Ethereal images from the Mars rover Perseverance have lit up the internet ever since NASA’s latest high-tech robot landed on the Red Planet on February 18. The photos, released on NASA’s website, depict a desiccated landscape of lifeless orange-brown soil with rugged, rocky hills snaking across the horizon.
Though decidedly otherworldly, there’s also something strikingly familiar about them. Perhaps that’s because the images look a lot like a place back here on Earth — a remote desert in Chile that NASA itself has dedicated time and money to exploring.
With Chile vaccinating its population faster than anywhere else in the Americas (including the United States), the otherworldly Atacama will likely be one of the first places in the region to welcome back international visitors. So, if those dramatic images from Perseverance have piqued new interest in Mars, the next best thing may only be an earthly flight away.
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