Satellite closes in on Noah's Ark mystery
By Leonard David
RICHMOND, Mar 13, 2006 (www.space,com) -- High on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey, there is a baffling mountainside "anomaly," a feature that one researcher claims may be something of biblical proportions.
Images taken by aircraft, intelligence-gathering satellites and commercial remote-sensing spacecraft are fueling an intensive study of the intriguing oddity. But whether the anomaly is some geological quirk of nature, playful shadows, a human-made structure of some sort, or simply nothing at all that remains to be seen.
Whatever it is, the anomaly of interest rests at 15,300 feet (4,663 meters) on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, and is nearly submerged in glacial ice. It would be easy to call it merely a strange rock formation.
But at least one man wonders if it could be the remains of Noah's Ark, a vessel said to have been built to save people and selected animals from the Great Flood, the 40 days and 40 nights of deluge as detailed in the Book of Genesis.
The Genesis blueprint of the Ark detailed the structure as 6:1 length to width ratio (300 cubits by 50 cubits). The anomaly, as viewed by satellite, is close to that 6:1 proportion.
Identifying the Ararat anomaly has been a 13-year-long quest of Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies in Virginia.
Taylor has been a national security analyst for more than 30 years, also serving as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
"I've got new found optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery," Taylor told SPACE.com/LiveScience. He points to a "new and significant development," a high-resolution image taken by DigitalGlobe's impressive QuickBird satellite and shown here publicly for the first time [alternate version with no annotation].
"I'm calling this my satellite archeology project," Taylor said. It's an effort that has now included use of QuickBird, GeoEye's Ikonos spacecraft, Canada's Radarsat 1, as well as declassified aerial and satellite images taken by the various U.S. intelligence agencies.