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Satellites Search for Ancient Artifact - Noah's Ark

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  • Chris Ashcraft
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/noahs_ark_010823-1.html Satellites Search for Ancient Artifact By Leonard David Senior Space Writer posted:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2001

      Satellites Search for Ancient Artifact

      By Leonard David
      Senior Space Writer
      posted: 07:00 am ET
      23 August 2001

      WASHINGTON -- Military and private satellite snapshots
      of Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey reveal an anomaly
      that researchers say might be the remains of Noah's

      A soon-to-be-launched commercial spacecraft will focus
      powerful cameras on the mysterious mountainside oddity
      to help unravel its true nature.

      In the past, expeditions permitted to search the area
      for what some claim are the ruins of Noah's Ark, while
      failing to conclusively prove its existence, have
      succeeded in sustaining debate. The area itself is a
      geopolitical and religious hot spot, with Mount Ararat
      sitting in the far eastern frontier of Turkey, near
      the borders of Armenia, Georgia (formerly part of the
      Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR) and

      Even the late Apollo 15 moonwalker James Irwin was
      repeatedly drawn to Mount Ararat in hopes of finding
      Ark wreckage. Through his High Flight Foundation, a
      non-profit evangelical organization based in Colorado
      Springs, the former astronaut made six treks to Mount
      Ararat in an unsuccessful quest to find remains of the

      Irwin's last expedition in 1990 ran into trouble.
      Turkish police detained him following allegations that
      he engaged in spying while looking for the Ark. Since
      1991, the mountain has been closed due to Turkish
      military operations against Kurdish rebels in the

      Flood of data

      To get up to speed on this search, it helps to start
      with the Bible.

      Noah was instructed by God to save his family and the
      world's animals during a great flood that would cover
      the Earth. To do so, Noah built a large vessel, an
      ark. What followed was a pouring rain lasting 40 days
      and 40 nights. According to the Book of Genesis, as
      the Great Flood receded, the ark came to rest on the
      mountains of Ararat.

      Now jump to 1949. - An image from the June 19, 1949
      U.S. Air Force Mission that captured a panoramic
      view of what is simply called "the Ararat Anomaly"

      Aircraft imagery of Mount Ararat taken in June of that
      year and analyzed by U.S. intelligence officials
      includes a unique feature at the 15,500-foot level on
      the Northwestern Plateau. Then in 1973 and 1976,
      through the lenses of classified satellites, this
      "whatever-it-is" also purportedly stirred up the same

      "It's called the 'Ararat Anomaly'," said Porcher
      Taylor, an assistant professor at the University of
      Richmond in Virginia, and an expert in satellite
      imaging diplomacy and the news media. He has been
      gathering evidence on the novel feature since 1993,
      including a set of those 1949 aerial shots of the
      area, now declassified.

      Taylor said that arguments have erupted within
      intelligence circles for decades as to what truly has
      been seen on Mount Ararat.

      "Debates center on whether or not it's a strange rock
      formation, a crashed airplane, perhaps a fortress or
      some other structure hundreds of years old � or maybe
      something more interesting of potentially biblical
      proportions," Taylor told SPACE.com. Certain
      individuals in the know, he added, believe what is
      visible in certain satellite pictures is the bow of a
      ship sticking out of a glacier.

      The anomaly is apparently more than 600-feet long (183
      meters), Taylor said, at least that part of it jutting
      out as seen in aerial and satellite imagery. One
      expert, a naval engineer and architect, when looking
      at the photos believes "prongs" or "ribs" of the keel
      of an ancient marine structure can be identified, he

      PAGE 2

      Divided interpretation

      Taylor recently took his plight to The Washington
      Times Corporation, publisher of Insight Magazine. That
      publication helped fund special snapping sessions
      using Space Imaging's private satellite, IKONOS 2.

      On four separate dates starting in October 1999 into
      the summer of 2000, photos of the mountain were taken
      by IKONOS and processed by Space Imaging, based in
      Thornton, Colorado.

      Space Imaging's Ikonos 2 can resolve objects as small
      as 3.3 feet (1 meter) across.

      IKONOS pictures snapped over Mount Ararat then were
      contrasted with the aircraft photos taken in 1949.

      A seven-person team of independent scientists and
      analysts scrutinized the batch of images. While
      clearly the photos show some type of feature, the team
      was divided in their interpretation. While some felt
      the anomaly could be human-made, others voted for rock
      or deferred to inconclusive data, Taylor said.

      One team member concluded the anomaly had apparently
      shifted, suggesting that its composition was foreign
      and not a chunk of the mountain. IKONOS imagery
      confirms that the anomaly is "broken" in several

      "The color of the anomaly is uniquely different from
      the surrounding strato-volcanic rock. The anomaly
      seems to be very smooth in texture as compared to the
      jagged rocks," Taylor said.

      If it's human-made, then what is it? By using
      satellites, such as IKONOS, the saga has become a
      "space-based Indiana Jones," Taylor says.

      Ikonos captured this image of the alleged site of
      Noah's Ark on August 6, 2000. The annotation show's
      how this find differs from the anomaly captured in

      The next step in the search for the Ark takes to the
      air, quite literally, is just a handful of weeks.

      The QuickBird 2 satellite is ready for launch on
      October 18 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
      California. If successfully orbited, it will become
      the world's highest resolution commercial satellite.

      Operated by EarthWatch Incorporated in Longmont,
      Colorado, QuickBird 2 can focus on objects down to
      nearly 20-inches (one-half meter) across. Taylor
      requested and then received an OK from the firm that
      they will point the spacecraft's imaging system at the
      feature in question on Mount Ararat.

      "They are going after it," Taylor said.

      "As of now we plan to take images � but have not
      solidified exactly when we will work his requests into
      our overall mission planning," said Chuck Herring,
      EarthWatch spokesman.

      "Whether we do it in calibration or during commercial
      operations, we will work with him as it fits in our
      mission plan," Herring told SPACE.com.

      Seeing is not easy

      Extremely heavy daily cloud cover and perhaps large
      buildups of snow at the site make it almost impossible
      for hikers, planes or satellites to see anything --
      unless there is a major avalanche, high-velocity wind,
      glacial meltdown or dissipation of clouds.

      "This is a unique and unexplored site on the
      mountain," Taylor said. Nearly 99 percent of all Ark
      hunters, researchers, expeditions to Ararat have been
      to the Ahora Gorge. That is on the other side of the
      mountain, he said.

      Time is of the essence, with winter closing in, Taylor
      said. Moreover, as more commercial satellite
      capability becomes available, there is increased
      chance that the anomaly will be identified.

      In particular, hyperspectral imagery from space offers
      great promise.

      >All natural and human-made materials on the surface
      of the Earth have a unique signature of reflected
      light from the Sun. This signature is more detailed
      than can be captured by a conventional camera or the
      human eye. Hyperspectral sensors can measure this
      signature and actually identify materials from space.

      What if the "Ararat Anomaly" turns out to be less than
      a Biblical blast from the past?

      "I would consider it a great victory either way,"
      Taylor said. "Everybody should realize that the world
      is truly transparent. The commercialization of space
      is a direct peace dividend of the Cold War and our
      space-based military satellites."

      "As for the anomaly," Taylor said, "what it is � is
      what it is � no matter what it is.

      Chris Ashcraft
      Creation Science Resource

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