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Jet Propulsion Laboratory Introduces ‘Sammy the Second’ to Show Value of Time in Deep Space Exploration

Published on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | 8:10 am

Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has launched a four-minute video which features “Sammy the Second,” an animated character demonstrating how NASA’s Space Atomic Clock project is being used in deep-space navigation.

Sammy the Second was introduced in the video as a representation of time. According to the video, the importance of time to navigators started with sea explorers in the past who carried clocks on board their ships.

“These clocks were set on the exact time as the clock back on land, and together by observing sun, moon, and stars, they can determine the latitude and longtitude,” the narrator said in the video. “This process allows maps to be drawn so that other ships will know where they are going.”

The inaccuracy of these clocks brought about the Global Positioning System or the GPS, a more efficient determinant of location, the video narrator said.

In deep-space navigation, where there is no latitude or longitude, Sammy the Second or time is being used through the “incredibly precised Deep Space Atomic Clock.”

“Scientists and engineers have now developed a spacecraft with its own on board clock,” the narrator said. “This breakthrough device is smaller, self-sufficient and can handle harsh conditions of deep space.”

To know more about Sammy the Second and the Deep Space Atomic Clock, visit

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