Larger, more structural questions presented themselves as well. Did the shaft continue on the opposite side, or come to an abrupt end against the core masonry of the pyramid? Zahi Hawass, the Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had some decisions to make.
Was the block inserted into the shaft like a cork, or did it sit flush against the end of the shaft like a lid? Initial planning for the next mission into the Queen’s Chamber shafts began soon after the conclusion of the Pyramid Rover Project, and at one point it seemed that a team from Singapore University had been selected as early as August, 2004. Hawass talked as if the Singaporean mission was a done deal.
But apparently he was not entirely convinced with what he saw and decided to open the project up to competition.
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.
To accomplish these objectives, the mission would have to meet certain criteria as well.
The tube-mounted camera on Pyramid Rover was unable to look around the inside of the chamber and the light quality was not fully up to task.
The Pyramid Rover had also made a remarkable discovery in the northern shaft of the Queen’s Chamber—another door, nearly identical to the one Gantenbrink discovered, and at about the same elevation. “The manufacturing of the robot will start in October,” Hawass said, “with the university [of Singapore] footing the bill.