NASA GPS for moon

NASA to provide GPS navigation on moon before Artemis Mission

Science
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NASA is developing a GPS (Global Positioning Sattelite) navigation system for the moon before Artemis mission. A team at NASA is developing a special receiver that would be able to pick up location signals provided by the 24 to 32 operational GPS satellites. This NASA Moon GPS would be helpful to astronauts in navigating on the Moon and across the lunar surface.

GPS is a system made up of three parts: satellites, ground stations, and receivers. The ground stations monitor the satellites, and a receiver, like those found in a phone or car, is constantly listening for a signal from those satellites. The receiver calculates its distance from four or more satellites to pinpoint a location. Instead of navigating streets on Earth, a spacecraft equipped with an advanced GPS receiver may soon be paired with precise mapping data to help astronauts track their locations in the vast ocean of space between the shores of Earth and the Moon, or across the craterous lunar surface.

NASA’s efforts in developing GPS for the moon is based on the Goddard-developed GPS Navigator which was built specifically for NASA’s MMS mission. The MMS mission was the first ever mission to study how the Earth’s and Sun’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect.

The goal was to build a spacecraft-based receiver and associated algorithms that could quickly acquire and track GPS radio waves even in weak-signal areas. Navigator is now considered an enabling technology for MMS.

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