Technology

A new way to clear mines: use plants

Bizarre and brilliant: researchers are turning to plants in order to help clear minefields left behind after military conflicts.

The idea is that the chemicals which leak out from mines are poisonous to some plants, so if you inspect the right plants over a suspect area, the patches of dead plants will then reveal where there are mines to be cleared:

In the future, Manley said, he hopes there will be an Explosive Specific Index for plants, essentially a spectral catalog of how land mine contamination affects plants. If publicly available and combined with a low-cost spectral imaging sensor, the index could lead to a phone app for use in mine-laced regions.

In 2012, land mines killed 3,268 people, 47 percent of them children, according to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines. More than 60 countries are known to have land mines, or suspected to be contaminated by land mines, the group reports.

 

 

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