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An illustration of the newly discovered void in Khufu's Pyramid, courtesy of ScanPyramids mission.

Scientists have probed Egypt's mysterious Great Pyramid of Giza with tools of modern particle physics and say they have discovered a hidden "void" within its ancient walls. The large space is roughly 100 feet long and situated above the pyramid's Grand Gallery, according to a report published in the scientific journal Nature Thursday.

Why it matters: The study suggests that modern advances in technology could lead to new discoveries and help create a better understanding of the ancient world — even in well-studied places, like the Great Pyramid, built around 2500 B.C. and considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Context: Scientists involved in the study said this is the first significant internal structure found within the The Great Pyramid since the 19th century. But many archaeologists have questioned whether the discovery offers any new information, per the New York Times, arguing the void was likely empty space designed to prevent the structure from collapsing, as documented in the construction of the ancient monuments.

  • "They found nothing," Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian government minister and head of the scientific committee appointed by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to review the work, told NYT, noting that such construction gaps were known for at least two decades. "This paper offers nothing to Egyptology. Zero."

Details of the study, per NPR:

  • Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of the ScanPyramids project, and his team investigated the pyramid using a type of imaging technique that involves muons — subatomic particles that move through matter — to see through into the structure. "We tried to do for the pyramid what a doctor can do with X-rays," he said.
  • After uncovering the void, the team used two muon-detection methods to confirm their findings. "The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big," says Tayoubi. "I don't know what it could be. I think it's now time for Egyptologists and specialists in ancient Egypt architecture to collaborate with us, to provide us with some hypotheses."

What's next: Tayoubi said he's interested in whether small robots might be able to enter the newly-discovered chamber through tiny cracks or holes and provide more information.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.