Bomb detecting with space telescope spare parts
Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16
NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was launched in 1991 and produced much useful data on astronomical high-energy radiation. In 1999, the telescope suffered a gyroscope failure and was successfully ‘deorbited’ in 2000. However, researchers realised that the spacecraft’s sensors make good bomb detectors as they can provide information on the direction of a gamma ray source which conventional detectors do not. They recycled spare parts built for the spacecraft’s gamma ray detectors as detectors for dirty bombs that contain a mixture of conventional explosives and radioactive substances.
J. L. Chen & A. Chen, A Guide to Hubble Space Telescope Objects: Their Selection, Location, and Significance, Cham, Springer, 2015, p. 221.
E. Hand, Space telescope recycled for bomb detection, Nature News Website, 9th May 2008, http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080509/full/news.2008.814.html