NASA Sent Heartbeat-Detection Device to Find Survivors After Turkey Earthquake

Credit: NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has sent life-saving technology to Turkey in the wake of the deadly earthquakes that claimed tens of thousands of lives, according to The device sent by NASA last week is called FINDER, Finding Individuals for Disaster Emergency Response, and it has the capability to save lives by using “microwave radar sensors to find survivors underneath rubble or in avalanches by remotely detecting their heartbeat and respiration.” 

Although some are skeptical of finding survivors as the death toll climbs, on February 14, just ten days after the quakes brought buildings crumbling to the ground, nine survivors were found and freed from the rubble. Still, some argue that the technology should have been sent sooner. 


The FINDER technology was developed by a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, after the disastrous earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. According to NASA’s Spinoff, “FINDER can distinguish between movements made by people and machinery, and even between people and animals – an important distinction in the rapid-paced search-and-rescue environment.” A Florida-based SpecOps group has commercialized the device and has been perfecting it as well as distributing it to first responders who use the technology to save lives. 

The FINDER device is just one kind of technology NASA is using to help Turkey recover from the natural disaster. Additionally, they are using EMIT, Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, to “analyze the composition of dust in Earth’s atmosphere” and possibly “detect dangerous gas leaks from pipelines damaged by the earthquakes.” NASA is also using technology to monitor the tectonic plates in the region that have made the location on the border between Turkey and Syria an “earthquake hotspot.” 


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement “NASA’s hearts and minds are with those impacted by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria,” adding that “NASA is our eyes in the sky, and our teams of experts are working hard to provide valuable information from our Earth-observing fleet to first responders on the ground.”

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