Mars mission quantum tech gravity sensor to provide backup for Marine Navigation Satellite Systems
17 June 2020
The UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing has awarded funding for research to improve the precision of maritime navigation. The project aims to develop the MEMS component of a hybrid cold atoms MEMS gravity gradiometer, and is led by Dr Simon Calcutt from Oxford’s Department of Physics and Professor Tom Pike from Imperial College London.
The sensor instrument in this project is based on the MEMS seismometers developed by Professor Pike for the NASA InSight mission, which is currently operating on the surface of Mars.
Academics from the Hub are already working closely with industry partners to implement map-matching navigation. This project aims to add components that can compensate for the dynamics of the deployment platform to offer higher frequency capabilities required for resilient maritime navigation.
Mobile deployment of gravity sensors poses a challenge in a maritime environment due to the extreme sensitivity required for detection.
Professor Kai Bongs, Principal Investigator at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, said: ‘We are delighted with this opportunity to extend our cold atom quantum technology in map-matching navigation to maritime environments, using MEMS enhanced technology developed by leading electronics expert Dr Simon Calcutt in a project led by Professor Tom Pike. At the Quantum Technology Hub, we are working closely with industry to build quantum technology for map matching navigation in both the maritime and railway sectors.’
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