Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There

Andrew K. Johnston, Roger D. Connor, Carlene E. Stephens, and Paul E. Ceruzzi. Smithsonian, $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-58834-491-5
Entertaining and packed with information, this collaborative volume from the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History covers the history of navigation from the days of the astrolabe to global positioning satellites. The emphasis is on the importance of time in establishing position. From the 16th century, European colonizing nations offered prizes to anyone who could invent a clock that would work at sea. The first section describes these various clocks and the development of the ability to chart a course using longitude, which would enable transoceanic sailing. When humans took to the air, they discovered that they needed more exact equipment to find their way, and during WWII the application of radar pushed navigation into the stratosphere. This in turn led to the developments in timekeeping that allowed even more precise navigation to the moon and beyond. The work closes by addressing current means of navigating via smartphone. Copiously illustrated, this book contains fascinating anecdotes as well as a wide range of technical information to complement the stories of those who strove to improve the means of human exploration. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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