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Elon Musk brings mini-sub to cave

This photo by Elon Musk shows the inside of the operation area of the rescue of the Mae Sai football team.

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American space entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted that he visited the Tham Luang cave operation on Monday and Tuesday morning, and left behind a prototype mini-sub "in case it is useful" at the flooded cave where five members of a youth football team remained trapped.

"Just returned from Cave 3," Musk said.

"Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids' soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future."

On Instagram, he published video of a flooded cave, with rescuers.

Cave Three is about two kilometres from the entrance of the cave network and is the base for rescuers.

The footballers still awaiting rescue are about another two kilometres further in, at a point very difficult to access.

There is no indication so far that Thai rescuers plan to use Musk's prototype.

Musk called it "basically a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of (a) Falcon rocket as hull."

He said it was light enough to be carried by two divers, robust, and small enough to get through narrow gaps.

The person inside need not swim or know how to use oxygen bottles.

He posted video of divers escorting the pod during testing in a Los Angeles swimming pool.

Last week, Musk said he was sending teams to Thailand from his private space exploration firm, SpaceX, and engineering firm, Boring Co. which is developing tunneling systems for transport projects.

While offering the mini-submarine as a potential savior, Musk used the opportunity to promote space exploration. He is also co-founder of the Tesla electric car company.

The Thai soccer team ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago.

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Vocabulary:

base (noun): a place from where an activity can be planned or controlled - ฐาน, ฐานที่มั่น

hull (noun): the main, bottom part of a ship, that goes in the water - ตัวเรือ, ลำเรือ

indication : a sign that something happened, is true or exists - เครื่องบ่งชี้

pod (noun): part of a spacecraft, boat or other transport vehicle that can be separated from the main part - ห้องที่แยกออกได้จากยานอวกาศหรือเครื่องบิน

prototype (noun): a copy or version of a product made before it is produced in large quantities to show it to people - ต้นแบบ, ชิ้นงานที่สร้างขึ้นเป็นแบบฉบับเพื่อสร้างชิ้นงานอื่นให้มีลักษณะเดียวกัน มีรูปทรง ขนาดสัดส่วน โครงสร้างที่แสดงรายละเอียด สามารถใช้งานได้ตามที่ออกแบบไว้ทุกประการ วัสดุที่นำมาสร้างต้นแบบอาจเป็นวัสดุที่ใช้จริง หรือวัสดุทดแทนก็ได้

robust : strong and full of determination - แข็งแรง

rocket (noun): a vehicle shaped like a tube that travels very fast up into the air and space - จรวด, เครื่องยนต์จรวด, ขีปนาวุธหรือยานอวกาศที่ขับเคลื่อนด้วยจรวด, พลุ, พลุสัญญาณ, ดอกไม้ไฟ

submarine : a ship that can travel underwater - เรือดำน้ำ

venture : to go somewhere, especially somewhere that is unpleasant, dangerous or exciting - เสี่ยงภัย ผจญภัย

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