Noah's Search: Probing Satellite Imagery for Lost Ark

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Dogged determination

Additional analytical techniques have aided Taylor in his mission. He recently made use of a panchromatic texture uniqueness analysis of the anomaly, provided by remote sensing researcher and Ph.D. candidate Francois Luus from the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Luus' research supervisor, Sunil Maharaj.

Imagery used in the work was gleaned by the QuickBird satellite mission at 61 centimeters resolution in 2003. All the details of that recent analysis of the Mt. Ararat anomaly can be found in the following six-page report at: http://goo.gl/f8O3gs

Luus told Space.com that Taylor displays the tenacity and dogged determination characteristic of a successful investigator.

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"His ability to rally support and repeatedly obtain specially commandeered satellite imagery of the Ararat anomaly is inspiring," Luus said.

Solving the riddle

Luus' texture analysis completed will help Taylor and others determine the anomaly's identity, Luus said.

"The texture uniqueness analysis we performed provides a more objective artificial intelligence perspective that shows us the parts of the anomaly that have novel textures and warrant further investigation," Luus said. "As a remote-sensing researcher, every pixel is given its due consideration, and good imagery is invaluable," he said.

Further study may consider the locations pinpointed by the uniqueness search to find clues about an artifact underlying the anomaly, Luus said.

"We are very excited about the new DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 satellite, which can truly shed some new light on the anomaly with its very high panchromatic and multispectral resolutions," Luus said. "Imagery of this quality may finally solve the riddle of the Ararat anomaly, or at least become the subject of a very satisfying remote sensing analysis," he said.

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin's new book "Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration," published by National Geographic.Original article on Space.com.

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