Orbital View: Microchips in the Desert

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

That’s what these two stunning, surreal images of salt ponds in northern Chile look like, especially the second one:

From Quigley’s caption for this first image, captured above Nueva Victoria, Chile:

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth with a mere four inches of rain each one thousand years (don’t ask me how they worked that one out). But it is definitely very dry and arid! The desert stretches for 600 miles between Peru’s southern border and Chile’s central Pacific coast.

The second image is from the same desert but a different area, specifically 30 km south of a town called San Pedro de Atacama:

Quigley adds, “This is regular tourist destination for folks who want to bath in the salt waters and marvel at the immense and expansive views (which are especially beautiful at sunset).” One of his commenters nods:

Been there, done that. In the 60s, on acid. #goodtimes #happyhippie

That second hashtag is linked to 113,859 posts, which no doubt saw a sudden surge on Wednesday. 🌲

(See all Orbital Views here)