How will the race for space unfold in the forthcoming period?
What is preventing us from going up for some space exploration? Many things. One of the key issues that are being noted down is making spacecrafts able to understand the usage of the Deep Space Network, which is a string of antennas positioned in California, Spain and Australia. But for going deeper and deeper in space, an utterly new system is required, one which functions through x-ray navigation for instance.
In a nutshell, X-Ray navigation is the cosmic equivalent of GPS
It means, satellites have brand new type of navigation system on board which no longer relies on world-based signs where it is in space to show. NASA plans to launch a similar like that satellite over the next year.
China also considers the brand new system – if it works, may help accelerate space exploration plans, including a manned mission to a Martian lander the moon and deep space journey.
On Earth, should you know where you are positioned at the moment, you use the GPS from your mobile phone. This works thanks to your smart phone connection with the SatNAv to triangulate your exact position over the planet.
The role of pulsars in deep space travel & how can we use it
Pulsars are spinning, they are like a big lighthouses that can beam energy around, compact starts that emit a regular ray of energy. If you are on the path of the beam, you visit a flash each time the pulsar rotates. Further than that, pulsars send pulses of energy much more often, so they can be seen as key to this navigation system which is being proposed.
There are currently several thousands known pulsars across our galaxy, some found between 100s and 1000s of light years away.
In order to get your location in space, a satellite using this system would likewise need to have an accurate timepiece — such as an atomic clock — and have the ability to receive emissions from at least three pulsars.
Sounds intriguing? Are there other benefits of x-ray navigation?
Some great benefits of the new system are two-fold. Since you no more need to tie up resources on a lawn like deep space network radio dishes, firstly, it will be cheaper to run.
The next benefit is that it gives spacecraft autonomy from world (at least when it comes to navigation) which makes deep space or interstellar space flight a minumum of one step nearer.
In the nearer term, the gains will likely be confined to our personal solar system.
A brand new race for space? Or why don’t nations join forces!?
As mentioned, NASA was intending to launch a type of satellite, called SEXTANT, over the next year, but the Chinese team appear to possess beaten them to it.
News from NASA however claim that this may not be totally true, but other sources tell that this may be a major victory for China. Moreover, there is no record of any X-ray launched device in space from the side of China, so many questions remain open.
Regardless that, China has make a great step forward in this field, so maybe some joint efforts of all nations would really make this count in the name of whole humanity.