The technology developed by NASA, which can remotely detect the body’s minute movements caused by vital vital processes, is being used by disaster relief teams in earthquake-hit Turkey.
Disaster response people-finding devices, dubbed FINDER, use microwave radar sensors to find survivors under debris or in avalanches by remotely sensing their heartbeat and breathing.
said NASA (opens in new tab) The technology was shipped to Turkey last weekend, almost a week after a Series of devastating tremors Thousands of buildings demolished in cities around the Turkish-Syrian border. According to Reuters (opens in new tab)More than 41,000 victims have been dragged dead from the ruins since February 6, the day the two magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes struck.
Related: The earthquake in Turkey has opened a 190-mile rift, satellite images show
Rescuers on the ground may be skeptical about finding survivors 10 days after the disaster. Journalists reporting from southern Turkey talk about it sickening stench (opens in new tab) of decaying corpses now rising from the ruins. Still, stories of people who have been found alive keep popping up. On Tuesday (February 14) for example Reuters reported (opens in new tab) that nine survivors were rescued from the rubble of the devastated cities that day.
The FINDER technology (opens in new tab) was developed by a team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and later commercialized by Florida-based SpecOps Group.
The technology is just one example of NASA’s support for Turkey. For example, some of the agency’s satellites have been tasked with collecting imagery of the affected regions to assess the extent of the damage and provide guidance to rescuers as part of that global disaster relief efforts.
“NASA’s hearts and thoughts are with those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the agency’s statement. “NASA is our eye in the sky, and our teams of experts are working hard to bring valuable information from our Earth observation fleet to first responders on the ground.”
Among the tools that offer support from space is the EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) Instrument delivered to the International Space Station last July and later mounted to the outpost’s outdoor structure by the station’s robotic arm.
Scientists hope that EMIT, which is primarily designed to analyze the composition of dust, in earth atmospherecould detect dangerous gas leaks from pipelines damaged by the earthquakes.
“Relief efforts include tracking cascading disasters, such as technological disasters triggered by natural hazards,” Shanna McClain, manager of NASA’s disaster programs division, said in the statement. “We want to quickly identify damaged infrastructure and burst pipes in order to protect the health of people in the vicinity.”
Data from other Earth observation instruments will help improve models of the interactions of the tectonic plates that meet in the affected region on the border between southern Turkey and western Syria. Tensions between these plates – the Anatolian, Arabian and African plates – make this area an earthquake hotspot. However, the series of earthquakes on February 6 was extreme even for this tectonically active region and is described by experts as the worst in decades.
Computer models based on satellite measurements could help researchers estimate the likelihood of aftershocks around major tectonic faults.
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