Sunday, July 27, 2014

NASA takes up the fight against terror

NASA takes up the fight against terror
The Pune Railway Station could certanly use a security upgrade, as most safety equipment, including metal detectors, are often found to be out of order

By: Sandip Dighe
Scientists working on hi-tech security system to curb terrorist attacks at airports, railway stations.

With airports and railway stations increasingly becoming targets of terror attacks, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have stepped in to create an advanced security system, using space technology. Scientists are working on a special safety framework for security check-points which will be able to detect hidden explosives and weapons from a distance of 25 metres. The focal point of this system is the use of Terahertz (Thz)-Radar technology, which can see through clothing and packaging, and create a unique image of any hidden material. Speaking to Mirror, Goutam Chattopadhyay, principal scientist at NASA who is in the city currently, said, "The Terahertz Radar produces a high level frequency, a marked improvement over the present radar used in airports. The radar helps to signal the existence of any suspicious object, such as a bomb or a gun, from a distance of 25 metres. Security officials can therefore easily detect the object and avert further damage."

Explaining the system further, Chattopadhyay said, "If someone is wearing a shirt or a coat, the distance between cloth and skin is less than 1 cm. In this case, our system electronically removes the shirt and detects the actual object. Right now, our security agency is testing the system and evaluating how it can be worked out. Their primary idea is to install the system at railway stations and airports in the US."

When asked if this system might affect passengers' privacy, Chattopadhyay added, "We are still working on it. We can hide the private parts of the body through the use of software, in which case only the object behind the shirt or jacket will be seen."

Though Chattopadhyay did not give a specific time for the launch of the system, he said, "The new security system will be launching first in the USA and then other parts of the world too. Private firms can mass produce it, after which it will be installed," he added.

Bomb scares, explosions and gunmen have penetrated airports and railway station security several times across the world, with the Karachi airport in Pakistan coming under siege last month, and threats being issued to the United Kingdom, Uganda and others

No comments: