That blows! Sand dunes move in on famed ‘Star Wars’ set

This tourist photo, acquired by the researchers in December 2012, shows the edge of the barchan making contact with a building on the Mos Espa movie set in Tunisia.

(Credit: S. Slater)

The sands of time might soon bury the sands of Tatooine.

Sand dunes blowing over the Tunisian desert are poised to cover a famous “Star Wars” film set that served as the backdrop for numerous scenes in the “The Phantom Menace.”

More than a dozen buildings, real and mocked up, still stand on the site of the fictional Mos Espa, where the young Anakin Skywalker grew up. But according to BBC News, mounds of wind-swept sand have made contact with some of the Mos Espa buildings, threatening to damage a popular geek landmark and tourist destination.

For the past several years, scientists have used the fictional dwellings as a marker for measuring the migration of giant wind-blown crescent-shaped sand ridges known as barchans, which are produced by wind moving predominately from one direction. They visited the site located in the Tunisian region of Oung el Jemel in 2009, and noted that sands had already overcome part of a nearby set used in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” [Read more]

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