There Isn't Much In The Way Of A Plan B If Something Goes Wrong
According to Human Rights Watch, Turkmenistan "remains one of the world's most repressive countries. The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal."
So there were a lot of conditional requirements to get permission from the government to perform research at the crater. Kourounis had to give a lecture at a nearby university. The producer had to give a presentation at the national television broadcaster. Oh, and they later found out that one of their drivers was secret police, and they were constantly being watched at Darvaza. "You'd walk away from the crater to use the desert ... facilities, and you'd see a pickup or SUV on a distant sand dune," says Kourounis. "And people would be standing there with binoculars, just watching you."
Under the careful eye of a government that surely wasn't worried the Devil himself would emerge from the pit leading an army of demons to take over the Earth, Kourounis' team made their preparations.