Weekly Takeaways-March 15, 2022
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Theme of the Week
A Call for Backup
Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the Cold War extended into the skies.
Today, space is no longer under government control, as Russia is finding out.
Russia undoubtedly expected on knocking out the world’s access to Ukraine.
A government leader has to be cautious to avoid escalation.
But private companies don’t have that burden; Russia can’t invade SpaceX.
Unfortunately, there is no commercial backup for GPS - yet - and Russia knows this.
But now there are reports of similar interference in Finland that grounded Finnair flights.
It is no coincidence that this occurred after Finland’s president met with POTUS.
All of this illustrates that America needs a commercial GPS backup.
Because, as Forbes points out: "Hoping that GPS will not be targeted is not a plan.”
Last Week's Theme: Space will Not be Held Hostage
As GPS jamming is rampant near the Russia border, military vehicles are trying out “leading-edge quantum equipment” including the “world's first atomic clock of its kind to help ensure pinpoint accuracy”.
The US military is now preparing to defend the moon. No, seriously. As China and others plan for lunar bases, the US Space Force is planning “to develop a lunar surveillance system, known as the Cislunar Highway Patrol System” and “test a lunar spy satellite known as the Defense Deep Space Sentinel.”
And when you are sitting on the moon you will need cell service. Nokia is on the case.
Japanese researchers are proposing a terrestrial location-based services using cell networks that can be used “to serve in tsunami forecasting and earthquake early warning systems.” This could someday be supplemented by very sensitive quantum gravity sensors.
The Space Entanglement and Annealing QUantum Experiment (SEAQUE) is set to launch to the ISS later this year to test a new type of entangled photon source based on integrated optics and the characterization of radiation effects on single photon detectors. This projects joins a number of other space-based quantum projects that are currently in development.
The US is still looking to strengthen technology competition against China by combining elements of the $250B U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, passed by the US Senate, and the America Competes Act of 2022, passed by the US House, into one bill.
The More You Know...
On Sunday morning you may have noticed that some of your clocks are off by an hour. Daylight Savings Time strikes again! Today it is a petty annoyance, but it wasn't long ago when all clocks needed to be manually set. Now we take it for granted that our phones, computers, and connected electronics sync automatically. But sync to what? To the GPS master clock, with a software correction to match your local time zone referenced to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the international time standard. Surprisingly, GPS time differs from UTC by exactly 18 seconds. Leap seconds are periodically added to UTC to account for changes in the Earth's rotation. But GPS has not added in the 18 leap seconds since 1980 to ensure there are no timing jumps that would disrupt sensitive digital networks. All of this is described in an entertaining presentation by Dr. Patrizia Tavella, the Director of the Time Department at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sèvres, France. To learn more, please email us.