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What the Heck Is This?

This one might baffle you, but one hint will help a lot:

It's a shot from above.

The image, taken by astronauts, is of crescent-shaped sand dunes alternating with salt flats called sabkhas.

The setup, in Oman, has lots of names, according to NASA. It is known as the Ar Rub’ al Khali, or the Empty quarter. It's also referred to as a sand sea.

The dunes are oriented at right angles to northwesterly trade winds, called the Shamal winds, that originate in Iraq.

The image was taken May 16, 2011 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Got a strange or interesting photo related to science, nature or technology? What the Heck, send it to meand maybe I'll use it. And you follow me on Twitteror Facebook.

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as Space.com and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.