ROV to penetrate ancient "door" in Great Pyramid

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Progress was temporarily thwarted by a group of men in black robes, wielding scimitars and large amounts of guyliner.


As implausible as it may seem, even 4500 years after it was completed, there are passages in the Great Pyramid of Khufu that remain unexplored.

Before you reach for your incredulous hat, however, understand that the “passages” in question are really more like pipes. Approximately 20 cm square and winding upwards through the massive stone structure along a series of sharp corners, the two shafts in question connect to the so-called “Queen’s Chamber” in the middle of the pyramid, and were hidden until the late 19th century when a British explorer, reasoning by analogy to the two well-known shafts in the upper “King’s Chamber,” dug into the walls and discovered them. Unlike the shafts in the King’s Chamber, however, the Queen’s Chamber shafts do not connect to the outside of the pyramid. Starting in 1992, a series of ROVs have discovered that their distant ends are sealed by limestone “doors” incorporating copper fittings probably used as pulls. The implication seems to be that the shafts were sealed by the original builders by pulling the “doors” into place, from inside the Queen’s Chamber, using lines run down the shafts. Which raises some intriguing questions about what might be behind them.

Now, a team from Leeds University is preparing an ROV, called Djedi, designed to navigate the narrow, torturous length of the stone shafts and penetrate the doors at their far ends without causing undue damage. [via Bot Junkie]

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