DARPA has asked the public if they can help the research agency find an underground lair to conduct undisclosed experiments.
Despite the public solicitation, DARPA doesn’t want pedestrians to have access to the space that it wants large enough to span several city blocks.
Attention, city dwellers! We're interested in identifying university-owned or commercially managed underground urban tunnels & facilities able to host research & experimentation. https://t.co/tHZ1Tqy5nV
It's short notice… We're asking for responses by Aug. 30 at 5:00 PM ET. pic.twitter.com/TSWO07bJam
— DARPA (@DARPA) August 28, 2019
“The ideal space would be a human-made underground environment spanning several city blocks w/ complex layout & multiple stories, including atriums, tunnels & stairwells,” added a follow-up tweet. “Spaces that are currently closed off from pedestrians or can be temporarily used for testing are of interest.”
The agency’s tweet appears urgent as the deadline is Friday; the original request went live last week under the title “Underground Experimentation Request for Information.”
The August 20th request – posted on FBO.gov – provides a little more details on the mission, highlighting the needs for a better understanding of the “underground domain” as well as improving the agency’s abilities to locate objects of interest in “unknown complex subterranean environments.”
“The subterranean domain – whether human-made tunnels, urban underground infrastructure, or natural cave networks – is becoming increasingly relevant for global security and disaster-related search and rescue missions,” reads the official description of the request. “As such, DARPA is interested in understanding the state-of-the-art in innovative technologies that have the potential to disruptively and positively impact how the underground domain is leveraged without prohibitive cost and risk to human lives.”
“DARPA is interested in understanding the state-of-the-art in innovative technologies that may enable future solutions to rapidly map, navigate, and search unknown complex subterranean environments to locate objects of interest. To support these technologies, DARPA is looking to find locations that researchers can utilize to experiment and enhance their innovative approaches.”
Also, DARPA wants applicants to provide intel on the submissions like average passage height, average passage length, number of entrances/exits, elevation change, and geological composition of the environment (rock, mud, concrete, etc.).
Interestingly, DARPA’s Twitter account was surprisingly candid in the comments section.
“This sounds both exciting and ominous,” asked a Twitter user.
“Even to us,” replied DARPA.
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