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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.

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.

The next mission into the Queen’s Chamber shafts would have two primary objectives: Send a robot crawler up QCS to explore the space behind the first blocking slab using the same opening Pyramid Rover had drilled, determine if the rough block at the opposite side was the end of the shaft or another blocking slab, and if the latter, drill a hole through it and see what is behind it.

Send a robot crawler up QCN to drill a hole through blocking slab and see what is on the other side.

Rover successfully drilled a small hole in the slab, about 2 cm in diameter, while inflicting as little damage as possible.

The probe-mounted fiber optic camera was successfully deployed and gave us our first look behind Gantenbrink’s Door.

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.

Regarding the white circular patches observable behind the pins, Pyramid Rover’s close-up analysis revealed that these were most likely mortar patches rather than royal seals, one of the possibilities offered up by the Upuaut Project.

Rover’s impact-echo probe had shown that the blocking slab was only 5-9 cm thick, which placed it within the capabilities of Rover’s drill and probe-mounted camera.

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