On Assignment

ON ASSIGNMENT: The Last Best Place On Earth

On Assignment: The Last Best Place On Earth 9:54
On Assignment: One More Thing - The Last Best Place On Earth 2:46

Harry Smith takes us to a Pacific island so protected and pristine that TV news cameras have never been there and so fragile that he and his team had to rid their clothes of invasive microbes by sealing and freezing them before setting foot on its shores. It’s called Palmyra, it’s in the Pacific a thousand miles from Hawaii.

It's is a living laboratory that showcases how life blossoms when man’s influence is kept at bay. Harry and his cameras dive right in, exploring threatened coral reefs, documenting rare creatures and sealife, and meeting the scientists who hope the secrets they find there will help heal the earth.

You can see the full Sunday, May 15th 'On Assignment' report here.

Online Video Exclusives from 'The Last Best Place On Earth'
The Last Best Place on Earth: Arriving to Palmyra Atoll 0:40
The Last Best Place on Earth: The Coconut Crab 0:45
The Last Best Place on Earth: In order to go, you have to freeze your clothes 1:07
Behind the Scenes Photos from 'The Last Best Place On Earth'
The number changes on the welcome sign when someone arrives or leaves. Palmyra's population more than quadrupled when our team arrived, growing from 4 to 17. NBC News
NBC News
"This is so beautiful. It's almost beyond your imagination," says Harry Smith, as he dives in the Palmyra Atoll waters. NBC News
The 'On Assignment' crew works to get the shot on the rocky waves in the West Lagoon of Palmyra. NBC News
Stephanie Wear, a senior scientist with the Nature Conservancy tells Harry Smith that Palmyra is a unique place to research coral reefs because you can count its population with one hand. "It's got a population of four," says Wear. "There are very few places in the world that you can access to study coral reefs where you can really minimize human impacts." NBC News
Alex Wegmann, the Palmyra Director with the Nature Conservancy, guides the On Assignment team by boat to get a rare look at the native birds. NBC News
The crew prepares for Harry Smith's scuba dive in the pristine waters of the Palmyra Atoll. We needed an underwater camera and audio specialist to get the highest quality glimpse of the underwater world. NBC News
Harry Smith diving in the Palmyra Atoll waters. NBC News