NASA to launch a GPS-like Deep Space Atomic Clock that will test the feasibility of using an instrument to help space travelers in navigating the stars.
The device will be able to quickly help a spacecraft in recognizing its position in space, hence pushing us towards a future where spacecrafts can drive themselves without relying on any input from Earth.
Deep Space Atomic Clock principal investigator told “Having a clock onboard would enable onboard radio navigation and, when combined with optical navigation, make for a more accurate and safe way for astronauts to be able to navigate themselves.”
The atomic clock test mission, which is scheduled to launch later this June, is expected to last for approximately a year and will test if it can help spacecraft locate themselves up there.
NASA is optimistic that it could pave way for future spacecraft navigation where astronauts can be guided by the clock and can fly on their own missions to Mars and beyond.