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Another World

A journey through South West Bolivia

Story by everything's a photo October 1st, 2014

Life on Mars

In 2003, in a project funded by NASA, SETI and National Geographic, a team of scientists from NASA arrived in south west Bolivia/Chile to explore what life is able to exist in such an extreme environment as it the best Earth-based analog for conditions on Mars billions of years ago.

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Travelling through this landscape is like entering another world.

Huge deserts filled with surreal volcanic rock formations, lakes change colour through the day as the minerals and arsenic in them get whipped up by the desert winds, fields of smoking geysers spit boiling mud.

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Shades of red, green, blue and white fill the lagunas, and herds of flamingos, llamas and vicuñas are the only visible lifeforms in this otherworldly landscape.

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Vast salt flats peppered with coral islands, ghost towns and old borax mines and volcanoes shrouded in mystal cloud formations.

The salt flats are used to calibrate the distance measuring tools of satellites as the they are so large, flat and reflective.

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The remains of times past, old railway engines, bogeys and coaches are left abandoned near Uyuni.

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Uyuni, Potosi Department, Bolivia