Can Satellites Save Pompeii?

Pompeii, view from the Forum looking towards the Temple of Jupiter.
Pompeii, view from the Forum looking towards the Temple of Jupiter. Photo: courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The latest attempt to keep the ancient ruin of Pompeii from collapsing will utilize satellite technology, reports the AFP. The project will use equipment worth €1.7 million ($2.3 million) donated by Finmeccanica, an Italian aerospace and defence industrial group.  

The company’s generosity may be in response to the Italian Prime Minister‘s recent plea for privately funded support of the conservation efforts. artnet News previously reported on the ongoing deterioration of the archaeological site and the Italian government’s struggle to implement costly measures to protect and repair the city.

Ground sensors and satellites will monitor the site over the next three years, assessing the “risks of hydrogeological instability.” The goal would be to warn Pompeii’s staff and security of potential collapses before they happen.

“We are offering our technology for the service of the country and its heritage,” said Finmeccanica CEO Alessandro Pansachief to reporters following the announcement. 

The UNESCO World Heritage landmark is currently the subject of “The Great Pompeii Project,” a €105 million ($143.8 million) conservation effort that has made little progress to date.


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