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Credit: Clara Moskowitz
The driest place in the world, Chile's Atacama Desert, certainly feels it. The air is so dry lips chap and skin cracks easily. But the climate is soothing too, with almost no humidity and occasional refreshing breezes.
In March 2013 I was lucky enough to travel to the Atacama for the inauguration of the ALMA telescope (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) a new collection of 66 astronomical radio dishes on a trip sponsored by the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
In addition to the cosmic splendor of the observatory, I relished the desert experience, and soaked up as much as I could of the otherworldly atmosphere of the Atacama. My desert journey began in the northern Chilean mining town of Calama, where I flew in from the capital Santiago.