Star Wars Set is Disappearing in Tunisia - KMSP-TV

Star Wars Set is Disappearing in Tunisia

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Star wars fans better act quickly if you want to see the actual abandoned set from The Phantom Menace because it's currently being overrun by sand dunes. The set was built for the 2002 movie to house the cast of Anakin Skywalker's childhood home of Mos Espa on the planet of Tatooine. But Brigham Young University planetary scientist Jani Radebaugh said new research shows a fast-moving sand dune is spilling onto streets of the set in the Tunisian desert and will eventually bury buildings.

For those that are unfamiliar with desert landscape, this may seem unrealistic and a little farfetched, but its commonplace in parched areas of the earth.

Sand dunes move much like waves on an ocean do, except at a much slower rate. With no vegetation around to hold the sand in place, winds carry the sand through the air from one side of the dune and deposit it on the opposite side. Over time, this will make the dune "move" toward the direction the wind is blowing. We all know that winds aren't persistent in speed or direction. This inconsistency keeps the dunes from moving at a fast rate like a wave would in the ocean, but regardless, they do end up moving on average about 50 feet per year in this part of the world.

Radebaugh goes on to say that bulldozing the dune that's about to overrun the set is just putting off the inevitable because there is another much larger dune behind it.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. Parts of the original 1970's-era Star Wars sets were also overrun by dunes nearly 20 years ago.

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