August 2, 2021

The WebShore

Edge of Knowledge

‘Ten times more stable than existing clocks’”: How NASA’s atomic clock could transform space travel

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As the day when humans launch a manned mission to Mars inches closer, researchers continue to design, build and improve technologies critical to minimise the risk associated with deep space missions.

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KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • In a new paper published in Nature, NASA announced that its mission team had set a new record for long-term atomic clock stability in space
  • One of the primary goals of the DSAC mission was to measure the clock’s stability over increasing periods of time to see how this changes
  • The DSAC mission is scheduled to conclude in August but NASA has already announced that perfecting the technology will continue with the launch of the Deep Space Atomic Clock-2

We aren’t exactly there yet but a great deal of progress is being made towards, ultimately, turning mankind into an interplanetary species. As the day when humans, for the first time, launch a manned mission to Mars inches closer, researchers continue to design, build and improve technologies critical to minimise the risk associated with deep space missions. 

One of these pivotal technologies is NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock designed to provide a GPS-like navigation system for spacecraft. 

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Robotic or manned spacecraft currently need to communicate with ground-based systems to locate themselves within space. The time it takes to relay this information across huge distances in space results in delays in confirming a spacecraft’s position and trajectory. Having launched the DSAC in 2019, NASA has been hard at work trying to increase its stability so it can effectively navigate more autonomously. 

In a new paper published in Nature, NASA has revealed the progress it has made in this regard, noting that the mission team has set a new record for long-term atomic clock stability in space, improving upon the current stability of space-based atomic clocks by over ten times. 

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One of the primary goals of the DSAC mission was to measure the clock’s stability over increasing periods of time to see how this changes. In the new paper, the team notes that the stability it has managed to achieve translates to a time deviation of under four nanoseconds after over 20 days of operation. 

About Post Author

Hardik Gandhi

Me Hardik Gandhi a Blogger, Web Developer Since 2014, Founder of Two IT Companies Techno Disc Web Solution and The Webshore Technologies, also provides technical SEO and Graphics Design for Businesses of all Sizes.
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