Exploring The World’s Largest Cave (VIDEO)

In the video above, veteran photographer and National Geographic award winner Carsten Peter talks about exploring and photographing Vietnam‘s underworld inside the Sơn Đoòng cave, which is inside the country’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, close to the Laos border.

The cave was discovered in 1991 by a local man named Hồ-Khanh, but locals were afraid of the cave because of a whistling sound a large, fast-flowing subterranean river made. According to Yahoo.com, it wasn’t until 2009 that a group of scientists from the British Cave Research Association conducted a survey of the cave, finding it is five times larger than the Phong Nha cave, which was previously thought to be the largest in Vietnam. Sơn Đoòng also beat Malaysia’s Deer Cave for the title of the world’s largest cave. Some news outlets have reported that in spots, the cave is large enough to hold a skyscraper. Amazingly, the explorers have just scratched the surface, and still don’t know all that lies in the cave’s depths.

Peter, who returned to the cave with husband-and-wife team Howard and Deb Limpert, who conducted the first expedition, captured many incredible images in depths of the cave and surrounding area. In his talk, Peter quotes Howard Limbert, who said, “to find a giant cave like [Sơn Đoòng] in Vietnam is [like finding] a previously unknown Mount Everest.” See it for yourself in the video above and on the National Geographic website.

Introducing The 2013 National Geographic Adventurers Of The Year

Felix Baumgartner is a Natational Geographic Adventurer of the YearYesterday National Geographic introduced their selections for the 2013 Adventurers of the Year, doling out the honor to some of the most daring – not to mention fascinating – people on the planet. As always with these awards, the recipients are people who routinely push themselves to the limit while attempting things that most of us would never even dream of.

Probably the best-known person on the list is skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who became a household name when he made an historic leap from the edge of space a few weeks back. But Felix isn’t the only adventurer who is pushing the limits of human endurance. He’s joined on the list of winners by Lizzy Hawker, an ultra-running legend who routinely competes in, and wins, races that are 100-miles in length or more. Shannon Galpin earns a spot amongst the winners for her humanitarian efforts with the Streets of Afghanistan project, while kayaker Steve House completed a life-long dream by running the biggest rapids in the world along the Congo River. The rest of list consists of climbers, skiers, snowboarders, surfers and other outdoor athletes who all had amazing experiences throughout 2012.

As in previous years, Nat Geo would like to hear from us as to who we feel is the most impressive amongst this group of candidates. To that end, they’ve launched a website that allows us to vote for who we think is the most deserving person to be named the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year. Voting runs from now until January 16, 2013, with the winner being announced in February. Unlike that other impending election, however, we get to vote once per day between now and then.

Congratulations to these inspiring and amazing men and women. What an incredible honor.

[Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]

Faster-Than-Light Travel May Be Possible

faster than light

Faster-than-light travel was once seen as simply a key element in science fiction tales that made stories work. Faster-than-light warp drive made all that possible, at least between the covers of a good sci-fi book. In the real world though, travel to distant planets at speeds known to man, was thought to be impractical. Now, NASA is re-thinking warp drive with a focus on making fantasy into reality.

“Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed the first warp drive in 1994, but found that the energy costs associated with such a device would be problematic,” says Zach Walton in WebProNews. “In fact, scientists peg the energy required to be about equal to the mass-energy of Jupiter.” Way too much.Checking in with NASA on the idea, a new space ship design from Harold White at NASA’s Johnson Space Center might be the answer. “The original warp drive was envisioned as a small ship that’s encircled by a flat ring that would warp space-time around the ship,” says Walton. The new design would be more like a donut and, if proven true, could lead to faster-than-light travel.

A trip to Mars in minutes? Exploration of the solar system? All in line with this video from National Geographic on the colonization of Mars.

[Flickr photo by Sweetie187]

Travel Like The President? New Series Shows How

Travel Like

The Travel Channel kicks off its newest series of specials called “Travel Like…” next month to
take us behind the scenes with “Travel Like a President,” hosted by NBC’s Peter Alexander.

Going along for the ride on Air Force One and beyond, the hour-long special shows us what it takes to keep the commander in chief on track with a demanding travel schedule.

“We are excited about the ‘Travel Like…’ umbrella series as we will have the opportunity to explore and share many unique travel experiences from a fresh and unexpected perspective,” said Andy Singer, General Manager, Travel Channel in a Broadway World article.

“Our first special, ‘Travel Like a President,’ is designed to give viewers an all-access, unprecedented look at the enormous level of detail and thought that comes with the territory when you are the leader of the free world,” said Singer. “It’s meant to be informative yet entertaining … and perhaps inspire our viewers to embark on their very own presidential trip.”

Future specials in development include working titles such as, “Travel Like an Icon” and “Travel Like a Movie Star,” which will look at travel through the eyes of celebrities, rock musicians, actors and personalities, sharing their own stories of travel along with memories from the road.

“Travel Like A President” premieres on the Travel Channel Tuesday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT

… or you could watch this hour-long YouTube video from our friends at National Geographic, “Inside: Air Force One.”

[Flickr photo by Aram K]

National Geographic has untold cruise disaster stories

National GeographicA new National Geographic special coming up on Sunday, February 12 is promising to answer a whole lot of questions about the grounding of the Costa Concordia last month. Featuring first-hand accounts of American survivors who share their own home video, Nat Geo will present Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories.

How did the ship sink? Could it have been prevented? Why weren’t the passengers warned earlier? What are the similarities to and differences from the Titanic?” asks and answers NatGeo in the special episode Sunday night.

Costa Concordia was carrying more than 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew, including Americans Sameer and Divya Sharma from Massachusetts and 18-year-old Amanda Warrick who was traveling with her older brothers. On Friday the 13th, while the Sharmas shrug off any bad luck, the Warrick siblings toss out the idea that “something’s gonna happen.”

Soon, the ship detoured off course and hit the rocks. Amanda describes the immediate impact, telling NatGeo, “At first there was a tilt and a shake of the ship, that’s when tables and glasses started crashing. I was kind of in shock, I remember immediately standing up and looking at my brothers. I was just kind of speechless and silent.”

Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories includes in-depth stories from passengers and staff on board as well as Coast Guard rescuers with home video, some never before seen on U.S. television, and reconstruction of the sinking of the Costa Concordia as it happened.The hour-long program starts at 7PM ET/PT Sunday, February 12, rebroadcast February 13, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Ship's Glass Ceiling Blowing in Fierce Winds

Flickr photo by EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection