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Mars, 2099?

Mars, 2099?
Located at 2600 metres altitude, ESO’s Paranal Observatory sits in one of the driest and most desolate areas on Earth, in Chile’s Atacama Desert. (Image credit: Julien Girard)

On a cold dark night on Mars, in the middle of an arid desert, a narrow road lit by artificial lights winds its way up to a lonely human outpost on the top of an old mountain. Or at least, that’s what a science fiction fan might make of this almost unearthly view.The photograph actually shows ESO’s Paranal Observatory, home to the Very Large Telescope (VLT), on Earth. Located at 2600 metres altitude, ESO’s Paranal Observatory sits in one of the driest and most desolate areas on Earth, in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Nevertheless, it’s easy to imagine it as a future view of Mars, perhaps at the end of the century. Which is why Julien Girard, who took this photograph, calls it “Mars 2099”.

Space.com Staff
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