Who are we? Where do we come from, and what happens after we leave this Earth?

These are age-old questions that have been asked time and time again as explorers unravel how people from ancient times lived and various unsolved mysteries that have persisted over the passage of time.

Dr Albert LinNational Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Dr Albert Lin did more than just ask crucial questions about the world we lived in, he acted upon them with an arsenal of technical expertise in materials sciences, engineering, digital media and an additional boost from word of mouth.

Dr Lin took a keen interest in the last untold story behind the great conquerer and ruler Genghis Khan’s last resting place, and the rest was history. He utilized cutting edge technology like satellite imaging and other non invasive methods to comb the entire Mongolia area, with the help of the masses, in hopes of confirming (or debunking) rumours of forbidden lands, royal guards, curses and other speculations surrounding Genghis Khan’s death and burial.

The use of digital media by Dr Lin and his team to perform massive satellite data analytics through crowd sourcing has also been adopted for emergency response situations, such as the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane M370 that had disappeared in the air in 2014.


Could you tell us more about the technology used in your exploration? How would technology change the way future exploration efforts are done and our perception of the world we live in?

I often say we are just now entering the new age of exploration. Just think about the power of the data on your phone, you can teleport yourself to anywhere in the world at a resolution of about 0.3 meters/pixel. That’s just crazy. If we can find innovative ways to sift through all that data, the greatest secrets of our planet are waiting for us.

What is one place you hope you can explore with the technology and equipment you have?

The world is big…


Could you show us what Mongolia means to you by using a picture from your travels in the country?


Mongolia, in the countryside, feels like a place where you can actually feel the roots of who we are.

What or who motivated you to embark on the search for the tomb of Genghis Khan?

To find a bit of myself, I guess.


What are your views about the MH370 tragedy, and the subsequent influence that your massive satellite data analytics technology had the search of the missing aircraft?

The platform we created for Genghis Khan, also known as Tomnod, was utilized in this search for the MH370 plane. This enabled over 8 million people sift through over 1 million square kilometers of satellite imagery in a weekend. What I realized is that we as humans don’t want to be observers, we want to take action and this is what I think will drive the evolution of crowd sourcing towards increasingly powerful, action oriented and massively collaborative efforts.


What is the key thing you’ve learnt from your exploration, especially to uncharted places?

Always bring Tabasco sauce – just joking! Honestly, I have repeatedly been surprised at how my limitations in imagination have been blown away by reality. The world is more diverse and beautiful than I could predict, and every single journey has confirmed that.

What advice do you have for some of our readers who may be hesitant to pursue their dreams in fear of failure or from societal pressure to pursue careers that pay the bills?

Well, everyone has their own situations, responsibilities, etc. But for me, whenever faced with a decision, I have always chosen the more adventurous of options, and it has never failed me. Risk is risk, but life is more beautiful in a dynamic state. If you know what you are passionate about, even if it sounds ridiculous at first, you are luckier than most and that self knowledge is not to be wasted.

What can the Singapore audience expect from your Nat Geo Live talk on 30 August?

A reminder that we are actually JUST NOW entering into the great age of exploration!

Get your tickets at https://www.esplanade.com/events/2016/chasing-ancient-mysteries-with-albert-lin. For more information, follow www.facebook.com/NatGeoLive and www.twitter.com/NatGeoLive!


  • Date and time: 30 August 2016 (Tuesday), 7:30pm
  • Venue: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Concert Hall
  • Ticketing details: Tickets are priced from $39*