Where In The Universe #89

Article written: 27 Jan , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Ready for another Where In The Universe Challenge? Here’s #89! Take a look and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. As usual, we’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is — give everyone the chance to guess.

UPDATE: The answer is now posted below.

This is Earth, and specifically the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, where one of the world’s driest regions meets up with the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The colors come from salt pans and gorges choked with mineral-streaked sediments, giving way to white-capped volcanoes. This image was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 28, 2001.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

24 Responses

  1. LunarOrbit says

    I’m guessing it’s Whistler, British Columbia, Canada… one of the sites of the Winter Olympics.

  2. fnanfne says

    Earth, camera on-board the ISS.

  3. Jorge says

    Earth, some terrain-observing satellite, maybe Terra or Landsat.

  4. Jon Hanford says

    Earth and yeah, possibly Terra.

  5. Fluffmachine says

    Earth! Somewhere. Cold. Montain-ish.

  6. ewornor says

    Earth and probably LandSat

  7. Ringman says

    Strip mines or mountain ranges on earth from space.

  8. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    It looks terrestrial. I have no idea where.


  9. star-grazer west coast says

    Somewhere on Earth-however, it may be in China. The yellow color, it looks like loess deposits on the mountains that gives the Yellow (Hwang-Ho) river its’ name

  10. major76 says

    I would guess near Nazsa in Chile. Looks like it may be some of the Nazca lines.

  11. entropy123 says

    Landsat definitely… probably somewhere in Chile… one of the dumps for the mining site where they have all the waste fields

  12. Vinchiamo says

    I’m guessing the Rocky mountain

  13. Astroclam says

    Nazca lines, Earth.

  14. erinaceus says

    You know I don’t think that’s Earth. Maybe its the colours, maybe the big feature in the centre or just the strange linear features near the top right.

    I’ll stick my neck out somewhat – Looks like a micrograph of a mineral grain. Perhaps something returned by Stardust?

  15. Nephish777 says

    To me it appears to be magnified metallic crystals. Perhaps galena. (A lead compound once used for crystal radios.)

  16. Vedic says

    These always get me stumped – however…

    Judging by the 4 straight and parallel lines in the top right of the image – and not only parallel but equidistant…

    I’m going for Earth.

    Image could be by any of a thousand satellites, but I’m going for ISS

  17. Stu Giles says

    Death Valley or possilby Nevada from the Terra satellite.

  18. kootstar says

    I don’t very often get into these, but my two cents here… How about a little closeup of Europa, uneven ice beds, cracks, reflections, and even the yellow area being a reflection of the Sun? For more trouble for me, maybe a very close Cassini fly-by?

  19. paul.swanson says

    I see roads, so it’s obviously Earth. The recent landslide near Machu Picchu, perhaps? ISS?

  20. kootstar says

    Now I’m second guessing even myself. A closer look reminded me of previous pics of wildfires from space, i.e. from ISS. Less smoke blowing away from fire = hotter areas. Note grey streaks going in similar direction. black and brown = burned out/smoldering areas.

  21. Whatever says

    It’s definitely a flat and arid region of earth. However not so arid that agriculture isn’t taking place (roads paralleling both sides of fence lines), along with minerals exploration (Equi-spaced tracks). My first guess would be an area in the Lake Eyre Basin, Australia. Maybe in or near the Diamantina River.
    Alternatively, it could be in the Gobi Desert or the Sahara.

  22. ztabra says

    oh this one whas hard…
    this is the andes, chile, Landsat 7 satellite…
    love this!!!!

  23. Spoodle58 says

    This one was great, very hard, I had nothing.

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