El Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) is located 13 kilometres (8 mi) west of San Pedro de Atacama, to the north of Chile in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert of Chile. It has various stone and sand formations which have been carved by wind and water. It has an impressive range of color and texture, looking somewhat similar to the surface of the moon. There are also dry lakes where the composition of salt makes a white covering layer of the area. It presents diverse saline outcrops which appear like man-made sculptures. There are also a great variety of caverns. Valle de la Luna is a part of the Reserva Nacional los Flamencos and was declared a Nature Sanctuary in 1982 for its great natural beauty and strange lunar landscape, from which its name is derived. The valley is also considered one of the driest places on earth, as some areas have not received a single drop of rain in hundreds of years. A prototype for a Mars rover was tested there by scientists because of the valley’s dry and forbidding terrains.
The Atacama Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Atacama) is a plateau in South America, covering a 1,000-kilometre (600 mi) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world. According to estimates the Atacama Desert proper occupies 105,000 square kilometres (41,000 sq mi), or 128,000 square kilometres (49,000 sq mi) if the barren lower slopes of the Andes are included. Most of the desert is composed of stony terrain, salt lakes (salares), sand, and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes. Photo: wikipedia