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Locals use a telescope and coffee to try to find alien life among hot, dry salt flats
Stargazers in Chile’s Atacama Desert are searching for alien life and evidence of dark energy in what has been dubbed the world’s richest bed of extraterrestrial fossils.
A multimillion-pound observatory the size of a football field operates constantly on the Atacama plains, so high in the desert it is often shrouded in mist. Locals use telescopes and special drinks to search for alien life, which they believe may exist.
“We’re not looking for life on Mars but the (Atacama) desert does have a lot of ingredients for life,” said Olga Susanna Sanchez, director of astronomy at the University of Chile.
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“I also think we can find out whether there’s dark energy, the so-called dark energy that governs the expansion of the universe, and if so how strong it is,” she said.
Silvia Dameris, director of the observatory, said it would take a long time to find out, but it could provide insights into the Earth’s evolution.
“The moon’s surface was clear and dry so its structure was already formed, so it’s possible that what you see on the surface today may have been there much earlier.”