NASA has several spacecrafts on Mars. It is sometimes difficult for the agency to communicate with all of these. This issue is now going to get resolved at the end of June 2019. This newest technology from the agency is termed as Deep Space Atomic Clock. It has been in the development phase since 2 decades. With the assistance of this system, the spacecrafts will be able to navigate and communicate without requiring large amount of assistance from the agency on earth. The mission is supposed to be launched under the name STP-2 mission.
The clock’s first test will be conducted in space by a heavy rocket named SpaceX Falcon. The launched is supposed to take place on 24th June.
Jill Seubert, who is one of the deep space navigators at NASA, informed that till date the spacecrafts are extremely dependent on signals from earth to navigate and communicate. While speaking at a conference on 10th June, he explained that this dependency is mainly because the digital clocks present on space are not efficient in correct measurement of time. If this problem can be solved, the spacecrafts will be lesser dependent on earth.
Deep Space Atomic Clock will not travel to space. It is the size of almost a jug and not huge. The best part of the clock is that it can measure billionth fraction a second. The small size of the clock will enable launch of it on a spacecraft. Seubert also informed that that GPS satellite clocks has to be set 2 times in a day. The Deep Space Atomic Clock will continue giving accurate time without such supervision.
These clocks are expected to be beneficial at planets like Mars where there are multiple satellites. It is also going to be helpful for spacecrafts which are located at the exteriors of the solar system.