GPS will soon be good for more than just giving directions to motorists — scientists have discovered a way to use it to track illicit underground nuclear testing.
The new technique combines the power of GPS signals and large radio telescopes to detect waves that travel from sub-ground blasts into the atmosphere.
The findings, presented this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, will help the United States and other nations to police countries suspected of clandestine nuclear testing.
Radio telescopes, which are currently used to look for underground blasts, can’t cover the entire surface of Earth the way GPS systems do — but both technologies used together are effective, the scientists say.
“The observations we make as radio astronomers are not so different from GPS,’’ Joseph Helmboldt, a radio astronomer with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, told RedOrbit.com.
Experts believe countries such as North Korea and Iran are continuing to secretly develop a nuclear arsenal despite the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which was adopted by the United Nations in 1996, according to Space.com.
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