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The tech behind the Thailand cave rescue

As of this writing, eight boys have been rescued from Tham Luang cave, and—in addition to some amazingly brave humans—there is some technology to thank.

Some background: A missing soccer team and its coach were found nine days after they were stranded in a flooded cave system, about 2.5 miles from the entrance. A rescue mission has been under way ever since.

Thanks, but no thanks: Although SpaceX CEO Elon Musk offered the services of his rocket company to create a submarine for the boys, rains steadily worsened the situation, and seasoned cave divers had to work quickly.

The tech: Drones, zoom lenses, and thermal cameras were used to create the first 3-D aerial map of the region and scout for cave access points. Powerful handheld radios have allowed the rescuers to communicate with the soccer team from long distances despite a lack of radio infrastructure in the area.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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