Honey bee at work

Honey, are you for real?

11 February 2013

A laser device developed in the hopes of measuring carbon on Mars may soon be used here on Earth to root out counterfeit foods – and make sure that honey, olive oil and chocolate are what they claim.

A cheap fake honey concocted from sugar would be unmasked simply by laser-scanning the carbon dioxide released from burning a few milligrams.

Seven years ago, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory – RAL – in England embarked on a ‘blue sky’ space research project to develop a new laser technique for identifying isotopes in space.

Today’s equipment is large, bulky and stationary. Samples of, say, polluted soil must be collected in the field, put in a flask and brought to the lab for testing – clearly unsuitable for space testing.

But the new laser ‘isotope ratio-meter’ from RAL Space could change that.

Read more: Honey, are you for real? / TTP2 / Technology / Our Activities / ESA.

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