Weekly Takeaways-March 2, 2023
Unlocking Potential In your home there is a common piece of electronics that has enormous potential. It has the ability to:
Detect and locate people behind walls.
Provide positioning for vehicles, robots, drones, and even your lost keys.
Sense an impending earthquake.
And you are probably using it right now to read this newsletter: your wi-fi router. But it needs to be accurately synchronized to unlock this potential. With accurate time synchronization, the time of flight of signals can be accurately calculated. This, in turn, helps detect the presence of people and water vapor in the air. Time of flight can also be used to calculate distance, and therefore the position, of sensors and moving vehicles. Better timing synchronization is the key to unlocking potential in existing infrastructure. It can help power grids and data centers run more efficiently, reducing carbon emissions. It also can be used to unlock spectral efficiency and new applications in cell networks. And it doesn't require a wholesale change to infrastructure – after all, you already have a wi-fi router.
Last Week's Theme: What do you call a Smart City without PNT?
The European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) recently issued a warning that “Since February 2022, there has been an increase in jamming and or possible spoofing of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).” Hmmm, what happened in February 2022?
The Russian jamming of GPS near the border of Finland and Norway continues to create problems there. According to the Finland National Communications Authority (Nkom), there was a fivefold increase in GPS failures over the airspace in Finland and that this jamming is continuing into 2023.
Upgrades to the GPS system have been delayed yet again.
In response to the tragic earthquake in Turkey, the University of Birmingham outlined their work on quantum sensors that could provide very sensitive gravity measurements that could provide early earthquake detection.
As readers of this newsletter already know, there is some debate on what time to use on the moon. The European Space Agency released their ideas for Telling Time on the Moon as “part of a larger effort to agree a common ‘LunaNet’ architecture covering lunar communication and navigation services.”
There is a race to find a post-quantum cryptography (PQC) standard to replace public key infrastructure (PKI) that can one day be cracked by quantum computers. NIST is holding a PQC competition, and one of the finalists, Crystals-Kyber, supposedly got cracked by AI. But NIST is saying otherwise, that the paper “does not claim to break the algorithm itself, but rather a particular “fifth-order masked implementation of the algorithm.”
When the Australia-United Kingdom-United States partnership known as AUKUS was first announced, the focus was on nuclear-powered submarines. However, there are other elements to the agreement like the AUKUS Quantum Arrangement that could “prove just as significant.”
Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, March 13 - 16, Vancouver, Canada
Satellite 2023, March 13 - 16, Washington DC
Commercializing Quantum US, March 23 - 24, San Francisco, CA
Space Symposium, April 17 - 20, Colorado Springs, CO
Commercializing Quantum Global, May 17 - 19, London UK
Quantum 2.0 Conference, Denver, CO, June 18 - 22
The More You Know...
Another large solar flare hit the Earth this week, causing GPS disruptions and radio blackouts as well as impressive aurora displays. But temporary GPS and radio blackouts are the least of our concerns. In September 1859, a very large solar event now known as the Carrington Event was first noticed by astronomers Richard Christopher Carrington and Richard Hodgson. It resulted in auroral displays in the tropics and caused sparking and fires in telegraph stations. If a similar event happened today, it could cause damage to electrical grids and GPS and other satellites, leading to “trillions of dollars in damage globally.” So what can be done? Fortunately solar activity is closely monitored so we can get some advance warning. But we also need a new hybrid satellite-terrestrial positioning architecture, with multiple satellites and nodes that can be quickly replaced.