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10 places on Earth that resemble alien planets

By: Bryan Nelson on March 1, 2013, 1:03 p.m.
Atacama Desert, Chile

Photo: Danielle Pereira/Flickr

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Atacama Desert, Chile

In the parched shadow of the Andes mountain range sits Chile's Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. This desolate landscape is freckled with stubborn salt lakes, sand dunes and lava flows, and is an ideal analogue for Mars. The fact that life can still be found here makes it an important location for studying how life might also have survived in the arid soils of the Red Planet.

In fact, rovers have been tested in Atacama to see if their instruments can detect the microbial life that exists there, before they are rocketed off to Mars.