We rely on an accurate map of the Earth’s magnetic field to power our daily lives — from our smartphones’ GPS to our credit card swipes. MagQuest offers millions in funding for the world’s leading innovators to build, launch and operate the next generation technology that measures our planet’s shifting magnetic field.
Three teams continue in the current phase of MagQuest:
The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is sponsoring MagQuest to accelerate novel approaches to geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model (WMM). Because the Earth’s magnetic fields are constantly in motion, government agencies and private businesses alike depend on regularly updated measurements to keep modern life running smoothly. All of our navigation systems, from the GPS guiding commercial airliners to the map apps in our smartphones count on the WMM. Yet the current WMM relies on data from an aging satellite system.
With MagQuest, NGA aims to inspire and encourage the development of powerful new technologies to collect the magnetic measurements essential for updating and maintaining the WMM. During this stage of the competition, Phase 4a, the three remaining teams will build their proposed magnetometers — tools to measure magnet forces. Then, their magnetometers will undergo independent testing at NASA’s world-renowned Goddard Space Flight Center.
The three teams will receive several million dollars in awards and are competing for a piece of the $1.55 million incentive prize purse in Phase 4a, plus an invitation to move onto the next phase and put their magnetometers on satellites and ultimately launch their innovative systems.