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updated 4/19/2004 12:07:01 PM ET 2004-04-19T16:07:01

A National Geographic-sponsored team of storm chasers and photographers manages to position an armored device with cameras inside a tornado near Manchester, South Dakota in an effort to measure the inside of one of nature’s worst nightmares. Airs October 12, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET.

In "Inside the Tornado," a National Geographic-sponsored team of storm chasers and photographers manages to position an armored device with cameras in the direct path of a tornado near Manchester, South Dakota. The device, a turtle-like contraption, is blown away within seconds of the tornado hitting.

Tim Samaras, whose research is supported by National Geographic, drops special instrumented probes into the path of a frighteningly close oncoming tornado. In 15 years of research, Samaras has never been so close to a tornado, which hit one of his probes 70 seconds after he positioned it. The probe recorded an astounding 100 millibar pressure drop, the largest ever recorded. The tornado went on to destroy a two-story farmhouse only 40 feet away.

The tornado that hit the probe and destroyed the community of Manchester, South Dakota, was rated F-4, with wind speeds up to 260 miles per hour, by the National Weather Service in Sioux City, South Dakota.

As the team retreated north from the tornado, National Geographic photographer Carsten Peter deployed a custom-built camera probe directly in the path of the destructive tornado. Afterwards, the remains of National Geographic’s probe were retrieved nearly 450 feet away. All the device’s glass ports were smashed and the camera inside was ruined.

See the dramatic story of science in the field and the extraordinary results of Samaras’ passionate pursuit of tornado science. National Geographic Ultimate Explorer host Lisa Ling interviews Samaras to get the inside story of measuring the inside of one of nature’s worst nightmares.

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