Science: Blind Sailing

With no guiding stars or radio beams to give her position, how did the U.S.S. Nautilus navigate under the Arctic icecap? The secret is inertial navigation—a new means of finding latitude and longitude wholly without external reference points. Last week it was also used in the Arctic by the U.S.S. Skate, will go in even more sophisticated form into all the Navy's nuclear submarines, some of them designed to creep deep in enemy underwaters with the Polaris missile.

Inertial navigation systems are only as old as guided missiles, which brought to a head the...

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