For those of you who are not aware of this, our clock syncs its time with the ground based atomic clock, that’s how we can tell the exact time. And how atomic clocks gets its time you ask? They get it by measuring the electromagnetic signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels. Because of its accurate readings, these are too bulk and are power hungry and can remain ultra-stable over decades.
Like everything in life, this great one has a down side. Due to its nature, the atomic clock can be really sensitive to environments like outer space and cannot be used in spaceflights. We need a smaller version, that can be efficient enough to help us in any kind of inter-planetary or intra-planetary travels. Enter Deep Space Atomic Clock(DSAC).
DSAC is a mercury-ion based atomic clock launched into Earth’s orbit in June 2019 and activated on 23 August 2019, to test its potential as a next-generation tool for spacecraft navigation, radio science and global positioning systems. This is another great step in space travel, to help spacecraft navigate safely for deeper space missions and communicate and receive directions from Earth faster than the current time consuming delayed process. As of June 2020, NASA has extended the DSAC mission through August 2021.
Well, be it grounded atomic clock or the deep space atomic clock, as Einstein once said, “Time is relative.”