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Cosmic Rays, Space Particles Unravel Ancient Secrets Of Egypt's Pyramids

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Cosmic rays and space particles have helped unravel ancient secrets of Egypt's famous pyramids.

Experts were able to identify, for the first time, the internal structure of the Bent Pyramid that has an inclined upper half.

"Just because a mystery is 4,500 years old doesn't mean it can't be solved," the report reads [PDF].

The work of the team from Scan Pyramids has produced excellent results because it showed the internal parts of the structure with just an x-ray.

The results of the investigation were presented in Cairo, Egypt on May 3 to the minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and former minister Mamdouh El-Damaty.

The technologies used by the researchers were a mix of cosmic particles and muons or unstable subatomic particles that lastingly and naturally pour on Earth and are able to seep through any material very deeply.

Infrared Thermography

The first method used by the team is called infrared thermography, which is based on the physical principle that all objects release energy radiation in function of their temperature.

The infrared waves can be measured by cameras with sensors. Because of digital technology, these waves may be used to produce images, which has colors that correspond to different temperatures.

The cameras were also able to measure the emissivity, or the ability of an object to emit infrared waves. In the study of pyramids, the team used this technique to confirm the similarity of the stone surfaces.

Report author Jean-Claude Barré says the most interesting thing about this is the possibility of detecting cold spots, which may reveal hollow areas such as rooms inside the monuments.

Muon Detection

Muon detectors were installed in different places such as within the pyramid or near a possible unidentified chamber. This allows analysis of empty spaces, where muons were able to freely pass, and of denser areas where some of the muons were absorbed or averted.

Although the scans were not able to detect further chambers that have the size of the upper chamber or beyond the field of view, Scan Pyramid's Mehdi Tayoubi says it is still a scientific breakthrough because it verifies the muography concept used in the Egyptian pyramids.

Photogrammetry And Drones

To create a 3D structure of Dahshur and Giza, Yves Ubelmann from Iconem, a digital firm that aims to preserve cultural heritage, is looking at using photogrammetry and drones.

Photogrammetry involves computer algorithms that allow the reconstruction of 3D materials from a wide array of images captured from varied viewpoints.

There are two types of drones to be used for this project. The first one has wings like airplanes that can give information about the structure as detailed as up to 5 centimeters. Such ability will enable experts to recreate the monuments in all its precise glory.

The other type of drone resembles helicopters and it requires less autonomy, but can hover and capture images meters away from the structures. The resulting products will provide very precise geometric data such as alignment and block assembly.

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