While this isn't something that one would intentionally flop onto the the couch and start doing, the idea of being able to actually read the famous Dead Sea Scrolls without having to wear white gloves and live in a clean room does seem pretty cool.
Well if the collaboration of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google works out you may just be able to do that from the comfort of your couch after all. It turns out that the Google research center in Israel will be assisting the IAA labs by digitizing high resolution scans of the Scrolls that have been created using NASA's multi-spectral imaging technology.
In a statement the IAA emphasized the preservationist aspect of the project as much as the informational.Nothing better than a quiet evening of light reading eh."The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations."The IAA and Google did a pilot project to test the viability of this undertaking in 2008. The first of the new scans should be available within the next couple of months. The project's estimated cost is $3.5 million.