Infrared imaging has been used to gather new information about historical
objects and to help in their
preservation and restoration. In 1993, a JPL
researcher used infrared photography to reveal previously invisible details
on fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1998, a NASA infrared camera was
used to assist the Smithsonian Institution in
preserving the Star-Spangled Banner.
This early version of the American flag flew over Fort McHenry in
1812, and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the U.S. national
Infrared imaging is routinely used in
art conservation activities, and in the
authentication and dating of artwork. Infrared technology is used to reveal
underpaintings (images painted under paintings) by famous artists of the
past, as well as to detect the faded pigments in ancient rock paintings.