As any good fan of sci-fi knows, few things can make or break the allure of an alien planet or a strange dimension like a great atmosphere. After all, what Star Wars lover can’t immediately picture the barren planet where Luke Skywalker grew up? Who can watch Lord of the Rings without cringing at the thought of the treacherous peaks of Mordor? So cool are the landscapes of many of these fictional worlds, that it may even be tempting to think of our own planet as a little boring in comparison. Not so fast! We’ve collected a series of weird landscape photos that’ll show you why Earth is way cooler than you may think.
Below you’ll find a collection of Earthly landscapes that look like they’re from another planet entirely. So otherworldly are some of these places in fact, that they’ve been used by NASA for testing out equipment bound for missions to planets like Mars. Others among these weird landscapes have also been heavily utilized by Hollywood in order to create the atmospheres for fictional planets in movies. After all, the Star Wars crew wasn’t exactly able to catch a few shots in outer space- Luke’s childhood planet was actually a place called Chott el Djerid in Tunisia.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Emerald Ice on Lake Baikal, Russia
Glowing Beach, Maldives
Fly Geyser, Nevada, USA
Though this wild looking Geyser is actually on a patch of private land near the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, there are still ways to get a peek. The Geyser is only about 1/3 of a mile off of State Route 34, which also functions as a viewpoint for those hoping to see the otherworldly looking formation.
Mount Roraima, Venezuela
Ice Cave Near Mutnovsky Volcano, Russia
Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska, USA
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
The Wave, Arizona
Known as “the Wave,” this rolling land formation lies right near the Arizona-Utah border. Not only are the shapes that run through the sandstone like something out of a Salvador Dali painting, they even change color with the light throughout the day.
Abraham Lake, Canada
Lake Hillier, Australia
Dallol Volcano, Ethiopia
Though little known and rarely visited, Ethiopia’s Dallol desert features one of the most fascinating landscapes on the planet. In the area surrounding the Dallol volcano, you’ll find everything from pillars of salt to pools of acid.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Painted Dunes at Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, USA
Painted Desert, Arizona, USA
As if Arizona’s Painted Desert isn’t cool enough already, sometimes the air there glows with a pink or purple haze of dust, making it look even more magical.
Naica Mines, Mexico
Gate To Hell, Turkmenistan
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park features a collection of gorgeous waterfalls, many of which have formed natural dams, lakes, and water ways in the limestone and chalk down which they glide.
Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Phillipines
Stone Forest, China
If you’re looking for an exotic place to visit on your next vacation, it doesn’t get much better than China’s Stone Forest. The ancient limestone formations that rise out of the Earth are massive and create a sort of labyrinth over almost 200 miles of landscape.
Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
Spotted Lake, Canada
Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
The Moeraki Boulders may just be the only stones in the world more interesting than the beach they lie on. These bad boys are thought to have been created by the cementation of mud stone about 60 million years ago.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Chile’s Atacama Desert is considered to be among the driest deserts in the World and has been used by NASA to test equipment for upcoming Mars missions, due to how similar the landscape is to that of the red planet.
However, in 2015, a year of record rainfall due to El Nino caused the desert floor to become overwhelmed with beautiful pink malva flowers.
Pinnacle Desert, Australia
Rio Tinto River, Spain
Chott el Djerid, Tunisia
If this landscape looks familiar, that’s because it doubled as “Tatooine” in the Star Wars Movies. Its sun-baked sands have been described as one of the most Mars-like places on Earth.