Like the lost continent Atlantis and Mu, or the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, Noah’s Ark is undoubtedly on the list of missing treasures of the world. To date, many scientists have searched for the Ark, which is claimed to be atop Turkey’s highest mountain, Mount Ağrı, yet none of them have come up with any conclusive findings.
One of the scientists involved in the search for Noah’s Ark is Robert C. Michelson. Dr. Michelson owns various patents for his unmanned air vehicle designs and has conducted many projects with NASA.
Dr. Michelson, who has more than 100 scientific publications to his credit, has been to Turkey to investigate Noah’s Ark. He had also been invited many times to seminars and conferences to participate as speaker. We talked with Michelson, who is also the founder of the International Aerial Robotics Competition, about his projects and his search for Noah’s Ark.
When was your first trip to Turkey and why did you go?
My first trip to Türkiye was to speak at a NATO-sponsored conference hosted by TUBITAK in Ankara in 1995. After the conference, I took a plane to Erzurum to meet with a professor at Ataturk University concerning Nuh’un Gemisi. Several years earlier I had been working on a project to use ground penetrating radar (GPR) to detect buried natural gas leaks and one of the GPR technicians had some pictures of a site in eastern Anatolia that some claimed to be Noah’s Ark. Through that contact I came to know Prof. Dr. Salih Bayraktutan who had been studying this site. On this first trip to Türkiye I took the opportunity to meet Dr. Bayraktutan in person and to visit this site which is east of Doğubayazit. I have visited this site with Dr. Bayraktutan and other researchers on several occasions since then.
Were you consider to go Eastern Turkey in that time?
I found the Turkish people to be very friendly. While I had concerns about the PKK in the East during 1995, I found that everyone was looking out for my safety from Dr. Bayraktutan to the local military and police. The first time I came to Turkey, I stayed in hotels, but every other time I have had the pleasure to live with Turkish families and friends for periods of up to two weeks at a time. This way, one can really get a good understanding of the real Turkish life that the average tourist can never get by staying in an regularAmerica hotel.
Why did you need to do some research about Noah's ark? What kind of accomplishment did you have and are you willing to continue to work on this project?
I will add that this research is ongoing as my research corporation “SEPDAC” (Scientific Enterprise in Pursuit and Discovery of Ancient Cultures ) is attempting to collaborate with others to raise money to conduct research in the area of the Durupinar site using high tech methods of investigation. The greatest hurdle is obtaining a research visa to conduct the work because the association with Noah’s Ark seems to throw us into the same group of “adventurers” that have for years trapsed around the slopes of Agri Mountain (often illegally) in search of Noah’s Ark based on mere unsubstantiated rumors, while finding nothing of scientific merit.
On the contrary, SEPDAC wants to work with Turkish authorities to investigate the Durupinar site and the archeological finds in the vicinity in order to determine if this is a purely natural formation or has human origins, and if it appears to have human origins, is it related to the account of Noah’s Ark found in the Bible, Torah, and Quran. SEPDAC research has nothing whatsoever to do with Ağri Mountain which we feel to be an unlikely place to find remains of the boat of Noah because it is a geologically recent active volcano. SEPDAC will continue to work through the Tukish system to receive a research visa.
What is your current project? What kinds of work do you at Millennial Vision, LLC?
I have retired from the university after 30 years service, but I still want to pursue many of my ideas and technical interests. One example is my work with SEPDAC. I also formed a ‘for profit’ corporation called “Millennial Vision, LLC” which is an engineering consulting company through which I can continue to do my engineering and scientific endeavors. Currently I am working with a company to develop an airship (powered balloon) which might someday act as a low altitude satellite that can be parked over a major city for months as a single GSM cell tower for the entire city. Or it might be placed along the borders of a country to allow persistent surveillance of the borders.
Another highly technical interest is to pursue my patented Entomopter designs which involve tiny flying robots that are similar to flapping wing insects. Beyond the obvious military uses for an Entomopter, several NASA Research Centers have noted its unique ability to fly on the planet Mars. Prior work has shown these to be useful for interior surveillance of buildings here on Earth, or as a flying surveyor for use on Mars.
You created a prototype of the robotic insect. How did you create it? Could Flapping Robotic Insects Extend Range of Rover Missions?
The idea of the Entomopter came as a result of “Biological Inspiration”, as opposed to “Biomimetics”. Biomimetics is the mere copying of biological systems whereas Biological Inspiration looks at how things are done in creation, and then asks the question, “how can this biological feature be adapted to solve a problem in a way that can be manufactured?” In the case of insect wings, researchers have often blindly copied the motions of Dragon Fly wings only to find that it is presently impossible to make tiny muscles or motors to power them in flight. The Entomopter on the other hand, was designed around its power source from the beginning, and the “biological” flapping wings of the insects adapted to this power source in a very unusual way that is not found in nature, but which can be manufactured today.
What was NASA reflection for the invent?
NASA became intrigued with the Entomopter design because it has the potential to create abnormally high lift with its “circulation controlled” wings. The Entompter’s circulation controlled flapping wing can, in essence, move through the Mars atmosphere at several hundred kilometers per hour while the body moves slowly, so landing and slow surveillance is possible. The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts funded a $750,000 study to figure out how the Entomopter concept could be adapted to flight on Mars.
This study was successfully completed and then I retired, so the next chapter of the Entomopter has yet to be written.
According to official records, the first researcher that reached the peak of Mount Ağrı in an effort to discover Noah’s Ark was the German scientist Frederic Parrot on August 20, 1829. Parrot claimed that Noah’s Ark was on Mount Ağrı and went on his expedition with 7 friends; one Russian and 6 German. On his return he said he couldn’t find the Ark but had come across the traces of it.
In 1916 a Russian pilot, Vladimir Roskovski, said that he had seen a wrecked ship when he was flying over Ağrı and brought the issue back into public consciousness.
On September 11, 1959 Captain İlhami Durupınar also claimed that he had noticed a formation similar to Noah’s Ark when he was examining the photographs of Mount Ağrı taken from an altitude of 4000 – 4500 meters. One other person who climbed the Mountain in search of Noah’s Ark was James Irwin, one of the first astronauts that walked on the moon. Irwin and his friends made studies claiming that the Ark is on Mount Ağrı; however they were not able to get any substantial evidence for its existence. (Source: Bursa Olay Newspaper)
(October 2006, September 11 Special Issue/ 22nd)