April 10, 2013

SEXTANT: Navigating by Cosmic Beacon

Imagine a technology that would allow space travelers to transmit gigabytes of data per second over interplanetary distances or to navigate to Mars and beyond using powerful beams of light emanating from rotating neutron stars. The concept isn’t farfetched. In fact, Goddard astrophysicists Keith Gendreau and Zaven Arzoumanian plan to fly a multi-purpose instrument on the International Space Station to demonstrate the viability of two groundbreaking navigation and communication technologies and, from the same platform, gather scientific data revealing the physics of dense matter in neutron stars.

credit: NASA

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