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    Re: Apollo spacecraft sextant
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 May 3, 17:02 EDT
    Robert wrote:
    "I suppose there will come a time when humans have the ability to travel beyond sight of the earth (the cosmic version of offshore navigation) and will require some form of navigation independent of our home planet."

    We're out there already in a very small way. Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2... They're all far beyond the orbit of Neptune and headed --very, very slowly-- to the stars. Nobody's worried about navigating them out there, but there is a fun navigational "puzzle" that was dealt with before those spacecraft were launched in the 1970s. How do we tell "them" (the bug-eyed monsters who want "to serve man") where we are so that they can come over "for dinner" a few million years from now? The answer is on the Pioneer plaque:
    http://spaceprojects.arc.nasa.gov/Space_Projects/pioneer/PNimgs/Plaque.gif

    It includes a map of pulsars which are identifiable by their unique signal patterns. The map shows their approximate distances from Earth. This would be good enough to find the rough position of the Earth for some millions of years into the future.

    The plaque also shows that Pioneer was contructed by a pair of friendly, well-groomed naturists.

    Frank E. Reed
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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