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Science Spotlight: How Your Smartphone Knows Where You Are

In 1978, the United States launched its first operational GPS satellite and by 1993, 24 GPS satellites were orbiting Earth, completing the NAVSTAR GPS constellation. Each satellite weighs around 1,900 pounds — the size of a large automobile — and orbits the earth every 12 hours in a formation that ensures every location will be in direct radio contact with at least four satellites.

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Science Spotlight: How Your Smartphone Knows Where You Are

Quantum physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity and atomic clocks that are accurate to one billionth of a second – all of these are crucial in allowing your smartphone to pinpoint your precise location almost anywhere on Earth. It’s called the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

The GPS receiver in your smartphone uses trilateration — a more complex version of triangulation — to determine its position on Earth. In drawings, trilateration is often illustrated in 2-D using circles. But since GPS deals with satellites and Earth in the real 3-D world, spheres are a better representation of what’s actually happening.

The Cold War. Sputnik. Learn about the origins of GPS. 

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Así imaginaban los americanos de General Motors el futuro allá por 1956.

Pantallas en el coche, reconocimiento de voz, gps…