The Atacama desert in northern Chile is one of the driest places on earth, which has made it an incredibly valuable place for scientific research into space – it’s also an absolutely stunning place. I’d encourage you to sit back and put the below video on full screen. Jaw dropping.
The dryness of the Atacama lends itself to space research in a few ways. The dryness, elevation, and isolation means that it has spectacularly clear skies – perfect for telescopes.
The unique conditions also are as close to Mars as you will get on this planet, so research is ongoing on what kind of life can live in this extreme climate (see the below video), as well as serving as a place of NASA to test its rovers. A lot of work on the Perseverance rover currently active on Mars was trialed in the Atacama.