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Quantum sensors for the space applications are being developed by an Australian startup

Q-Ctrl, an Australian company, is working on quantum sensors that will be sent to the moon, Earth orbit, and ultimately Mars. Q-Ctrl Chief Executive Officer Michael Biercuk informed SpaceNews, “Our members of the team have designed a range of quantum sensors with world-record efficiency in the past.” “Our next goal is to move from lab devices to the space-qualified instruments.”

Many countries are directly or indirectly funding NASA’s Artemis exploration project. As a component of the Seven Sisters project, an Australian group of companies, as well as academic institutions, aims to deliver sensor-laden nanosatellites to the moon in the year 2023 to scan for water and other tools. The Seven Sisters consortium was created by Fleet Space Technologies, which is an Australian nanosatellite startup.

Quantum sensors for nanosatellites are being developed by Q-Ctrl in collaboration with the Fleet Space Technologies. Biercuk explained, “For us, it’s about having our feet wet in the space industry.” “Going beyond terrestrial applications to the space-centered instrumentation is a fantastic next move for us.”

Q-Ctrl is designing quantum sensors to monitor liquid water as well as mineral deposits, and also quantum-enhanced accuracy navigation and timing solutions, in addition to its work with the Seven Sisters consortium. “Quantum systems have remarkably consistent performance over time,” stated Biercuk. Q-Ctrl is “pushing very hard on using approximately the same core technologies — quantum sensors focused on trapped atoms in the vacuum chamber — to conduct gravimetric surveys,” for instance.

The twin satellite Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on project, deployed in the year 2018, is evaluating Earth’s gravity field. Tiny satellites with quantum sensors may provide similar observations. “On Mars, we might be able to conduct a gravimetric survey for the underground liquid water,” Biercuk stated. “With this latest class of improved sensors, we’re looking at possibilities for space-based water prospecting.”

“We hope to embrace Q-Ctrl to the wonderful world of space investigation,” said Fleet Chief executive Officer Flavia Tata Nardini in a release. They have demonstrated expertise in delivering innovative quantum technology technologies that will allow our missions to achieve objectives that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.”

“Our emphasis on the quantum control engineering is allowing previously unthinkable quantum sensing implementations.  To meet the strict rules of uncrewed space-applications, the quantum control is allowing small form elements, increased robustness, as well as the required autonomy “Michael J. Biercuk, added. “We can have useful modern geospatial intelligence services — whether it’s on the Earth or even on the celestial bodies — thanks to quantum-control-defined sensors.” Q-CTRL intends to use its collaboration with space consortium to develop new commercial geospatial intelligence applications for defense, finance, as well as climate change mitigation.

This post was originally published on Downey Magazine