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The SCA had a group of Egyptologists and engineers from Cairo University design a limestone “competition tunnel” in the desert that mimicked the actual pyramid shafts as nearly as possible in terms of size, slope, and conditions.The panel of judges was an impressive list of experts.
Damage prevention was not just a consideration with the blocking slab, it had become one of the main criteria of the mission.But apparently he was not entirely convinced with what he saw and decided to open the project up to competition.In 20 Tomb Trekker would have to face off with a competing team from Leeds University for the right to explore the pyramid shafts.Larger, more structural questions presented themselves as well. Did the shaft continue on the opposite side, or come to an abrupt end against the core masonry of the pyramid? Zahi Hawass, the Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had some decisions to make.Was the block inserted into the shaft like a cork, or did it sit flush against the end of the shaft like a lid? Initial planning for the next mission into the Queen’s Chamber shafts began soon after the conclusion of the Pyramid Rover Project, and at one point it seemed that a team from Singapore University had been selected as early as August, 2004. Hawass talked as if the Singaporean mission was a done deal.To accomplish these objectives, the mission would have to meet certain criteria as well.
The tube-mounted camera on Pyramid Rover was unable to look around the inside of the chamber and the light quality was not fully up to task.
But the pyramid shafts are a different type of spelunking and the Supreme Council of Antiquities was determined that whoever they selected for the next mission would leave no footprints at all.
To select which team—Singapore or Leeds—was best able to fulfill the mission and meet all the criteria, Zahi Hawass arranged for the two sides to face off in a sort of robot Olympics in the desert.
To have a better understanding of these pins the new robot would need to be able to examine the backs of these slabs. The impact-echo probe used by Pyramid Rover covered nearly half the surface area of the blocking slab.
Obviously, something of comparable size would not be able to fit through the hole in the first blocking slab, and minimizing damage meant the team could not drill a larger hole.
Rover successfully drilled a small hole in the slab, about 2 cm in diameter, while inflicting as little damage as possible.