The Most Alien Lands on the Planet Earth

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Unless you’re lucky enough to get abducted by aliens, you won’t visit another planet in your lifetime. That’s probably just as well. If a 24-hour flight to Australia makes people squirm, imagine a trip to Mars. (Anyone who says the journey is more important than the destination has never been cooped up in a steel can for seven months drinking recycled water.)

Still, there are ways to explore strange new worlds without leaving Earth. “Terrestrial analogues”—places where the geology or the climate mimics other planets in our solar system—are scattered across the globe. Astronauts and scientists use these sites to prepare for space missions and search for clues to extraterrestrial life. Spacesuits not required.

Check out 4 of Earth’s most alien lands