It's not easy, trying to figure out what's inside a suspicious car or truck. Often, the vehicle has to be searched by hand, putting soldiers right up against a possible car bomb. That's a risk not many are willing to take. Instead, I saw a bunch of trucks around Baghdad (like this one) get torched, just to be sure there weren't any explosives inside. Most of the time, there weren't.Defense Industry Daily points out a new, less destructive way to make that call.[The] Z Backscatter Van (ZBV) is a low-cost, extremely maneuverable screening system built into a commercially available delivery van. The ZBV employs... Z Backscatter technology, which offers photo-like images that reveal contraband that transmission X-rays miss - such as explosives (including car bombs), people and plastic weapons...[It works] by directing a sweeping beam of X-rays at the object under examination, and then measuring and plotting the intensity of scattered X-rays as a function of the beam position.Akin to light reflection, Z Backscatter signals are particularly strong whenever the incident X-rays interact with explosives, plastics, and other biological items, which typically contain low Z materials. Even inorganic objects, such as metals, are given shape and form in Z Backscatter images - making them easier to interpret than transmission images during X-ray evaluation.Eight of the vans are supposed to go to U.S. Central Command, for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. Baghdad's truck drivers can't wait.
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