Thursday, July 25, 2013

'Star Wars' Just Made A Contribution To Science

New geological research got an assist from Google Earth ... and Tatooine.  

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Just northwest of Tozeur, Tunisia, lays a barren stretch of desert that's home to great swaths of sand and not much else. As the wind whips its way through that sand, it gives rise to large, crescent-shaped structures known as barchans. Barchans are something like movable mountains: they tend to migrate in the same direction as the desert winds, going, literally, where the wind takes them. Which has made them something of an enigma to scientists: How do you measure the movement of sand upon sand upon sand? How do you know how far the barchans are traveling when it's so hard to tell where the mounds end and the ground begins? 

Enter George Lucas. Because the land just northwest of Tozeur, Tunisia, it turns out, is also home to the set that served as the backdrop for Mos Espa, the early home of the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. And the site, according to a collective of scientists who have researched the matter, "now lies between the arms of a large 'pudgy' barchan dune."

For the rest of the story: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/may-the-force-be-nerdy-i-star-wars-i-just-made-a-contribution-to-science/278015/

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