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NASA brings alien detection technology to Nepal

NASA is bringing heartbeat detecting technology to Nepal, in order to find people still hidden under the rubble.

A 7.8 richter earthquake hit the country two weeks ago, displacing millions of Nepalese citizens. It is the largest earthquake in the region for over seven decades, hitting several areas around Kathmandu and Pokhara.

NASA uses microwave radar technology to spot heartbeats from way above the rubble. It is a smart way of spotting people still alive without having to send sniffer dogs or listen for sounds underneath the rubble, advancing the search speed.

FINDER, the technology behind the heartbeat scanner, was originally intended for finding life on other planets. It is capable of spotting heartbeats from miles away, allowing NASA to look over large amounts of land in a quick time.

"NASA technology plays many roles: driving exploration, protecting the lives of our astronauts and improving — even saving — the lives of people on Earth," said David Miller, NASA's chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "FINDER exemplifies how technology designed for space exploration has profound impacts to life on Earth."

There are other initiatives being set up by US corporations, including Facebook and Google’s “people finder”, allowing users to post information about their whereabouts for family and friends to find.

Drones are another promising source of people finding, capable of going into the rubble and finding anyone in close proximity. The drone is able to give water, food and technical supplies to get the person trapped inside a way out of the rubble.

National aid is also being delivered to the millions of displaced residents, alongside thousands coming to the UK to seek asylum in the country. The Nepalese government is working to restore the country with the economical aid, planning new rebuilding of damaged or destroyed homes. Several agencies say it will be years before the disaster is cleaned up.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.