If you've never had an up-close-and-personal encounter with an active volcano, consider yourself lucky. Molten lava that erupts from the Earth can reach a catastrophic temperature of 2140° F. These conditions make the inside of a volcano a rare sight, but thanks to the sacrifices of some unfortunate drones, you can get an intimate look at this destructive part of nature.
To capture this footage shared by National Geographic in 2015, tech explorer and filmmaker Sam Cossman brought drones outfitted with GoPros to the volatile Marum Crater in Vanuatu. He remotely piloted the devices closer to the volcano's lava lake than any human being can safely go. The extreme conditions turned out to be unsafe for machines as well: Two of Cossman's drones malfunctioned in the heat and fell into the volcano, but not before capturing some incredible, close-up footage of the opening.
The goal of the expedition was to create a new kind of 3D map showing the surface of a volcanic lava lake. Using his drone footage, Cossman was able to model the Marum Crater in an unprecedented level of detail. Camera-mounted drones can help scientists who study volcanoes research environments that are impossible to visit in person, but you don't need to be an expert to appreciate this incredible video.
After seeing what an active volcano looks like up close, read up on these tips for escaping a volcanic eruption in real life.
[h/t National Geographic]