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Strange as it may seem, archaeologists often look to the sky to discover sites buried deep beneath the earth. Space archaeology, as it’s called, refers to the use of high-resolution satellite imaging and lasers to map and model archaeological ruins. TED Fellow Sarah Parcak makes extensive use of this technology in her work. She explains why it’s so useful.

Color infrared imagery of a gold mine in western Turkey taken by SkySat-1 on December 25, 2013. Photograph courtesy of SkyBox Imaging.

The team behind the SkySat-1 satellite is combining technologies from a half-dozen consumer products to upend the insular business of satellite imagery. Google just snapped up the firm for $500 million.