Getting from There to Here: Navigation in Space
Mariners have made their way using the stars for thousands of years, navigating the expanse of Earth’s oceans and seas without GPS or compasses. Navigating among the stars would be orders of magnitude more challenging, and although many a work of science fiction depicts spacefaring humans and aliens, navigation is a subject that is typically glossed over. It is a conceit, a “gimme”. Writers count on the audience assuming that, if a race can travel interstellar distances, they will also have mastered the details of how to do it. In a universe where stars move relative to one another as they orbit galactic centers, and as galaxies move ever farther apart with the expansion of the Universe, navigation is not a simple task.