GPS: US Navy is developing navigation based on cosmic rays for the Arctic

At higher latitudes, traditional GPS navigation is not reliable, but muons produced when cosmic rays hit Earth’s atmosphere could be used to navigate in the Arctic, as well as underground or in the water


7 December 2021

HEXDC6 Cosmic rays.Artwork of high-energy particles radiation from star in deep space (cosmic rays) impacting molecules atoms in Earth's atmosphere.These primary impacts cause secondary cascade of subatomic particles.Detection analysis of these particles,which include protons,neutrons,light nuclei,neutrinos,pions,and muons,can reveal source of cosmic rays.These sources may include gamma ray bursts (GRBs),active galactic nuclei,supernovae quasars.Such research is carried out atmospheric balloons,or advanced detectors built underground or underwater,to shield them from other radiation.

An artist’s representation of high-energy cosmic rays colliding with Earth


Navigation via cosmic ray muons could supplement GPS in high latitudes, as well as working underwater and underground.

The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a contract to UK company Geoptic Infrastructure Investigations to demonstrate navigation in the Arctic where GPS coverage is poor due to positioning of GPS satellites run by the US military, which are mostly at lower latitudes.

The firm’s Muometric Positioning System (muPS) uses muons made by cosmic rays instead of the radio signals from satellites …