We've made huge strides towards finding exoplanets and surveying the other worlds in our solar system recently — but most of us will never know what it's like to stand on another soil, especially under another sun. Good thing there are a lot of places on Earth that you could easily mistake for strange new worlds.
Richat Structure (also known as the Eye of the Sahara), a circular structure in the Sahara desert near Ouadane, Mauritania
(via NASA and Google Maps)
Etosha pan in Namibia, similar to the Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The shallow hydrocarbon lakes on Titan are behaving like a salt pan on Earth.
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During wet season
(via Wikimedia Commons 1 – 2 and Claire Bates)
Waiotapu (or Wai-O-Tapu) in new Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone with colorful hot springs
(via Christian Mehlführer, Tokyoahead and Davide Artioli)
Atacama Desert, Chile, used by NASA to test instruments (the Viking 1, Viking 2 and Phoenix Mars Lander, among others) for future Mars Missions
(via Benjamin Dumas, Julie Laurent, Ana Raquel S. Hernandes, Danielle Pereira, Sonja Stark, Richard Dedeyan and Otavio Piske)
Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat (10,582 sq km or 4,086 sq mi) in southwest Bolivia, contains at least the half of the world's lithium reserves
(via Wikimedia Commons, BORIS G and Benjamin Dumas)
Great Blue Hole, a 406 ft (124 m) deep circular submarine sinkhole Belize with a radius of 984 ft (300 m), formed during quaternary glaciation and made famous by Jacques Cousteau as a scuba diving site.
(via Wikimedia Commons and Wikimapia)
Devon Island, Canada, the largest uninhabited island on Earth and the testing location of Mars rovers and the home of the Haughton-Mars Project.
(via Wired and Mars On Earth)
Huanglong, northwest Sichuan, China, known for some colorful pools formed by calcite deposits.
(via Wikimedia Commons and Culantor Lin)
Vale da Lua (Valley of the Moon) in Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Brazil with some of the oldest rock formations on Earth
(via Vitorio Benedetti, Ricardo Pipo 1 – 2 and Gus Valentim)
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, the testing place of instruments build for reveal life on Mars.
(via Andrew Price, Antonio Tajuelo and ljuphoto)
The isolated island of Socotra (or Soqotra), Yemen
(via Maria Victoria Rodriguez, SALTY_DOGG and Martin Sojka)
Rio Tinto, the red river due to iron dissolved in the water in Spain. It has been mined since 3000 BC. Now the river is very acidic (pH 2) and only extremophile aerobic bacterias could survive.
(via Big Max Power and Victor Rivera)
Spotted Lake (or Kliluk), near the city of Osoyoos in British Columbia, Canada, containing the highest quantities of sodium and magnesium sulfates and calcium in the world, but there are silver, titanium, sulphates and some other minerals, too.
(via Bryan Hughes, Carlos Mejía Greene and Jeremy Hiebert)
The windy McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica without snow. Here is the longest river (or rather, meltwater steam) of the continent named the Onyx. There are no fish, but it supports microscopic life.
(via Stuart Rankin, sandwichgirl, brookpeterson and katkuller)