By Robbie Gonzales
HALF A CENTURY ago, astronomers observed their first pulsar: a dead, distant, ludicrously dense star that emitted pulses of radiation with remarkable regularity. So consistent was the object’s signal that astronomers jokingly nicknamed it LGM-1, short for “little green men.”
It wasn’t long before scientists detected more signals like LGM-1. That decreased the odds that these pulses of radiation were the work of intelligent extraterrestrials. But the identification of other pulsars presented another possibility: Perhaps objects like LGM-1 could be used to navigate future missions to deep space. With the right sensors and navigational algorithms, the thinking went, a spacecraft could autonomously determine its position in space by timing the reception of signals from multiple pulsars.
Read the full article at Wired.com.