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    Re: New inovation in astro navigation?
    From: James N Wilson
    Date: 2010 Aug 2, 22:36 -0700
    
    Douglas Dennis said,
     
    "I know you were thinking hypothetically, but let's be honest - I should think GPS "outage" is about the most unlikely thing possible I can think of with what is it? 24+ satellites up there and an assurance from the US DOD that GPS is to stay whatever the political situation in the world barring nuclear war. It is also used by general aviation worldwide so would be disastrous if there was any possibility of 'outage'."
     
    The idea that GPS is infallible borders on the naive. The above suggests that all the satellites could fail is unthinkable. But is it? Natural catastrophes occur not only on earth but in space as well, and a gigantic solar flare is one of those. None has occurred since we've been monitoring them, but they are lurking. And a single one could knock out all satellites! That would be really chaotic, but the point is that relying solely on GPS is not smart when the safety of vessels and aircraft is at stake. Prudence would have everyone prepared for a worst case scenario. It may not happen in our lifetime, but we should be ready in case it does. As I tell my students, "When the batteries go dead, you still need to know where you are." Ditto for GPS.
     
    Jim Wilson
       
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