Explorers send drones on suicide missions to capture incredible volcano footage

Filmmakers using drones to film the active volcano in Vanuatu kept losing their remotely-controlled vehicles, either from being swallowed in the molten lave or from being damaged by the extreme temperatures. But fortunately, they were able to get some incredible footage in the meantime.

“It’s a glimpse into the center of the Earth,” said Sam Cossman, who was a filmmaker on the project. “It’s like listening to the heartbeat of the planet.”

From IFLS:

Marum crater is a 7.5-mile-wide caldera in Ambrym, a volcanic island in the archipelago of Vanuatu, with poisonous chlorine and sulfur gases that rise from its vent. The large volcanic crater made news last September when a daredevil donned a protective suit and rappelled as close as he could to the churning lake of lava.

However, the purpose of this particular mission was to investigate how quickly microbial colonization happens on nearby rocks. “The instant the rock cools to below about 120 degrees Celsius, it’s considered an inhabitable environment,” said Jeffrey Marlow, a geobiologist from California Institute of Technology, who participated in the study. “Getting a handle on how microbes colonize this particular substrate is a good example of what will happen across the planet and has happened across the planet throughout geological time.”

Watch the amazing footage in the video below, via National Geographic:

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