Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Short Story: After 4,600 Years, We Can Finally See Deep Inside Egypt's Mysterious Pyramids

You may have wondered what the inside of a pyramid looks like. Not the cavities and passages you see on "The Mummy" — the actual structure of the creation, how it was built to last all these years.

The pyramids of ancient Egypt are about 4,500 years old. They have stood the test of time, great monuments on the landscape. Dusty gold and majestic.

Now we can learn a little more about them thanks to cosmic rays. 

Archaeologists have begun to use new technology to better refine our understanding of pyramids' internal makeup.

The new Scans Pyramids project uses cosmic rays to build "inside" maps of the Egyptian attractions. The images show the internal crooked chamber of a 4,600-year-old pyramid known as the Bent Pyramid. It's a 345-foot monument 25 miles south of Cairo.

In ancient times, the pointed building was known as the Southern Shining Pyramid. It is believed to be one of Egypt's earliest designs. 

It looks odd, probably built in a time of transition, when engineering moved from stepped pyramids to smooth.

The cosmic rays used to unlock the secrets of the structure might be compared to X-rays. Scientists are using muon particles, which come from cosmic rays, to penetrate deep into stone.

Using these, researchers can gauge how thick the stonework is and build up a map of the internal organs of a building. It took 40 days of exposure to the particles to garner enough information. Now there are images that capture the scale of the craftsmanship involved.

And this is just the beginning. There are plenty more pyramids to look at.

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