The Globe in Fifty minutes

Lateral thinking is a powerful tool for solving seemingly unsolvable problems or mysteries. The kernel idea behind is considering all logically possible scenarios and options when analyzing the problem, notably including even the highly improbable ones.

As a warming-up example consider the following mystery from the book “The Pilot Who Wore a Dress: And Other Dastardly Lateral Thinking Mysteries” by Tom Cutler:


Example Scenario

“Modern submarines are sophisticated vessels, as quiet as the ocean itself, even though they are so huge. They can submerge in less than a minute and stay down for six months. The nuclear-powered ones (that’s most of them) can go 60,000 miles on just one lump of uranium the size of a walnut, and dive to a depth of more than 800 feet. This is equivalent to floating in the air at two and a half times the height of Big Ben. Even so, they still use a large pipe to suck clean air from the surface, rather like a snorkelling holidaymaker.

Although the submarines of today can go very fast, the speed performance of the USS Skate is astonishing. On 17 August 1958, this submarine really showed what she was made of when she  circumnavigated the globe in just fifty minutes.


Problem to Solve

The problem: How on earth did the USS Skate, one of the earliest nuclear-powered submarines, actually go around the world in less than an hour? Please post your solutions proposals as a comment for all to read!  More lateral thinking problems will be presented in later issues of the SI Digital Magazine.

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