High precision space clocks

Editor’s note: These brief extracts are paraphrased from live webcast and may not be fully correct.

Download the presentation slides: Atomic Quantum Sensors in Space and Fundamental Tests

Presentation by Christophe Salomon, Research Director, CNRS

  • Creating more precise clocks to improve navigation systems requires atomic precision.
  • Sensitivity of atomic equipment is often increased in space as compared to on Earth.
  • The ACES programme will fly two atomic clocks to the ISS in 2015.
  • The clocks’ time will be compared to multiple clocks on Earth creating a network of atomic clocks via space .
  • The goal is to test whether fundamental constants vary over time by comparing differences.
  • The results will be of importance for unified theories such as string theory as well as to test Einstein’s theory.
  • ACES will improve clocks on Earth and measure time difference between two clocks on Earth down that translates to a navigational accuracy of 10 cms. Presently satellite navigation accuracy is at a level of 20 cms.

More information on ACES is available on the ESA website.

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