Image Cache: This colourful image may look like a work of modern art, but it’s actually a false-colour satellite image of Rub’ al Khali — the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, and home to insanely hostile conditions.
Browse through the cool photos, animations and diagrams in Gizmodo’s Image Cache here.
Situated on the southern Arabian Peninsula, it’s a harsh environment: There’s usually less than 3cm of precipitation per year, temperatures often exceed 50C and strong winds form sand dunes that can tower in height to 250m. That’s what you can see shown in bright yellow in these images acquired by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite. Meanwhile, shades of brown and purple show the presence of minerals, including salt and gypsum. It’s probably nicer to look at on screen than in person.