Artist's concept of a pulsar (Image: NASA)
The Pioneer 10 plaque also used pulsars to locate Earth for any aliens who found it (Image: NASA)
X-ray pulsars could help interstellar spaceships like this Bussard ramjet to navigate (Image: NASA)
The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to know if it’s possible to use dead stars as a navigational aid for traveling in deep space. To answer that question, ESA has contracted Britain’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Leicester to investigate whether pulsars can serve as navigational beacons in the far-flung reaches of the outer Solar System or interstellar space.
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