Egyptian archeologists are now using robots to explore the secret chambers of the pyramids. Over the last few years, we've written extensively about these explorations, the results of which are often kept secret by the Egyptian government. Now it's been announced that a robot will be sent up two of the tiny shafts in the Great Pyramid of Giza to discover whether a secret burial chamber contains the mummy of the pharaoh Cheops.
Anne Penketh writes in the Independent that this is a riddle that has not been solved in 4,500 years. Chief Egyptian Zahi Hawass is planning to use a robot designed in Singapore. The robot will beam back video images to a team of waiting scientists. The last time this happened, in 2002, a robot was sent through a tiny door, on a track built along a narrow shaft, only to discover?another door. No one knows why the pyramids are filled with so many shafts leading nowhere. Some archeologists think these were air shafts or escape routes for the pyramid builders that were filled in later. Others think these were built to fool the Gods, so they wouldn't find the royal mummy hidden within. They could also have been built to thwart grave robbers, who were as common thousands of years ago as they are today. Other researchers say there never were any mummies in the pyramids?not in the older ones, at least?because they were not built as tombs.
The new robot, built in Singapore, will not only be able to travel in narrow spaces and take video images of what it finds, it will also have a remote-controlled drill and be able to drill a hole into any barriers it encounters and peek inside. This is the same type of technology used in the robots that were used to explore Mars.
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