Scientist’s Create A Telescope to Look Inside Pyramid of Giza

Madilynn Cook, Staff Writer

A new effort to scan Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza using energetic particles from space could help scientists “see” inside the ancient structure and glean new details about its mysterious inner chambers.

The Great Pyramid is the largest pyramid of Giza, towering 455 feet tall, and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World left standing.

Researchers working with the Exploring the Great Pyramid Mission are raising money to develop a high-powered telescope to map its internal makeup from all angles. The device would have “upwards of 100 times the sensitivity” of equipment that has previously been used to study the archaeological site, said the project’s leader, Alan Bross, a staff scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a government-run facility in Batavia, Illinois. The telescope would scan the pyramid with cosmic ray muons, high-energy particles that are created when cosmic rays from outer space rain down and collide with atoms in Earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s natural radiation,” Bross said. “Cosmic ray muons impinge upon the surface of the planet all the time. They’re going through us now.” Cosmic ray muons can pass through solid objects more effectively than X-rays, allowing scientists to peer inside structures that are normally impenetrable. As muons move through the pyramid, the high-energy particles interact with different materials, granite or limestone, for instance, or air in an open cavity deflecting their energy and light in measurable ways.

Researchers can use the measurements to create detailed maps of its interior, Bross said.

The Great Pyramid of Giza was thought to have been constructed at the request of the pharaoh Khufu, who reigned during the 26th century B.C.