How to Use Pulsars for Interstellar Navigation

pulsar How to Use Pulsars for Interstellar Navigation

The Global Position System has revolutionised navigation on Earth. It consists of a network of satellites that each broadcast a time signal. A receiver on Earth can then work out its position in three-dimensional space by comparing the arrival times of the signals from at least three satellites. But the system cannot help with navigation on an interplanetary scale or beyond.
Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: How to Use Pulsars for Interstellar Navigation

this is some serious science, but it’s only going to be needed if we discover some method of faster then light travel, right?  Using standard methods of space travel, we’d pretty much know where we are, due to the fact that we’re going so damn slow.

10 thoughts on “How to Use Pulsars for Interstellar Navigation

  1. Every little piece of the puzzle helps. I personally think we’ll make jump gates of some kind, some kind of mega-scale device than creates something like a stable worm-hole, or folded point in space-time to pass through. Something like in Cowboy Bebop maybe… I dunno. Gods I just want to captain my own intergalactic space-pirate ship… I just want to SO BAD!

  2. @reboot:
    I beg to differ.


    Energy = Mass * 34596000000mi/sec

    So long as you keep your mass (i.e. the ship and all that it contains) at a speed below 34596000000mi per sec you’ll be okay.

    Anything at that or above and you’ll convert into pure energy.

    It’s a speed limit sign, folks.

  3. @Liam4Now:
    Okay I’m not exactly 100% correct.
    In the formula, c2 is the conversion factor required to convert from units of mass to units of energy. The formula does not depend on a specific system of units. Using the International System of Units, joules are used to measure energy, kilograms for mass, meters per second for speed. Note that 1 joule equals 1 kg·m2/s2. In unit-specific terms, E (in joules) = m (in kilograms) multiplied by (299,792,458 m/s)2.

  4. @Liam4Now: You’re still not even close to correct. The mass in that equation should be the relativistic mass, which is m_rel = m_0/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2). So velocity affects the effective mass even for values less than c.

  5. I think first we need to figure out how to travel around the world to our destinations faster first, before we figure this shit out. 14 hour flights are no fun.

    Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched space travel scientist dudes. Plus we know more about space then we do the ocean. I mean WTF!

  6. @reboot: Speed is relative. Everything is relative. That’s the theory of relativity.

    Also, we like to base our absolutes on theories. Einstien this and that all you like, The Hubble telescope found a galaxy in 2004 that is so massive, according to our “laws” of physics, it shouldn’t even exist. The light that the picture captured of said galaxy was so old, it puts it at <1 billion years old. Use your math equations all you want, new discoveries make old ones obsolete.

  7. @d3×73r: There is no “theory of relativity”. There is special relativity, which I have just briefly described, and there is general relativity, which is basically that gravity is causes by bending space-time. Pick up a goddammed book.
    “Use your math equations all you want, new discoveries make old ones obsolete.”
    And do you think they figured out how far away it was and how massive it was? WITH EQUATIONS!! Without equations, those are just pretty lights in the sky.

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