Magnificent Desolation

26 June 2015

Valle de la luna, Chile. Wikipedia
Valle de la luna, Chile.

Yesterday we arrived at the Atacama region of Chile, and are staying in the small town of San Pedro. Atacama is perhaps the driest region in the world, and San Pedro is at an elevation of about 8,000 feet. That combination can be quite a punch. Fortunately we’ve been at a similar elevation the past couple of days at CTIO, so that isn’t too bad. The arid air, however, is a different story. Hydration is key at this point.

While Cerro Tololo had an almost overwhelming beauty to it, Atacama is a bit different. Magnificent desolation, to paraphrase Buzz Aldrin. But the arid and high conditions of the region are exactly why ALMA is here.

But that’s a story for tomorrow. For now it’s time to have a bit more water, and get some sleep.