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Proba-1 spots Giza pyramids from space

By Brooks Hays
Proba-1 spots Giza pyramids from space
The Giza Pyramid Complex as seen from an altitude of roughly 400 miles. Photo by ESA/Proba-1

March 28 (UPI) -- As Proba-1 passed over Egypt earlier this year, its camera caught a glimpse of the Giza pyramids. The European Space Agency shared the bird's-eye view of the Giza pyramid complex on Wednesday.

The photograph offers a perspective from north to south. At the center of the image is the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure, built to house the tomb of the fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh for which it is named.

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The larger Pyramid of Khafre appears below and to the left of Menkaure, rising to a height of 448 feet. The largest of the three main pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, can be seen just below and to the left of Khafre.

Archaeologists believe the Great Pyramid took roughly 20 years to build and was completed in 2560 BC. The massive blocks of limestone, each weighing more than a ton and stacked one atop the other, rise some 481 feet into the sky. For 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid was the tallest building in the world.

In the photograph shared Wednesday, Cairo's sprawling suburbs can be seen abutting the Giza plateau.

Proba-1 is a Belgian satellite outfitted with two cameras capable of capturing high-resolution images of the planet Earth. The hyperspectral CHRIS imager is the probe's primary camera, while the experimental High-Resolution Camera acquires slightly less precise images in black and white.

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Proba-1 was launched to test a number of spaceflight technologies, including gallium-arsenide solar paneling and the first lithium-ion batteries launched into space.

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