Technology: When In Doubt, Check It Out

Brave new spying devices make the world safer for arms control

Interest in Mikhail Gorbachev's long goodbye speech to the American press last month was starting to flag when the General Secretary made an offhand remark that brought heads up with a snap. The technology exists, he said, that would permit the superpowers to spot nuclear weapons on each other's ships and submarines without having to climb on board. According to Gorbachev, this technique would "identify not only the presence but also the capacity of the nuclear warheads aboard such vessels." Come again? Have the Soviets managed to develop a spy satellite that can peer through the hull of a Trident submarine?

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