So remember how clever bio-hackers were working on a strain of grass that turns red when growing near landmine? It didn’t work out. Fortunately, there are other possible solutions:

Fortunately, Bart Weetjens is here to help, and he’s got lots of backup: cages filled with African giant pouched rats. The rats have an amazing sense of smell, and Weetjens has trained rats to detect landmines by scent. The rats are too light to trigger the mines (though they look roughly as large as my cat), but they stand on the mine and dig until a handler picks them up, rewards them with food and removes the ordnance. The rats have already cleared 416,500 square meters of minefield, and can detect more mines in an hour than a professional human deminer can in a day.

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