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September 25, 2021

Do compasses work in space? | Michelle Thaller | Big Think
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If you’re out in space, you would be able to navigate the galaxy with one simple navigational tool we’ve been using for centuries - a compass.

By definition, a compass is a device that responds to magnetic fields providing cardinal directions used for geographic orientation . Since the core of the earth is made of molten, and compasses are made of metal, we’re easily able to identify north, south, east, and west because of Earth’s natural magnetic field.

But did you know Saturn, Jupiter, stars, and even the galaxy have their own magnetic fields? If you are traveling through space, a simple compass can point you to the closest magnetic field, helping a space traveler navigate the galaxy.

Read the video transcript: bigthink.com/videos/space-navigation/


About Michelle Thaller:
Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. She is Assistant Director of Science Communication at NASA. She went to college at Harvard University, completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. then started working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Spitzer Space Telescope. After a hugely successful mission, she moved on to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in the Washington D.C. area. In her off-hours often puts on about 30lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.


Read more of the stories on space navigation and travel:
Fast superhighway through the Solar System discovered►► bigthink.com/hard-science/fast-superhighway-solar-system-discovered/

The future of space travel is starting right now►► bigthink.com/hard-science/future-of-space-travel/

Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth►► bigthink.com/hard-science/space-travel-could-create-language-unintelligible-to-people-on-earth/


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