Many challenges have hampered the project. Here we break them down.
- The Ark of Noah rests at ~15,500 feet above sea level (ASL).
- Guides cannot be trusted as they have been known to stop short of the site out of fear.
- The base of Mt. Ararat is in a desert climate zone, replete with venomous snakes.
- Areas around the site itself is regarded as holy, and has been historically guarded by tough armed Kurds.
- The mountain itself represents a signficant danger, as several-ton boulders regularly bounce down its treacherous slopes.
- Avalanches can be set off merely by conversation between hikers.
- The ascent requires expert-level mountaineering skills.
Wilflful Obfuscation of Imagery
Some of the challenges have arisen from the NSA, which controls the satellite imagery data used by Google Earth / Digital Globe. In mid-2014, what had been previously visible was masked out as can be seen in the image on the right. Showing historical imagery did not reveal a clear image, but the obfuscation was not total and ennough relevant features can be seen for spatial correlation against ground-based imagery. Here's how (courtesy BSM Research Associates):
- Download and Open Google Earth
- Enter (copy-paste): 39°42'33.07" N / 44°18'1.26" E into the top-left corner location search (white space)
- Rotate Mt. Ararat using Google Earth top-right option so north is turned south
- Press Historical Imagery “round clock” (7 buttons from top-left)
- Top left slide appears....slide to 8/19/2009
- Zoom as close as desired
- TILT FLAT SCREEN (laptops) BACK TO NATURALLY CONTRAST ARK
- See image processed scenes and videos of ship at: media:https://www.youtube.com/user/cliffordanthonypaiva
Mount Ararat stands within a politically volatile part of the globe in Turkey, flanked by Muslim and Christian Kurds, Christian Armenians, and Muslim Turks. The Kurds and Turks remain riled in a perpetual territorial conflict with Turkey.
To penetrate the area requires someone with deep and intimate knowledge of not only geological but political terrain.
- Cummings 1983