Interplanetary Network Time Protocol


Network Time Protocol and especially time zone standards were designed using the earth rotation speed.

Because it is highly probable, that mankind will start to have an almost unrestricted access to the vastness of space during this century, and this is the beginning of the century, we will eventually need to focus on creating time zone standards and NTP protocols compatible with different rotation speeds.

For example, if we start to colonize mars, it is highly probable that there will be a multi-purpose central server, which would make use of a communication protocol compatible with quantum teleportation hardware.

This hypothetical server would for example receive and send emails between mars and earth: It will surely make use of the NTP protocol for synchronizing its clock with earth and then for serving an accurate time for all local habitants devices, e.g: smartwatches, personal computers, tablets, etc.

One advantage of the NTP protocol is that a server with a high precission source of time, like an atomic clock, may additionally synchronize with other NTP servers while providing an accurate time to its clients.

One advantage of open source is that everyone is invited to be a pioneer of the upcoming technological evolution, including you :smiley:

Besides of colonies in other places of the solar system, the NTP protocol will surely be used for space technology like Stardust first starcruiser.

The clock of spaceships that are constantly accelerated and decelerated would be affected by time dilation and naturally by gravitational waves too.

Because of this reason, we will surely opt to use the NTP protocol for space tech and provide an exact time to the local tripulants / habitants.

One advantage of the open source NTP server software ntpd is that it allows a configuration field for defining the maximum poll interval of each external source of time, e.g:

server maxpoll 11
server maxpoll 13
server maxpoll 17

The first quantum teleportation communication devices could have a limited bandwidth especially due to quantum decoherence.

Let’s say that our first spaceships with this kind of communication technology would provide 1MBPS between earth and mars. Then the bandwidth consumption by ntpd would need a reasonable limit.

It is also highly probable, that the NTP pool becomes humankind’s official source of time.

Because IPv4 is limited to 2^32 addresses and IPv6 to 2^128, it is sure that spaceships will make use of IPv6.

There have been ideas about implementing a wider IPv6 connectivity for the NTP pool and i agree with them.


It has it already since long time. The keywords are “maxpoll” and “minpoll”

So, are we ready to start our spaceship tomorrow ?

// Hans


hi @HansMayer , please tell me if this is incorrect, the maxpoll and minpoll are global settings? i mean, if there are two colonies in mars, they would probably synchronize its clock each other and the maxpoll between them can be so high as necessary and with servers on earth so low as possible?

yes we are ready! there are many people working on this and would get better results if humankind would unite. imagine that western and eastern countries share its most sophisticated technology for one single purpose: to reach the stars.

before mastering space tech, we have to master aerial technology and one prototype for flying cars with high probabilities of success from my point of view is this: The Lilium Jet

I believe that the more open source a spaceship is, the more sophisticated and complete it would be and we should make use of the open source concept for all technological advances.

Also one way to begin designing spaceships is creating their artistic representation, like architects creating models, for example: Der Flügelflügel space concert hall

Oliver : D


No. These are settings per server.

// Hans


@HansMayer thats true : D i mixed the ntp and ntp.conf manuals thanks for your feedback and i updated the post : D


Ah, if we figure out travel to Mars we’ll probably figure out how to send an atomic clock or two along for the ride.

Oh, wait, we already have atomic clocks in space (GPS). and they already allow for relativistic effects. Also they don’t use NTP :slight_smile:


@jpp thanks for your reply:

yes agree :smiley:

  1. how would you distribute the time of an atomic clock in mars?
  2. how would you decrease time deviations between mars and earth?
  3. how would you decrease time deviations caused by acceleration and deceleration in spaceships?


First you have to decide what you mean by synchronised time. From the perspective of an observer on earth seconds on mars would be a different length to seconds here (and vice versa).


yes it would.

this is the hypothetical situation: we have internet connection between mars and earth and both have different rotation speeds (with different meaning of day):

SSL protocol validates the certificate expiration date and there must be a translation between mars time and earth time.

so that martians and earthians have the same time, especially for sending emails (since the date field is provided by the client who sends the mail) and for surfing the web, we should probably start to consider this probable use of NTP protocol in the future.

also for spaceship without quantum teleportation internet connection, NTP should consider doppler effect, when the spaceships approach or move away from earth :slight_smile:


You have two problems to overcome. A second is a second is a second, it’s not related to day length. However due to relativistic effects an observer on earth would perceive a martian second as different. You also have a bigger problem of calendar / wall clock mapping due to day length. The good news is X.509 dates are relative to UTC so you theoretical martian server just needs to know earth UTC time, no need to map the calendar except for display to humans.

Given the distances and the fact that earth time governs the easy solution is a broadcast refclock from earth (compare WWV). As long as the receiver knows the position of the two planets and their relative velocities it can compensate for transmission delay and relativity. No need for NTP, no need to fancy quantum transmission, just use the time in the broadcast (adjusted for distance and relativity) to discipline a local clock. That will give you a time standard to check your X509 cert to.


@jpp from the classical point of view, everything you say is absolutely correct and i completely agree with you.

from the quantum point of view, there are some differences:

  1. we cannot know the exact position and exact momentum of a given planet due to uncertainty principle.
  2. IBM quantum experience showed that quantum teleportation algorithms actually work in universal quantum computers.

time is a reference system: to use the reference of an approximate position and momentum of two planets would lead to an approximate time.

for having an exact time in an atomic clock, we have to use exact methods.

during the NTP synchronization process, the lower the timing jitter is, the more exact the adjustment is :slight_smile:


Quantum uncertainty does not apply at any level above the particle level. It’s absolutely possible to measure the position and speed of a planet, or a car, or a plane, or a single atom. It says as much in the link you cited.


one is able to measure the position of a given particle, planet, galaxy, etc. and one cannot know its exact position. the present is an uncertain state of the universe. if we use the estimation of the position of stars / planets as source of time, the results would be an estimated time.

if there is a quantum teleportation based internet between mars and earth, which would be your reasons to use a method for syncing the time of an atomic clock with earth different to NTP?


Here is something that ads value