Technology that NASA developed to detect alien life is paying off right here on Earth. Rescue workers in Nepal recently used the FINDER radar machine to locate and save four men trapped under as much as 10 feet of bricks, mud and other debris caused by the devastating earthquake that recently hit the country.
The men had been trapped beneath the rubble for days in the hard-hit village of Chautara. Using FINDER, operators were able to detect two heartbeats beneath each of two different collapsed structures, allowing the rescue workers to find and save the men.
FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) is a radar machine that sends a continuous microwave signal through the rubble, and can detect a human’s breathing or heartbeat (and distinguish it from the movement of an animal).
NASA is now working on plans to help more first responders get access to FINDER machines, so they can use the tool to save lives. This is the first time FINDER has been used in a real-life emergency.