a
> "deader" planet like Mars would keep time better
> than Earth, right?

I think it would take delivering a network of VLBI
antennae and a correlator facility to be sure.

> Lastly, does anyone know if a continuous clock
> is running on, or in orbit around, Mars? Is it MET,
> or TAI or UTC? If the latter, ponder this: it will be
> an odd moment in the next year or two, when a
> clock on Mars has to be updated due to a Earth
> leap second...

I do not believe that the clocks on any interplanetary spacecraft have
been particularly stable. The weight penalty doesn't pay off. Note
that JPL and Dave Mills have been working on delivering NTP services
to spacecraft with mediocre clocks

Steve Allen          UCO/Lick Observatory       Santa Cruz, CA 95064      Voice: +1 831 459 3046
PGP: 1024/E46978C5   F6 78 D1 10 62 94 8F 2E    49 89 0E FE 26 B4 14 93
Received on Thu Jan 15 2004 - 18:32:02 PST

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