@josedriveratcr7: I imagine that is what it is.
@razzatazz: True, true. I guess the writer just didn't think about it. Sometimes writers get in the habit of writing in certain ways and don't question the logic of some of their writings.
@josedriveratcr7: i get that, but the messing of time is kind of strange seeing as it is dependent on the planet they are on. They are some celestial bodies who have longer days than years.
I think a lot of writers tend to do this when writing different cultures, more specifically alien culture. One can't write a book in a alien language because no one would understand it. And if you write the work in English with a bunch of foreign words, readers will still feel like they don't understand what's going on. So a lot of writers tend "translate" the language to English so readers can understand and relate to it, while throwing in a few foreign words in order to make the setting feel like it actually could be a different place/culture.
Now I guess the reason why xats was used instead of minutes was because as you wrote, minutes is a human measurement and the writer may have thought that it wouldn't have made sense for an alien culture to use human time measurements (even though English is a human invention), or maybe thought it would be a neat/good idea to distinguish their culture from ours by giving them their own way of measuring time.