Clip | Scanning the Pyramids - Particle Physics Helps Scientists Look Inside the Great Pyramid

Scientists used an unprecedented imaging technique called muography to create an internal scan of the Great Pyramid of Giza. See how it works.

Transcript Print

They will use physics and sub-atomic particles to see inside this giant structure.

These particles are created when radiation in the form of cosmic rays from distant supernova hits the earth's atmosphere.

The cosmic rays then produce several different sub-atomic particles, including muons.

About 10,000 muons per square yard hit the earth every minute.

And move through matter in straight lines.

Muons are less likely to be absorbed when passing through low-density matter.

To create an image with muography, nuclear emulsion films record muons as cross.

More muons trajectories recorded in a particular direction means there is likely more open space above the film.

The process is akin to taking an x-ray, but on a much larger scale.

Nuclear film is placed inside the pyramid to record how many muons arrive from different locations.

But before the team attempts to scan the Great Pyramid, the Egyptian government has asked them to test the technique on the well-documented Bent Pyramid, at Dahshur, 20 miles from Cairo.

I'm really excited about using this method to take on such a mysterious monument.