July 13, 2017 11:26 PM


You’ve got to hand it to the Discovery Channel.

The network has found yet another way to push people out of their comfort zones — and this one is terrifying.

The network is unveiling Darkness, a survival show that plunges participants into the pitch black. Inspired by sensory-deprivation training used by NASA and Special Forces, the show is a grueling challenge of mental and physical survival.

Here’s how it goes down: three survivalists are trapped at different points inside underground cave systems for up to six days. Their goal is to find each other and then find their way out of the cave. If they don’t find their way out during the allotted time, they’re pulled from the adventure. Thanks to technological advances in videography, the participants are filmed using infrared cameras that emit no visible light — and are sometimes left alone with an infrared GoPro strapped to their bodies. 

Discovery Channel

Why does the show max out at six days? Because experts say that’s the maximum for sensory deprivation before the participants lose their minds. (Full disclosure: PEOPLE’s Steve Helling took on the Darkness challenge last month, and can confirm that it’s every bit as harrowing as it sounds. Video to come later.) 

Viewers will be given a sneak peek of the show on August 2 and 3, after two special episodes of Naked and Afraid that will push the participants’ limits in new and challenging ways.

For the first time ever on Naked and Afraid, two survivalists will be stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean. They will battle the elements in shark-infested waters. The network has provided few details about the experience, but it sounds horrific. We can’t wait to watch.

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Another Naked and Afraid episode will finally show the full adventures of two social media stars who survived in Belize earlier this year, which was partly shown in real time online. Pro surfer Anastasia Ashley made headlines after receiving thousands of bug bites during her adventure.

The special two-night doubleheader of Naked and Afraid and Darkness will air on Wednesday, August 2 and Thursday, August 3 at 9 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel.  In the meantime, viewers can connect with Darkness at the show’s Facebook Page

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