Drone Vs. The Volcano

A descent into one of the most dangerous and remarkable places on earth reminded Sam Cossman that life’s too short not to spend it pursuing his passion for adventure full time.

In this film he joins a team of cross disciplinary experts, including videographer Conor Toumarkine, drone pioneer Simon Jardine, volcanic explorer Brad Ambrose, and PhD astrobiologist, Jeff Marlow 1200 feet to the depths of Vanuatu’s Marum crater while leveraging technology to advance the scientific goals of his expedition.

In partnership with DJI and Pix4d, they surveyed and mapped the crater to scale, generating the first-of-its-kind 3d rendering of the world’s most active and inaccessible lava lake.

In partnership with Sensum and Wearable World, Sam wore a hardware device that used lie detector technology to record his emotional response. The data visualized a biometric thumbnail that depicts the physiological and psychological affects of his experience.

Time zero (red-hot) lava samples were collected with the goal of better understanding how microbial life colonizes newly formed earth and will help to inform how life could exist in other extreme environments on our planet and beyond. Samples were also taken for analog testing of the recently selected Mars 2020 mission rover instrument, SHERLOC which will be used to search for signs of past life on Mars. In order to approach the 2000 F degree lava for sampling, Sam wore a custom proximity heat suit made by thermal apparel pioneer, NEWTEX, designed to withstand radiant temperatures of up to 3000 degrees F.