Bomb Detection Lab’s Wild Experiments

If you’ve ever happened to lose your luggage, never to get it back, it might be helping out in the name of science.

In an article on the LA Times website, Bob Drogin says a well-fortified laboratory outside the Atlantic City International airport, the Transportation Security Laboratory is a place where scientists “dream up ways an enemy might slip a weapon or a bomb onto a plane, and then try to build defenses to detect or counter the danger.”

The staff have access to a warehouse that contains nearly 10,000 pieces of lost or abandoned packed luggage, and build bombs inside them. Junked jetliners have been the site of more than 200 experimental bomb explosions.

The Transportation Security Laboratory first opened after the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and has evolved into a $45 million a year Homeland Security outfit since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The scientific community has called the lab one of the best in the world for the staff’s broad thinking and new ideas.

“We let our imaginations go wild,” engineer Nelson Carey told Drogin. “The types of improvised explosive devices are endless.” The lab, in turn, aims to come up with just as many ways to stop these threats.

To read the article, please click here:,0,1662647.story