By Kate Seamons
As Gizmodo reports, CORONA served as the code name for America's first use of photographic spy satellites, and was in operation from 1960 to 1972.
Archaeologist Jesse Casana of the University of Arkansas describes some of the sites as "gigantic," with two sprawling over more than 123 acres; Casana suspects the largest, which appear to include aged walls and citadels, were Bronze Age cities.
And as he explains, the photos' age matters. Though current satellites produce images superior to these grainy decades-old ones, "we can't see a site that someone has covered up with a building," and the fact that they were taken before cities like Iraq's Mosul and Jordan's Amman swelled makes them invaluable.
The CORONA site explains that the mission's satellites snapped images "of most of the Earth’s surface" (images whose film strips were, in a great detail noted by National Geographic, sent back to Earth via parachute-topped buckets) and archaeologists plan to also review areas like Africa and China.