Top Ten Space Pictures: Best of 2009

Top Ten Space Pictures: Best of 2009
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Saharan "Land of Terror" Revealed

White salt flats seem to melt over dark sandstone hills in the Tanezrouft Basin, as seen in a picture released in October by the European Space Agency. In partnership with the ESA, Japan's Advanced Land Observing Satellite captured this image in June with an instrument that charts land cover and vegetation in visible and near-infrared light.

The Tanezrouft Basin, in south-central Algeria, is one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara, and is sometimes called the land of terror. The bouquet of yellow seen in the upper right is Erg Mehedjibat, a small cluster of star-shaped sand dunes that grow upward rather than side to side.
—Photograph courtesy ESA
 
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