Start your space-travel training now by exploring other-worldly landscapes right here on Earth.
Some parts of the Atacama Desert haven't seen rain since humans started measuring it centuries ago
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest spots on Earth. Some stretches of this lunar landscape have never even seen rain, at least not in the four hundred or so years that humans have been measuring. But, wind-sculpted dunes and colourfully striped cliffs are just the terrestrial offerings. Space lovers head here between April and September when the dark skies are optimal for gazing at the Milky Way’s glittering collection of stars.
The best way to tour Rio Tinto's mars-like landscape is by stream locomotive
Rio Tinto, Spain
The iron-stained Rio Tinto river bears an uncanny resemblance to Mars’ hue. Thousands of years of copper mining have tinted the waters and soil here a rustic red – making this the perfect backdrop for any out-of-this-world getaway. A popular way to tour the region is by steam locomotive. The Rio Tinto Railway provides tourists with a 2-hour tour of the russet-coloured valley, including a quick stop so you can get out, stretch your legs, and marvel at the view.
Brave visitors can walk along a horse-shoed shaped glass bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River
Grand Canyon, USA
With rocks that date back some 1.8 billion years and a terrain so planetary the Apollo astronauts prepared for their missions here, it’s no wonder the Grand Canyon is recognised as one of the seven wonders of the world. Thrill seekers flock to the Skywalk, a horse-shoe shaped glass bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. A hike out to the “Ooh-Aah Point” on the South Kaibab Trail will also reward you with a photogenic panorama sure to elicit a few exclamations.
The terrain in Lanzarote is completely made up of volcanic soil
Dotted with craters and lava fields, Lanzarote’s Timanfaya Park sits in stellar contrast to the island’s renowned beach resorts. What makes the landscape so unique? The terrain here is completely made up of volcanic soil, with dormant volcanoes that give off enough geothermal heat to cook up a steak. UNESCO seems to agree, and in 1993 Lanzarote was declared a Biosphere Reserve.