A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: Celestial Navigation on the surface of Mars
From: Brad Morris
Date: 2018 Nov 11, 09:40 -0500
To quote from one paper
"A simple, accurate, and autonomous method of finding position on the surface of Mars currently does not exist. The goal of this project is to develop a celestial navigation process that will fix a position on Mars with 100-meter accuracy."
Inertial Navigation Systems drift with respect to time. We cannot use the current satellites around Mars for navigation as they do not provide that service. Until there is a constellation of GPS-like satellites around Mars, the only way to navigate, or indeed reset the INS, is via CN. The wealth of papers on this topic shows that there is serious interest in Martian CN. It will just be a placeholder until the appropriate satellites are aloft, but that will be some time coming.
Here on Earth, we have the opposite. The GNSS (and competing) satellites are in orbit and fully functional. CN is only a distant backup, at best; a mental amusement for some; and ignored as antiquated and obsolete by the general public.
Not to burst anyone's bubble, but I do not think there will be any cel nav on Mars. Why would there be? People will need a satilite to radio commumate with earth - why not use the ( many ) satilites that will be around Mars for position finding? INS would be a better opition than cel nav..
But really, a sextant? No oceans - no boats. Like others have said, a transit would be better on dry Mars land.
It would be fun for the computer programing folk to get a Mars almanac and sight reduction tables to play with.
John H. 41N 100W
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