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How NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Could Be the Next Space GPS

How NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Could Be the Next Space GPS


♪>>[Narrator] How do we
navigate through space? Currently, spacecraft
flying beyond Earth don’t have a GPS to find
their way through space. Navigators on Earth send a
signal to the spacecraft, which receives it
and sends it back. Extremely precise clocks on the
ground, called atomic clocks, measure how long it
takes the signal to make this two-way journey. The amount of time tells them
how far away the spacecraft is, and how fast it’s going. The farther out in space
the spacecraft is, the longer it takes to
receive and send a signal. But what if humans are sent
to another planet like Mars? A two-way system that sends a signal from
Earth to a spacecraft, back to Earth and then to
the spacecraft again would take an average
of 40 minutes. Imagine if the GPS
on your phone took 40 minutes to
calculate your position. You might miss your turn, or be
several exits down the highway before it caught up with you. If humans travel to
the Red Planet, it would be better if the
system was one-way, allowing the explorers
to immediately determine their current position
rather than waiting for that information to
come back from Earth. NASA is testing new technology that would allow future
explorers to do just that. The Deep Space Atomic Clock is
the first demonstration of an atomic clock that can be used
for navigation in deep space. It will allow a spacecraft to
calculate its own trajectory, instead of depending on Earth. If a spacecraft had one of
these clocks on board, it could receive a
signal from one of those big antennas on Earth, and quickly measure its
speed and position. The Deep Space Atomic Clock
could one day let astronauts navigate safely and
accurately to Mars and beyond. This technology demonstration is
the first step in making one-way space navigation a reality. [Explore Space Tech] [NASA]


Reader Comments

  1. Cool! I realise this is a different system of measurement, but funny that 300 years ago ships first started using 'extremely accurate' clocks alongside visual readings of Star positions to navigate. It was the only accurate way to map your journey. 😎

  2. lol in space 40 min is nothing 😛 unless you are going realy realy fast, which we cant right now soooooo,,… BOOOM

  3. This reminds me of Dava Sobel's book "Longitude". I'm not a navigator but some of the concepts seem to be the same. Knowing precise position in space requires a precise knowledge of the current time. Having a reliable, precise, consistent and portable chronometer was necessary for Britain to gain naval superiority. The British Empire itself relied on the availability of such a chronometer. Space will be the same.

  4. If an atomic clock can go to Mars and back, it would be interesting to compare it with one on Earth that was synchronised to it before the trip.

  5. …atomic clock okay but they could probably do just as well by sending line-of-sight 1 eV neutrino pulses with line-of-sight 1 eV photon pulses—the space traveler can correlate… p.s. atomic clock photons tend to fall out if they're not-exactly-inline with acceleration… p.s. #2. I may've overestimated the technology better at 0.1 eV or THF, EHF, SHF, UHF…

  6. sound impressive to ignorant viewer, but your system has number of built in errors which you have failed to rectify. MG1

  7. In order to miss an exit by 182 miles in 40 minutes, you'd have to be travelling at 273 mph (or 439 kph)… at which point you might have larger concerns than your missed exit.

  8. Wouldn't an atomic clock traveling speedily in space quickly get out of sync with the earth's atomic clocks? I imagine the crews for the mars missions would be travelling fast enough to effect the clock by milliseconds

  9. That better have been a pug fugly female scientist depicted in the animation cause if it wasn’t your whole organization is sexist against my ho.
    REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  10. Loved the animation, and "Deep Space Atomic Clock" is the coolest combination of words I've seen this week

  11. NASA to SpacceX: when you're done with that constellation of internet satellites for earth, we need you send up a constellation of deep space internet satellites that can also be used as navigation beacons, because it will most likely have an atomic clock, and RF capabilities.🚀🛰️📡

  12. So it still requires a signal from Earth; and since there is no triangulation, the single point of reference time shift only gives a location along a predicted trajectory. If that trajectory assumption turns out to be wrong, the spacecraft can't calculate that until the next time signal; which means that it could still "miss its exit". Perhaps a navigation beacon at L4 and L5 (Sun-Earth) would be a better system?

  13. HAL : This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. 
    Dave Bowman : I don't know what you're talking about, HAL. HAL

  14. This video really spikes my interest, especially considering I’ve been interested in astronomy for years now, but I find it sad for our community that clickbait has more views than legitimate videos about space exploration. (Example: the first “recommended” video for this was a clickbait about black holes that had almost 3 million views, whereas this legitimate video from NASA / JPL doesn’t have too much. ) However, it’s still great to see these videos and learn more about potential space exploration than regular schools would ever teach us. NASA / JPL, thank you.

  15. I wish through quantum entanglement internet spreads across the planets, then i could play pubg mobile 😂 with some people on other planets when i will become an old man

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