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Pulsar based GPS: Galactic Positioning System

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posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 06:27 AM
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Recently at my university Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first radio pulsars, gave a lecture on pulsars.


The LSUS College of Sciences invites you to attend "Tick, Tick, Tick Pulsating Star..." by Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the University Center Theater.

lsus.edu...

She concluded the lecture with the idea that one day pulsars could easily be used as a GPS, but on a galactic scale.

When I got home I decided to see if there was any info on the web about the idea. I found this: X-ray pulsar based navigation or XNAV, which is being developed by DARPA.


X-ray Pulsar-based Navigation and Timing (XNAV) is a navigation technique whereby the periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars are used to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space. A spacecraft using XNAV compares received X-ray signals with a database of known pulsar frequencies and locations. Similar to GPS, this comparison allows the spacecraft to triangulate its position accurately.

en.wikipedia.org...

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to Apply Space Research Expertise to Develop Deep Space Navigation Network
www.jhuapl.edu...

The other thing that was interesting about the lecture, were the pulsars themselves. They have beams of emission just like lighthouses and the pulsation is the most perfect clock in nature and beyond any human technology. She did note researchers are working to change that though.

When they were intially discovered people thought it might be signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

One really fascinating thing is the size of them. Apparently they have a radius measured under 20 kilometers.

This means they are the size of an asteroid.

She also mentioned that apparently one of them, PSR B1257+12, has planets. She also mentioned they shouldn't be there. The planets shouldn't have survived the star's expansion, especially when the star went supernova.

Between the oddities and the idea of a Galactic Positioning System, I begin wondering what if Pulsars are not natural? What if someone or something deliberately made them?

One of the first parallels I thought of was between Neutronium, the most dense material in the universe that composes pulsars, and Computronium.

Computronium is a theoretical material that would be used in hypercomputation and the construction of theoretical stellar megastructures like Jupiter brains (a planet sized computer) and Matrioshka brains ( a Dyson sphere sized computer).


A cold degenerate star could conceivably be used as a giant data storage device, by carefully perturbing it to various excited states, in the same manner as an atom or quantum well used for these purposes. Such a star would have to be artificially constructed, as no natural degenerate stars will cool to this temperature for an extremely long time. It is also possible that nucleons on the surface of neutron stars could form complex "molecules"[1] which some have suggested might be used for computing purposes[2], creating a type of computronium based on femtotechnology which would be faster and denser than computronium based on nanotechnology.

en.wikipedia.org...

Note the last bit about using neutron stars to create a computronium faster and denser than any using nanotechnology. Pulsars are a type of Neutron Star!

Wouldn't it be absolutely bonkers to think this whole time the scientists were right when they discovered the first pulsars? Meaning they were right about thinking the emissions are of extraterrestrial origin.

A galactic network of asteroid sized objects composed of a neutronium based computronium wouldn't just be fancy galactic satellites or galactic internet nodes. The processing and memory power they would have would be far beyond any human mind or hypercomputer we could build on earth.

The craziest part of all of this is the fact that even if the pulsars are just bizarre natural objects, we, the human race, will one day use them in the manner described above.





edited to add info about the lecture.


[edit on 28/2/09 by MikeboydUS]




posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 06:45 AM
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This is really amazing!


Everything is mind boggling!

But I should have to disagree with this.


Between the oddities and the idea of a Galactic Positioning System, I begin wondering what if Pulsars are not natural? What if someone or something deliberately made them?


Pulsars are highly compact and such compact nature cannot be created(at least with our perception of science) and if this is true, then this is the convincing evidence of the astrophysical community acknowledging the existence of ET life



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 06:54 AM
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WOW! I have often wondered how we would navigate our travels when intersteller travel is achieved. The mind boggles when one considers the billions of stars and near infinite points of view i.e. extremely complex maps but this is so simple, at least in principle. As for quantum computation on a planetary scale, where do I start? I mean that literally. This is something I never would have dreamed of dreaming. Will we ever really need to process THAT much information or have I read this wrong?



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by peacejet
This is really amazing!


Everything is mind boggling!

But I should have to disagree with this.


Between the oddities and the idea of a Galactic Positioning System, I begin wondering what if Pulsars are not natural? What if someone or something deliberately made them?


Pulsars are highly compact and such compact nature cannot be created(at least with our perception of science) and if this is true, then this is the convincing evidence of the astrophysical community acknowledging the existence of ET life


From what I have read about the Large Hadron Collider, were working on making single particles of neutronium. If we can form a microscopic black hole, we' should be able to do particles of neutronium.

Now for a Type III civilization, I would imagine at the Type II level they would of built space based colliders that look like Niven Rings. I think thats where the R and D would be to develop a neutronium object.

Edit to add info about "Particle accelerators in high earth orbit ". Note this is from 1989.


Physical constraints on the design of particle accelerators suggest that accelerators with energies in excess of 100 TeV should be constructed in space. Numerous advantages for the design of such an accelerator obtain from its location in space, where microgravity limits stress on its structure, and high vacuum and cryogenic temperatures are easily available


www.springerlink.com...

[edit on 28/2/09 by MikeboydUS]



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 05:00 PM
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reply to post by MikeboydUS
 


Very interesting Theory , thanks for posting

Pulsars are so Bizzare and being able to incorporate them into a Navigation System is just sheer Genius !

also i like the E.T Beacon theory as well. if they didn't create these Pulsars they still might have the same idea about using them to navigate the Cosmos.

Back Engineered Technology ?



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 05:19 PM
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What am I missing (in regard to navigation)?

It sounds like using pulsars for triangulation is no different than using stars for the same purpose. Apollo missions took sightings on known stars to determine their position just as mariners have for centuries (albeit more acurrately).



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 05:34 PM
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[edit on 28-2-2009 by easynow]



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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This seems rather odd. I am not saying this is not a good idea, or a step in a direction that should not be considered, however, there is a much easier way.

That way is M-Formula. This formula allows every aspect of space to be mapped and numbered, thereby creating exact locations to every object, natural or otherwise, within any part of the universe. While at the same time allowing any person to not only find where they are within the universe, but how to reach their objective every single time.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:36 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


If you land up going through a wormhole that takes you to the other side of the galaxy, I don't think that you'd be able to line up any known stars. Pulsars, on the other hand, you'd be able to locate by their frequencies and thus triangulate where you are and how many generations it will take you to return, if you can't re-open the wormhole.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:43 PM
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most perfect clock in nature and beyond any human technology


I thought the atomic clock was the most perfect clock we have now that oscillates at what...9,192,631,770 times a second and a pulsar that rotates at an average of 6000 times a second

Human tech 1 - Pulsar Tech 0

Above that imploding a star to create a pulsar seems a little harsh to just to get a GPS up and running, especially when you can use visual markers as they do in star trek.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by MikeboydUS
The other thing that was interesting about the lecture, were the pulsars themselves. They have beams of emission just like lighthouses and the pulsation is the most perfect clock in nature and beyond any human technology. She did note researchers are working to change that though.


I am curious for some facts and figures to back this up. Currently, we use atomic clocks that are accurate to one part in 5.10x10-8, which is pretty damn accurate. To put this into context, it would take millions of years to lose any accuracy.

Not that I am disupting the GPS idea though, just questioning how a pulsar is any more accurate than what we have currently. I would have thought that over time the pulsar would lose energy as a result of the x-ray emissions and as a result, the frequency would change, throwing off any timing signal. I'd like to know what sort of timescale this would happen over.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:49 PM
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reply to post by wookiee
 


Oh, of course. How silly of me.
That does make sense.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 09:59 PM
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Originally posted by stumason
Not that I am disupting the GPS idea though, just questioning how a pulsar is any more accurate than what we have currently. I would have thought that over time the pulsar would lose energy as a result of the x-ray emissions and as a result, the frequency would change, throwing off any timing signal. I'd like to know what sort of timescale this would happen over.



spin-down A phenomenon in which the rotation period of a pulsar, P, steadily lengthens as the pulsar loses energy with age. Observed spin-down rates, Ṗ, range from 10^−12 s per second for the youngest pulsars down to 10^−19 s per second for recycled pulsars. The quantity P/2Ṗ is known as the characteristic age or spin-down age of the pulsar, and is likely to represent an upper limit on the true age of the pulsar.'

www.encyclopedia.com...

So, that would be a loss of one hertz every 31 thousand years or so for the youngest pulsars.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 10:10 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
What am I missing (in regard to navigation)?

It sounds like using pulsars for triangulation is no different than using stars for the same purpose. Apollo missions took sightings on known stars to determine their position just as mariners have for centuries (albeit more acurrately).


It's a little different in that using stars for navigation is based on judging your position from the angle at which the stars are found, while radio-triangulation does not so much know the angle from which the signal arrives, but instead the timing of signal arrival. Minor detail.

I am not 100% sure but I think that using the sightings of known stars might be somewhat harder to use to locate oneself in an arbitrary point in space (as opposed to a point constrained on a sphere or a path), but signal timing can be used essentially anywhere with little difference in computational effort.

-rrr



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 10:13 PM
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reply to post by LiquidLight
 


If one were to account for spin-down in the software's model of the pulsar, then system drift would be incredibly small. Even without that, system drift is low enough for practical use.

-rrr



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by rickyrrr
 


Without the timing data as provided by GPS the accuracy wouldn't be any better than standard triangulation. However, as pointed out to me, if you don't know where you are and you end up a long way from your last fix, a pulsar becomes a self identifying reference point.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 11:15 PM
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Pulsars are highly compact and such compact nature cannot be created(at least with our perception of science) and if this is true, then this is the convincing evidence of the astrophysical community acknowledging the existence of ET life



If they can't be created then how do they come to be? They were created somehow, at some point in time...... we've only been flying for a century. Well that's the way I see it. I look how far we've come technologically and how our minds are coming up with fascinating theories etc and we can't even get there yet. We've only really just begun to tap into the power of networking globally in real time and computing and technology etc is rapidly evolving covering vast areas like robotics, propulsion, AI, sensory....who's to say that the first to venture deep into space is some form of AI or humanoid robot...? Gather some of the material for production/manipulation here on Earth. Breed some super computing storm trooping soldiers and ships and start mining the stuff and building Stargates.... lol I'm only jesting at the last part :-)



[edit on 28/2/2009 by itchy_tartan_blanket]



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 12:55 AM
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That's ridiculously awesome. Not gonna lie, I'd like to be half as intelligent as the people who come up with these ideas.

Although I have limited knowledge on physics being that I only took 2 two of them in college, wouldn't there be a problem with red shift if the pulsars were used as a GPS? I doubt it would be a problem in our solar system and the surrounding space, but what about in deep space? The pulsar would lose a little bit of radiation when its bent, therefore changing the radiation frequency and also would cause a problem in deep space being that it would be bent differently than it is here on earth. Right?

Pretty cool though if they can work around that.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 01:54 AM
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reply to post by alkali
 


GPS corrects for the relativistic effects of velocity and gravity gradient so correcting for Doppler shift wouldn't be much of a problem, presumably.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 04:44 AM
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reply to post by spitefulgod
 



That was Dr. Burnell's words about the Pulsar being a perfect clock.

The following article suggests that they are just as good as terrestrial atomic clocks, but are less prone to error.

A statistic for describing pulsar and clock stabilities
aa.springer.de...






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