Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

Mission: De-Mining

Removing land mines has always been tough. Now it’s rocket science. Engineers at Thiokol Propulsion, in cooperation with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, have developed a flare that uses surplus rocket fuel to disable mines safely. The flare is placed next to an uncovered mine and detonated from a distance. The flare burns through the mine’s casing and consumes the explosives within it, disabling it or minimizing the force of its detonation. The flare is much less hazardous than current techniques, such as deactivating the mine by hand or deliberately detonating it. Each flare uses about 100 grams of surplus propellant intended for the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters that could otherwise not be reused. An initial batch of 700 flares was made late last year, according to Thiokol program manager Carol Campbell; those flares are being tested in Kosovo and Jordan.

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.