Wadi Rum: A little piece of Mars on Earth

You’ve probably never heard of Wadi Rum. But I bet you’ve seen quite a bit of it in one of your favourite films. That’s because Wadi Rum, which is a sandy valley in Jordan, has been used in quite a few of them.

And you might be able to guess what it’s been used for when you see what it looks like…

That’s right – Wadi Rum is a little piece of Mars on Earth. It was used as a Marsy film location in Red Planet [2000], The Last Days on Mars [2013] and The Martian [2015]. But it was also used to represent a generic alien planet in Prometheus [2012] and as the planet Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [2016]. As well as being used as an Earth dessert in Laurence of Arabia [1962].

Wadi Rum

Credit: Daniel Case (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Despite being mainly typecast as the Red Planet, Wadi Rum is also known (confusingly) as the Valley of the Moon. I’m not entirely sure why, as the moon is quite clearly white and Wadi Rum is quite clearly not.

Wadi Rum is Arabic for “Sand Valley”, which is a pretty accurate name for it. It’s also the largest wadi (valley) in Jordan, lying 37 miles east of the city of Aqaba.

37 miles away from Aqaba and 33.9 million miles from Mars…

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About Dom Stapleton

Dom Stapleton

As well as being the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik in Iceland is also an incredible place to visit.

We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the city and spent most days walking around from there. The main thing we noticed (apart from the cold, of course) was that the people are so friendly. At home, trying to cross the road is a nightmare, but in Reykjavik, the cars are literally queuing up to let you across.

When my partner and I went, in January 2013, the sun only started rising at about 10 am, which was a strange experience. And it got dark at about 4 pm each day!

Dom works in our marketing team

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