Archaeologists plan to scan the Great Pyramid of Giza with cosmic rays – they should see every hidden room inside

The Great Pyramid of Giza may be the most famous structure of all. Ancient civilizations built archaeological icons that testify to their greatness and stability. But in some ways, the Great Pyramid stands alone. Among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid has remained relatively intact.

A team of scientists will use advances in high energy physics (HIP) to survey the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza with cosmic ray muons. They want to see deeper in the Great Pyramid than ever before and map its internal structure. This effort is called the Exploration of the Great Pyramid (EGP) mission.

The Great Pyramid of Giza has been in existence since the twenty-sixth century BC. It is the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu, also known as Khufu. It took about 27 years to build, and was built with about 2.3 million blocks of stone – a mixture of limestone and granite – that weighed about 6 million tons. For more than 3800 years, it was the tallest man-made building in the world. We now see only the basic infrastructure of the Great Pyramid. The fine white limestone casing has been removed over time.

The Great Pyramid has been well studied, and over the years, archaeologists have mapped the internal structure. The pyramid and the ground beneath it contain different rooms and corridors. The Khufu Chamber (Khufu) is located approximately in the center of the pyramid.

Great Pyramid Scheme

This figure is a schematic diagram of the height of the internal structures of the Great Pyramid. The inner and outer lines indicate the current and original features of the pyramid. 1. Original Entrance 2. Thieves’ Tunnel (Tourist Entrance) 3, 4. Descending Corridor 5. Subterranean Chamber 6. Ascending Corridor 7. The Queen’s Chamber and Its “Aerial Shafts” 8. The Horizontal Corridor 9. The Great Gallery 10. The King’s Chamber and Its “Aerial Shafts” Pneumatic” 11. Cave and well shaft. Credit: By Flanker, CC BY-SA 3.0

Recently, archaeological teams have used some high-tech methods to examine the insides of the pyramids more rigorously. In the late 1960s, American physicist Luis Alvarez and his team used muon tomography to survey the interior of the pyramid. In 1969, Alvarez reported that they had examined 19% of the pyramid and had not found new rooms.

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In 2016-2017, Pyramids residents The team used non-invasive techniques to study the Great Pyramid. Like Alvarez before them, they used muon tomography, along with infrared thermal imaging and other tools. Their most important discovery isthe big voidAn enormous void above the Great Gallery. This discovery was published in the journal Nature and is considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the year.

Muons are elementary particles that are similar to electrons but more massive. are used in CT scan Because it penetrates deeply into structures. deeper than x-rays.

Cosmic ray muons are created when high-energy particles known as cosmic rays collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. Cosmic rays are fragments of atoms – high-energy protons and atomic nuclei – constantly flowing into Earth from the sun, out of the solar system, and out of the galaxy. When these particles collide with Earth’s atmosphere, the collision produces showers of secondary particles. Some of these particles are muons.

atmospheric collision

This diagram shows what happens when a fundamental cosmic particle collides with an atmospheric molecule, creating an air shower. An air shower is a series of secondary decay particles, including muons, indicated by the symbol?. Credit: By SyntaxError55 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Muons are unstable and decay in a few microseconds or millionths of a second. But they travel close to the speed of light, and at that high speed, they can penetrate deeply before they decay. There is an endless source of muons of cosmic rays constantly bombarding the Earth. The task of muon tomography is to effectively measure muons.

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Muon tomography is used in various applications, such as checking shipping containers for contraband. Recent technological innovations in muon tomography are increasing its power and leading to new applications. For example, scientists in Italy will use muon tomography to image the interior of volcanic Mount Vesuvius, hoping to understand when it might erupt again.

The Exploring the Great Pyramid (EGP) mission uses muon tomography to take the next step in imaging the Great Pyramid. Like the ScanPyramids before them, the EGP will use muon tomography to image the inside of the structure. But EGP says their muon telescope system will be 100 times more powerful than previous muon imaging. “We plan to put a telescope system in the field that will have a sensitivity of more than 100 times that of the equipment recently used in the Great Pyramid, and it will image muons from almost all angles and will produce, for the first time, a true cross-sectional image of such a large structure,” they wrote in the paper. They explain the task.

The EGP will use very large telescope sensors that have been moved to various locations outside the Great Pyramid. The detectors will be assembled in temperature-controlled shipping containers for easy transportation. Each unit will be 12 meters long, 2.4 meters wide, and 2.9 meters long (40 feet, 8 feet wide, and 9.5 feet long). Their simulations used two Muon telescopes, each consisting of four containers.

Great Pyramid Telescope

On the left is an illustration of the containers that make up the telescope. On the right is an illustration of how the telescope is set up on site. Image Credit: Explore Great Pyramid Mission / Bross et al. 2022.

There are five critical points in the Egyptian pound mission:

  • Prepare a detailed analysis of the entire internal structure which not only differentiates between stone and air, but can measure differences in density.
  • Answer questions about building techniques by being able to see relatively small structural discontinuities.
  • The large size of the telescope system not only increases accuracy but enables rapid data collection, reducing the required viewing time on site. The Egyptian Pound expects a two-year viewing period.
  • The telescope is very modular in nature. This makes it very easy to reconfigure and publish to another site for future studies.
  • From a technical perspective, the proposed system uses a largely designed and tested technology that offers a low-risk approach.
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EGP is still building prototypes for the telescopes and defining the data processing techniques they will use. Along the way, they do simulations and other work to prepare for the mission. One of the important pieces is how you’re going to combine all of these muons into a tomogram.

But the team is confident in the work they’ve done so far and satisfied with their new approach. EGP says their efforts will create an actual cross-sectional image of the Great Pyramid for the first time, rather than a two-dimensional image.

The mission to explore the Great Pyramid takes a different approach to imaging large structures with cosmic ray muons. The use of very large muon telescopes placed outside the structure, in our case, the Great Pyramid of Khufu in the Giza Plateau, can produce high-resolution images due to the large number of detected muons. In addition, by moving telescopes around the base of the pyramid, a true cross-sectional image can be reconstructed for the first time.”

Most of EGP’s work so far has been data simulation. But they won’t start from scratch when they build the telescope. They wrote: “The detector technology used in telescopes is well established, and the prototyping of certain components has already begun.”

When ScanPyramids discovered the Big Void in 2017, it was big news. It caused some controversy, too. Egyptologist Zahi Hawass took advantage of the results. “They found nothing,” he told the New York Times. “This paper does nothing for Egyptology. Zero.”

But most other Egyptologists have embraced this discovery and its scientific nature. Physicists were also supporting the discovery. Particle physicist Lee Thompson said: to know That: “Scientists ‘viewed’ the vacuum using three different muon detectors in three independent experiments, which makes their discovery very powerful.”

There is bound to be some drama when scientists use modern high-energy physics to explore one of humanity’s oldest archaeological treasures. Some Egyptologists seem royal and may view physicists as intrusive in their field. They may not like physicists who use mysterious particles from outer space to open the veil on our ancient past.

Looks like they’ll have to get used to it.

Originally Posted in universe today.

Reference: “Tomography of the Great Pyramid of Giza” by Alan D. Muller, Anna Bla Dalmau, Paul Rubinoff, Omar Shahoud, Philip Vargas and Tabitha Welch, February 16, 2022, Available here. Physics > Instrumentation and Detectors.
arXiv: 2202.08184

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