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Watch a Drone Explore the World’s Largest Cave

Vietnam’s Son Doong cave is a magnificent not-so-microcosm

smithsonian.com

More than five miles long and 660 feet high, Vietnam’s Son Doong cave is the largest in the world. Though it is thought to be between two and five million years old, it’s relatively new to the world of caves: the entrance was discovered in 2009, and it’s only been open for tours since 2013. Now, a spelunker with a drone has plumbed the depths of this underground behemoth—and discovered an incredible world within.

The Washington Post reports that when Ryan Deboodt set out to document the inside of the gigantic cave, he wasn’t just out for a spelunking spree. In fact, Deboodt wanted to capture images of the untouched cave before it’s opened up to cable cars. (That project has since been put on hold.)

Cable car or no, the cave is otherworldly to say the least. As the Post reports, “this is less a sightseeing stop than a unique environment”—one that contains extensive plant life, rivers, natural skylights and an entire microclimate of its own.

Deboodt’s spectacular drone footage comes on the heels of an announcement that the days of drone videos could be numbered (on YouTube, at least). Mashable reports that in the United States, the FAA has been challenging drone videos recorded by hobbyists who make revenues off of YouTube ads—a policy that could make it harder to capture and share videos like these.

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