Satellite Captures Burning Man Photo From Space

Want to get a close-up view of the Burning Man festival? Well, here’s a picture taken from a few hundred miles away. The European Space Agency’s Proba-1 microsatellite was cruising at an altitude of about 370 miles over the Nevada desert when it snapped this picture of Burning Man.

The picture shows cars, tents, campers, and RVs (and probably a whole bunch of drug use) at the annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert, which is about 120 miles north of Reno.

An official with the European Space Agency (ESA) said that the above image was created by stitching together four black-and-white photos. ESA’s Proba-1 has two autonomous cameras. The microsatellite, which was launched in 2001, is only 3.3 feet long.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the first Burning Man was held in 1986 when a group of kids in San Francisco burned an 8-foot wooden man on a beach. The festival grew and in 1990 it moved to the Black Rock Desert. This is the 25th year of Burning Man, which has seen its annual attendance grow from a few hundred people to the 50,000 crowd that ventured into the desert this year. The wooden sculpture has also grown. In 2009, the burning man was more than 50 feet tall.

The Burning Man website reads:

“Once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever.”

For a festival based on self expression, the tent formation looks rather organized, doesn’t it?