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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

An Interplanetary GPS Using Pulsar Signals


Navigating in space is a tricky business. The usual method relies on Earth-based tracking stations to work out a spacecraft’s distance using radio waves, a process that is accurate to within a metre or so.

That’s fine for the radial distance, but tracking a spacecraft’s angular position is much harder because of the limited angular resolution of radio antennas. The current technology produces an uncertainty of about four kilometres per astronomical unit of distance between Earth and the spacecraft.

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