If you couldn't make it to Burning Man this year, that's okay — you can still check out "the playa" from space.
Maxar Technologies released satellite images on Twitter last week (Aug. 23) of the event site, known as the playa, for Burning Man, an annual art and music event that takes place on the dried out lake of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. The images were taken by the WorldView satellites, owned by the Maxar Company DigitalGlobe, which launched in 2007. The satellites are designed to orbit, observe and image the Earth. DigitalGlobe provides high-resolution images of Earth using its satellites WorldView-1, GeoEye-1, WorldView-2 and WorldView-3.
The images show the playa being set up and readied for the event. From space, you can see people starting to gather and create "Black Rock City," a temporary, self-sufficient mock city that's the basis of the event, in anticipation of Burning Man, which began on Aug. 25.
The horseshoe-shape of the playa is clear in the satellite images. A closer look reveals scattered cars and even a few airplanes, likely bringing in supplies and people for the event. The few roads leading into the site are also visible, already starting to fill up with cars. Soon after these images were released these roads likely filled with vehicles making up the annual, awful traffic often reported by "burners," or event participants.
Every year, tens of thousands of people trek out to the desert to create, and express themselves through art, music, costume, performance and more at Burning Man.
While Black Rock City can be seen from space, those participating in the event can also take time to admire space from Earth with projects like the Black Rock Observatory, a mobile observatory that has facilitated astronomy at events like Burning Man.
Burning Man has also been home to a number of spacey art projects, including a flaming spaceship-shaped wooden structure, the space whale and one artist even fundraised to try and bring a massive space blanket to the desert.
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Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.