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October 03, 2005

Arturito – Scan Artist or Scam Artist?

I’ve spent some time puzzling over how, exactly, Arturito is supposed to work. He’s been described as everything from "40 years ahead of his time" to a "metal detector strapped to a Roomba". Various articles indicate that he uses an "antiplasma reactor", Sonar, Radar, Gamma Rays, Ground Penetrating Radar, GeoRadar, or just a glorified metal detector.

This is not a trivial question, as it is imperative to know what technology is used by the rover to verify the veracity of their claims. For instance, it’s highly doubtful that a ground penetrating radar system would function effectively, if the sensors are three inches off the ground, cushioned by a set of rubber tires.

Finally, OhMyNews provides some fairly explicit notes on how the rover functions:

European scientists have claimed that "Arturito" is 40 years ahead of its time since it works by scanning using atomic gamma rays.

"It scans horizontally and if the signals match the data stored in its computer, it will let us know immediately. Until now I have built six models," added Salinas.

So, let's focus on this for a minute. The claim appears to be that it scans horizontally using atomic gamma rays. So, I did some research on this claim. I wanted to know the following:

1) Is it possible to generate gamma rays from a little rover the size of a foot stool?
2) Could you build Arturito with parts off the shelf, or would you need to travel into the future to get the necessary technology?
3) Can Gamma Rays penetrate down into 50 feet of earth and then reflect to the surface and return any meaningful data?

1) Apparently gamma rays and X-rays overlap for a piece of the electromagnetic spectrum. And, he didn't specificially say what wavelength he was dealing with. But, let's assume that it's either an X-ray or a Gamma ray. As it turns out, they're using X-ray and Gamma Rays to extend the shelf life of food in many areas. They're using Cobalt 60(Co-60) and Cesium 137(Cs-137) to generate gamma rays for irradiating food. This is fairly old technology, as it turns out. Gamma rays are also used for diagnostic purposes in nuclear medicine. Several gamma-emitting radioisotopes are used, one of which is technetium-99m. So, in theory, a rover the size of a bread box could indeed beam out gamma rays if it had the correct radioactive isotopes on board.

2) On Mars, the Pathfinder rover used an Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer(APXS) to measure the composition of 9 rocks. In situ gamma-ray spectroscopy appears to be a fairly standard way of analyzing the elements in the sub surface soil to determine ratioactive contamination. So, apparently the technology exists, and, in theory, you wouldn't need to be a time traveler to acquire the technology.

3) Could a gamma ray or an x-ray penetrate through 50 feet of Earth, strike an object, and then be reflect up through 50 feet of earth and return any meaningful data about the object it struck? This is where it gets tricky. The APXS sensor on the Mars Pathfinder had to be placed directly onto the rock to get a reading. Even then, if it was set to X-Ray, it could only detect iron up to 100 micrometers(less than 4 inches) inside the rock. This is WAY short of the 15 meter depth that Arturito claims to have penetrated.

Carbon Sequestration studies measure subterranean carbon quantities using a system for non-destructive in situ carbon monitoring in the soil, based on Inelastic Neutron Scattering (INS). The system can be operated in stationary or scanning mode and measures soil to depth of approximately 30 cm.

The following legitimate geophysical methods and instruments are in use in the service of archaeology today:

I've not seen anything to tell me that it's possible to beam gamma ray 50 feet under ground. Like, I'd be willing to argue that, if they have something in that robot that's beaming energy that can travel through 100 feet of Earth, then they'd be safer standing at Ground Zero in Chernobyl. So, this is still an open issue to me. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I don't see anything telling me that it can be done either.

Open Questions for Arturito:
So, my questions now are:

Someone tell me what I'm missing. I'm not saying Arturito is a fraud. I personally doubt that it is. I believe...I want to believe...that he's the genuine article. That he's the real deal. Someone help me out here by posting comments.

Read my previous post on the story. It's the most comprehensive posting on the Robinson Crusoe Treasure on the internet.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 03, 2005 at 09:19 PM


I do not believe anything published on Arturito, which is not to say that it's all lies, just that none is reliable and some appears dubious at best.

For example, the headline 'Robot Arturito Finds 10 Billion Dollar Treasure on Island' is patently untrue.

The BBC reports: "But Wagner's discovery claims have been given credibility by the reputation of their sophisticated ground scanning robot which has already solved crime mysteries in Chile."

But how true is this? The news release claims:

"First, the robot detected the buried arsenal of a rightwing sect known as Colonia Dignidad. The guns and rocket launchers were buried at some 10 metres and while the authorities had searched for years, the robot found the buried weapons almost instantly. Then, in the case of missing businessman Jose Yuraszeck, Arturito was able to analyse the soil and identify the molecular composition of human bones, allowing investigators to dig straight to the body of the murder victim."

But as your own site says; "In the case of Yuraszeck, an official confirmed the participation of Arturito in finding the victim, affirming that 'it served to corroborate the site that already we had located'."

That's right - had already located. Not quite the same thing. Sounds like spin, to me.

The one element needed to realise what this story is really about is motive - which in treasure hunting is usually to defraud investors. Do we have this here? Yes: millions of dollars are being sought from investors. That says it all, really - just another treasure-hunting scam.

Posted by: John Bartram on October 05, 2005 at 04:50 AM

their sophisticated ground scanning robot which has already solved crime mysteries in Chile.

And we would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for that meddling robot!

Posted by: Colonia Dignidad on October 05, 2005 at 08:28 AM

If you see it, pull the plug :)

BTW The story just died a death - the company met the government today and announced that it had given up the hunt, saying that getting the $10 billion out of the ground was too difficult.

They really do think we're all as stupid as they are.

Posted by: John Bartram on October 05, 2005 at 04:28 PM

I've been on first public exposition about the technology of Arturito, by its inventor.


Conclusion: a big fraud.

Posted by: Carlos Y. on October 13, 2005 at 08:50 PM

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