These Mysterious Ancient Geoglyphs Can Be Seen From Space

Ancient geoglyphs — such as the Nazca Lines in Peru or the megalith structures in the Ural Mountains — captivate the world every time someone finds them. In fact, one group of geoglyphs is so fascinating, NASA scientists have decided to study it from space.

The space agency is officially beginning to investigate the Steppe Geoglyphs, a group of more than 200 giant squares, lines, and rings formed by dirt mounds in the Turgai area of northern Kazakhstan.

NASA released photos of the formations two weeks ago, and the space agency will continue to capture more images as it attempts to help researchers understand what the shapes may have meant to ancient people.

“They’re really curious and puzzling,” said Compton Tucker, a climate scientist at NASA who studies the planet through satellite imaging. “At the moment, we don’t have a clue what they are.”

Archeology enthusiast Dmitriy Dey happened upon the formations while he was searching Google Earth for pyramids, The New York Times reported. Each individual mound in the formation is about three feet high and 40 feet wide.

Some of the mounds may be 8,000 years old, say researchers who have tested how long ago the minerals in the dirt were last exposed to sunlight.

Photographing the Steppe Geoglyphs is now on the official to-do list for NASA’s International Space Station. To complete the project, the space agency also has teamed up with DigitalGlobe, a private company that takes high-resolution photos of the Earth with satellites.

“Astronauts on the ISS like to be kept busy looking at interesting things on Earth,” Tucker said. “NASA imagery has likely been used to study these types of formations in the past. But now we have teamed —> Read More