Mountains of abandoned clothes, shoes and cars.. Learn about the world’s largest junk cemetery?..

The arid Atacama Desert in Chile has become a graveyard of the world’s waste, with mountains of clothes and shoes, not to mention abandoned cars and equipment.

It’s one of the driest regions on Earth, but scientists have found micro-organisms adapted to the near-water world that could provide clues about how to find life on similar planets, particularly Mars.

And that research is under threat because the Atacama is a hub for used and unsold clothing from the US, Europe and Asia — more than 46,000 tons of clothing were dumped in the desert last year.

Used cars flood the country from the free trade zone and pile up in the desert, while piles of abandoned tires dot the landscape.

The Atacama Desert is located between the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range, which prevents the penetration of moisture inland from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Although it is one of the driest places on earth, millions of people call it home.

But Chile’s massive Atacama Desert is a unique and fragile ecosystem that experts say is threatened by mountains of garbage dumped there from all over the world.

And the driest part, the Yungay district in the city of Antofagasta, attracts with the flourishing of microorganisms.

These tiny lifeforms have evolved to adapt to water scarcity, high levels of solar radiation and near-nutrient deficiencies.

For the average person, their ability to survive may not be of much interest, but for scientists, these life forms may hold the secrets of evolution and survival on Earth and other planets.

NASA considers the Yungai region to be the most Mars-like landscape and uses it to test its robotic vehicles.

And while the Sahara doesn’t get much rain, large swathes of fog roll across the desert, allowing some plants to thrive, as well as some of the hardiest lichens, fungi and mosses.

And dozens of species of brightly colored wildflowers bloom when heavy rains fall, a spectacle that happens every five to seven years, with the latest coming in 2021.

Source: Daily Mail