NASA's thermal infrared imaging has been used to discover hundreds of miles of ancient roads and footpaths providing valuable information to archeologists. These roads were discovered through measurements of slight temperature differences near the ground. The oldest footpaths ever found, dating to about 500 BC in Costa Rica, were discovered by an orbiting satellite with infrared sensors. These footpaths were detected underneath the thick canopy of jungle vegetation. Over 200 miles of roads were found at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico dating from 900 to 1000 AD, in addition to the signatures of a prehistoric settlement - buildings, walls, and agricultural fields.

Infrared map of ancient roads
in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

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