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Early-morning commuters ran into a traffic jam in South Huntsville Monday morning after a dump truck took down fiber-optic lines.More >>
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Some type of testing is done almost everyday on Redstone Arsenal.
In one lab, the test subject is terahertz. It's a type of radiation that can see through almost anything. Martin Heimbeck works in the lab. He describes the radiation as radiation similar to what is being used in the airports these days in full body scanners.
While terahertz is often utilized in the civilian world, it's also being tested for use in a war zone. Heimbeck describes one way in which a solider could use the radiation by saying,
"If there was a gas cloud in the distance and you wanted to see if it's harmful or not, then you can send a terahertz beam there."
That beam can then bounce back information to soldiers, detailing the makeup of the gas cloud, letting them know if it's dangerous. This makes it possible to do chemical detection without having to physically enter a potentially dangerous situation.
But even before entering a war zone, terahertz testing is keeping soldiers safe. If a helicopter were to have an unknown problem, instead of having to take the aircraft apart, it could be scanned to reveal any internal problems. Heimbeck explains, "Looking at helicopter parts that are made of composites, you can look inside without having to actually open them, destroy them, and see if they have any defects."
Terahertz joins the ranks of hundreds of other test subjects on the Arsenal, there to be utilized for the benefit of the solider.