Posted: 6:00 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013
By Rick Couri
The area is in Tunisia and was the setting for the Tatooine city of Mos Espa. The site is also known as the childhood home of Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
International scientists have been using that set and others from the movie to measure barchans which are crescent-shaped dunes.
The dunes grow and move quickly, as much as 50 feet per year and have already swallowed other sets left in place after the filming.
The set has been visited by thousands of tourists and that may be its saving grace.
One of the researchers pointed out “given the importance of this site to the tourism industry of Tunisia, it may be that it is a candidate for mitigation measures not being pursued at present.”
That means walls or other protection might be built to keep the dunes at bay and allow devotees to the movie to continue spending their dinar in the African nation.