RT spoke to Sam Cossman who climbed into the active Marum volcano on Ambrym Island in the Pacific. His team came back with extensive footage and images, including stunning videos made from a special quadrocopter drone that hovered inside the volcano.
To make his descent into the volcano’s funnel, Sam Cossman, 33, wore a custom-made industrial heat suit that can sustain well over +1,600 °C. However, with the boiling rock and fiery temperatures, he could only manage a short time in Marum’s furnace.
“It’s very difficult to breathe and you are using a respirator to pull on as much oxygen as you can. You feel the ground kind of rumbling and you smell this sulphur,” Cossman told RT.
“You know that you have just a few minutes down at the bottom to kind of get it all: get your samples and do what you need to do down there,” Cossman said.
Marum is situated over a lava lake. A rare phenomenon, it’s estimated there are only up to seven of them around the world – in the Pacific, Africa, Antarctica and South America.
“I remember standing there, feeling just a sense of wonder and awe and – for a moment – how insignificant my life is in the grand scheme of things, in the cosmos,” he said.
“Life is short and I want to take advantage of it to the utmost of my ability,” Cossman added.
The crew consisted of volcanic explorer Brad Ambrose, videographer Conor Toumarkine, drone pilot Simon Jardine and astrobiologist Dr. Jeff Marlow.
The expedition collected samples near Marum’s lava lake, aiming to learn more about micro-organisms that colonize such extreme environments. This information is vital for a better understanding of the origins of life on Earth and in broader terms – on other planets.
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