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Valley of the Moon, Chile, 2003

Photo: Tourists run down sand dune

Tourists career down a mountainous sand dune in the aptly named Valley of the Moon region of Chile's Atacama Desert.

This stark landscape between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is considered the driest place on Earth, and some areas here have not received a drop of rain in hundreds of years. The terrain is so arid and forbidding, scientists came here to test the prototype for a rover destined for Mars.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "The Driest Place on Earth," August 2003, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Joel Sartore

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