Were you planning on visiting Mos Espa, or at least the plywood set George Lucas left in the desert after filming The Phantom Menace? Better hurry: Fourteen years too late, nature is about to visit her wrath on that movie by burying the set with a massive sand dune.
Called a “barchan”, it’s basically a giant Pac-Man made of sand, and it’s going to crush Mos Espa just like Mos Eisley bought the farm nearly a decade ago.
Scientists have been observing the fate of the city from space for some time, using it as a reference point in order to be able to compare the speed of sand dune migration on Earth to that of Mars, and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. The barchan is estimated to be moving at a rate of 15 metres a year, some 10 times faster than those on Mars, and tourism photos from this year – featured as an example of “geomorphologically-useful citizen science” – indicate that the front edge has already reached the first buildings on the outskirts of Mos Espa.
While few if any will be truly upset that nature is basically burying some of George Lucas’ trash, Tunisia actually might take measures to protect it. It turns out that Mos Espa is something of a tourist attraction, for reasons we can’t quite figure out, and the set being destroyed would be a major setback to the Tunisian tourist industry, which, again, is not what you call “hoppin’” beyond visiting the site of a major filmmaker’s greatest artistic failure.
So it might be moved to a more tourist-friendly location, leaving whatever dark secrets George Lucas buried there to lie under the shifting sands, until some fools dig it up and get their faces melted. Hey, that might make a good movie!
I want more like this!
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