Can you guess where this video was taken?
Looks like countless desert landscapes around the world, doesn't it? To those who attend Burning Man, the dust devils and distant mountains may seem familiar, but this is not the Black Rock Desert.
Click here to reveal the answer.

Well, it may look familiar, but it's not of this world: these images were taken on Gusev Crater on the planet Mars by Spirit Rover. Images are courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech; I enhanced the color, compressed the horizontal scale, and from the still shots, assembled the animation you see.

All the photos returned from Mars are astounding, but somehow, seeing this series in motion really impressed me with a sense of familiarity. As I looked at the still images, I recognized a landscape similar to others I have walked through, but in watching the animation, I can identify with this landscape's very character as determined by its behavior. I have walked deserts in the American Southwest and have watched dust devils slip quietly past me (e.g. see below). Seeing the same weather phenomenon on another world connects me in a subconscious way to a place I'm not likely to visit, but for which I now have a curious empathy.

Dust Devil at Burning Man

Copyright © 2004 - 2011 Brian Zegarski, all rights reserved.