The Naval Academy stopped teaching celestial navigation in the late 1990s, deeming the hard-to-learn skill irrelevant in an era when satellites can relay a ship's location with remarkable ease and precision.
But satellites and GPS are vulnerable to cyber attack. The tools of yesteryear -- sextants, nautical almanacs, volumes of tables -- are not. With that in mind, the academy is reinstating celestial navigation into its curriculum. Wooden boxes with decades-old instruments will be dusted off and opened, and students will once again learn to chart a course by measuring the angles of stars.
As it rebuilds the program, the Navy is getting help from the US Merchant Marine Academy, which never stopped teaching celestial navigation.