RoboScarab, the Little Grave-Robber that Could

Egyptian Pyramid Spelunked, Silly ‘ol Mystery Debunked: Welcome to another case of, just ‘cause we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Original story: news.cnet.com | Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010

Not unlike the Large Hadron Collider and the hunt for the God Particle, (short for “goddamn particle” because of the difficulty in proving its existence), isn’t elbowing our way into a pyramid the very essence of disenchanting?

Do we really need to demystify every little thing? Have we become so entitled as to burst every bubble of ambiguity humans have ever known?

We drain everything drainable. We paint everything paintable. We build on everything that’s flat or soon to become flat and carve into whatever’s left. We broadcast the earth’s address to unseen super beings; we spoil the tricks of magicians with our resolve to know what’s behind them. We hope to dig up Mars one day and capture every creature at every depth in the sea. With our limitless appetite for bad movie sequels and fried lard cubes, should a species such as ours be permitted to tend the universe?

What’s to be gained by sending RoboScarab into the Queen’s Secret Chambers of the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt? One less ancient mystery? Check. One less source for all cultures to draw upon for legend, tradition, and learning? Check. One more place for a corporate flag to stand? Check. And we only “gain” more loss: loss of what makes a young boy pursue his Scout badges, loss of things spooky, and loss of what drives our evolution: curiosity. What, I ask, will be left for us to show that young boy so he learns that sometimes questions are more important than answers?

Me, I’d rather not know if the “God Particle” of theoretical physics exists or what dusty thing is really inside the Great Pyramid. I didn’t need to find out that Al Capone’s vault was a big joke either. What a dreary, unclothed place we’re allowing this planet to become. And while some argue that journeys into the unknown raise further questions and uncover more puzzles, isn’t there something to be said for occasionally choosing preservation over exhumation?

Exploration is one thing, but let’s stop making excuses for commercial snooping. If we go into the pyramids we’re going to sooner or later market what we find. (Silly, huh? Tell that to the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest.) What a slap in the face this robot grave-robbing will be to the pyramid’s architects, as well as to the sense of wonder their imaginations have given us for thousands of years.

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