Code-Name ‚Corona‘: Earliest Spy-Satellite Images Reveal Secrets of Ancient Middle East

By mapping historical spy-satellite images to recent aerial photos, researchers can find historical sites that vanished decades ago. Credit: Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, University of Arkansas
When the United States launched its first secret „spy satellites,“ in the 1960s, the onboard cameras captured never-before-seen views of Earth’s surface.

By Mindy Weisberger | LIVESCIENCE

Though once used for uncovering critical military secrets of U.S. foes, those now-declassified images recently found a new purpose: providing archaeologists with an important window into the past.

Scientists are using the satellites‘ decades-old photos of the Middle East to reconstruct archaeological sites that disappeared many years ago, erased by urbanization, agricultural expansion and industrial growth, researchers reported in December at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

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