This Bullet from the Future Flies Itself

By Sam Biddle on at

What's that ghostly trail in the air? A bullet, flying and turning on its way to nail a target over a mile away. This is science fiction—4-inches long, and launched from the barrel of a gun.

The guided bullet was cooked up at Sandia National Laboratories, a joint weapons toyshop between the US Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin. Somewhere in there, bright minds have produced this projectile, which self-corrects its trajectory thirty times every second to wind its way over 2,000 miles to a laser-pinpointed target, missile-style. Wind? Weather? The rotation of the earth? Those shouldn't be a problem for the bullet's tiny fins, which are fed navigational data by an onboard sensor.

Of course, laser-guided missiles miss their mark too, but a failed shot from a gun should carry a lot less of a risk than that of a missile. Sadly, if the bullet is ever deployed in combat (and not a test range), it won't carry that eery trail—that's just an onboard LED to prove the thing's dexterity. Which is a shame! What's more terrifying than a bullet that flies itself? A glowing bullet.

[Sandia via Danger Room]