Iran’s salt desert, New Suez Canal and British astronaut Tim Peak’s snap of UK under an aurora were among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

Dasht-e Kavir, the swirling landscape of Iran’s salt desert, is reminiscent of an abstract painting. With temperatures reaching 50C in the summer, this area sees little precipitation, but runoff from mountains creates seasonal lakes and marshes. Extreme heat causes the water to evaporate, leaving behind clays and sand soils with a high concentration of minerals. The “brushstroke” patterns are geological layers eroded primarily by wind. Along the left side of the image we can see part of an area known as the “devil’s dunes” because it was believed to be haunted by evil spirits. This belief likely originated from its hostile conditions, and the early travellers who did attempt to cross it probably never returned due to starvation or dehydration.

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Source: Guardian Environment