Star Wars set threatened by sand dune

Star Wars set threatened by sand dune

A migrating sand dune is threatening to bury a film set used in the Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace, in Tunisia.

The Pacman-shaped sand dune, known as a barchan dune, faces downwind and has been observed on Earth as well as on Mars, where the thin atmosphere produces winds strong enough to move sand and dust.

Star Wars set threatened by sand dune

The fictitious city of Mos Espa is a major tourist attraction in Tunisia and sees thousands of fans making the pilgrimage each year via the nearby town of Tozeur.

In the film it is the childhood home of the future Darth Vader.

According to the Independent, US scientists have been observing the film set from space to compare the speed of the sand dune migration on Earth to that of Mars.

Star Wars set threatened by sand dune

The barchan is said to be moving at a rate of 15 metres a year - 10 times faster than those on Mars.

According to the BBC, scientists visited the site in 2009 and noted that part of the set had already been overrun. Earlier this year, the front edge of the barchan appeared to have made contact with some of the Mos Espa buildings.

The sand dune will eventually pass over Mos Espa but there is no telling what damage it will cause.

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Star Wars set threatened by sand dune
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