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Mono Lake

Titan Analogue Shoot

A few of us converged on the otherworldly terrain of Mono Lake, California for a film shoot mainly about Titan and a bit about extrasolar planets and Jupiter's satellites. The production is being done through Pioneer Productions of the UK, and the four guys were very fun and talented (and with ridiculously cool names): Mark Bridge, Nick Miller, Kev Robertson and Brian Copenhagen. Mono Lake was chosen because the highly alkaline lake combines with the acid groundwater at the lake's edge and forms tall pillars of carbonates, similar to what happens in caves. This makes for an alien looking landscape, and may also be what is happening at the edges of Titan's lakes, though with slightly different chemistry. The first pictures are of the California coastline, the glaciated Sierra Nevadas and the Long Valley Caldera (the airport is in the caldera!) all from the air. The morning of our shoot, we had lovely, clear, calm weather, which made for beautiful shots from our canoes. By the afternoon, the smoke from the nearby Rim fire, over the hill at Yosemite, had blown in, leading to a very hazy atmosphere, like Titan's, with a nice red/orange low sun on the dark beach. We had such luck. Chris McKay joined us the next day, and we heard great things about astrobiology down on the hazy, ethereal beach. The last pictures are of my run up on the Panum Crater, a tuff ring containing a silicic dome just south of Mono Lake, with beautiful obsidian and breadcrust cooling textures. I loved spending time on this shoot!

Some favorites:

Mono Lake pillars All the guys by canoe Pillars and reflections
Kev and Mark on the north beach Could be on Titan... Interviewing Chris
Brian takes a break Kev getting some subsurface shots Chris right where tufa is forming
At work in a strange terrain Rim fire sunset Neat obsidian textures

Bubbling spring at Mono Lake.

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Please credit Jani Radebaugh for all pics, thank you!