GINGER Moon Radar Benefits Miners On Earth

The ESA developed an advanced ground penetration radar called GINGER (Guidance and Into-the-Ground Exploration Radar) to investigate the soil structure of the Moon; this same technology is now being used in mines in Canada to find hidden weaknesses.

The German-Swiss company RST has designed and developed two radars to detect invisible separations in the roofs and walls of mines: the Crack Identification System (CRIS) for hard rock mines and the Potash Roof Inspection System (PRIS) for potash mines.


(GINGER space radar locates cracks in mine roof)

"CRIS and PRIS are based directly on the GINGER radar technology which we started to develop with ESA in 1994. We have changed the operating frequencies to target what we search for in mine drifts, that is cracks and structural weakness," explains Yvonne Krellmann, RST Project Manager.

"During test campaigns with our two radars CRIS and PRIS in Canada, we have verified that this technology is very successful in spotting horizontal cracks in the roofs of mine drifts; cracks which are difficult to identify with the human eye and which, in time, could cause a roof to fall down."

Larry Niven wrote about a similar idea in his 1980 novel Ringworld Engineers; a "deep-radar:"

On the surface of Canyon there were mines, and there was a large, indifferently tended preserve for the surviving varieties of Canyon lichen. But most of the world was barren moonscape. A careful man could land a spacecraft undetected, and could hide it where only a deep-radar search would find it...
(Read more about Niven's deep radar)

Read more details about this cool technology transfer at the ESA's site - Space radar to improve miners’ safety.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/22/2008)

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