Don’t worry, OnStar should still work

Posted by Anonymous
on Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scientists at Cornell University have found strong solar flares can cause Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to fail. These generally unpredictable and abnormal solar belches could be devastating for “safety-of-life” GPS operations, such as navigating passenger jets, stabilizing floating oil rigs, and locating mobile-phone distress calls.

“Soon the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] will require that every plane have a GPS receiver transmitting its position to air traffic controllers on the ground,” warns Paul Kintner, Jr., professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell and head of Cornell's GPS Laboratory. "But suppose one day you are on an aircraft and a solar radio burst occurs. There’s an outage, and the GPS receiver can’t produce a location. It's a nightmare situation. But now that we know the burst's severity, we might be able to mitigate the problem.”Rest assured, your car’s navigation shouldn’t be affected. Just in case, leave a few minutes early. After all, you can’t predict when a flare will erupt.
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