US navy returns to celestial navigation amid fears of computer hack

It was how Odysseus sailed the seas, how Columbus reached the Americas, and how Lawrence of Arabia found his way across the vast, featureless deserts of the Middle East.

For millennia, travellers used the stars to guide them on their journeys – a technique which, in recent decades, has been replaced by modern technology.

But now the US navy is reinstating classes on celestial navigation for all new recruits, teaching the use of sextants – instruments made of mirrors used to calculate angles and plot directions – because of rising concerns that computers used to chart courses could be hacked or malfunction.

  • As far as I know (have read) celestial navigation is no longer taught at US military flight schools. They rely on GPS and INS so much that Celestial Nav has become forgotten and obsolete.

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  • tom_billesley

    They’ll have to start fitting astrodomes to aircraft again.

  • Blacksmith

    This is overdue, back when I was in some still knew it but shore based radar transmitters took care of the brunt of it, shortly after satellites took over. They should have been doing this the whole time. but that is just my paranoia talking.

  • John

    I’ve read that Germany’s secret services ( or at least its most sensitive divisions) had abandoned computers, faxes, the net and e-mails in favor of typewriters and an internal courier service for paper documents. It’s easier and far more secure. As soon as documents are digitized, anyone can potentially hack into them.