Now that modern technology has mapped practically every inch of the planet’s surface, explorers are searching for new places to discover. While Mars mapping might be somewhere in the future, there are still plenty of places left on our home planet to explore. Using high-tech laser scanners, explorers have begun mapping the vast world underneath the Earth’s surface – and one of the most exciting discoveries to-date is a giant underground cave chamber that is so large, you could fit four Great Pyramids inside.
Called the Miao Room, the giant cave sits in the mountains of Southern China. Discovered in 2001, researchers were finally able to map and measure the cave in 2013 and they discovered that the underground room takes up an astonishing 380.7 million cubic feet.
Mapping the cave was no easy task. If you shine a light in the interior, the typical flashlight beam will fade before hitting a wall or ceiling. And, presumably, crawling around with a measuring tape wasn’t exactly a reasonable option. So scientists used a 3D laser scanner – which measures the amount of time it takes for the beam to be reflected back to the unit – to measure the cave.
The project was taken on by National Geographic and images of the cave appear in the July issue of the magazine. The National Geographic website for the project includes a virtual tour of the cave, revealing a space so large that you could land a jet inside.