Astronaut Tom Jones: When we reached orbit on Sept. 30, '94, the Taklamakan was a major landmark and science target for Space Radar Lab 2. Our radar targets were the alluvial fans and dune fields along the southern margin of the Taklamakan, where the Silk Road oases hosted caravans and travelers on an ancient trade route. Note the alluvial fans and vegetation in foreground, fed by streams from the Altyn-Tagh mountains bordering the desert on the south. Our radar images found traces of Silk Road irrigation channels and sand-covered villages.
NASA: This south-looking view shows most of the west end of snow-dusted ranges on the Tibetan Plateau. A major fault line separates the plateau from the low-lying Takla Makan Desert (foreground). The darker areas along two rivers (foreground) make up one of the largest agricultural regions in the Takla Makan Desert. The hazy atmosphere over India (top) contrasts with the thinner, clear air over the plateau. The Vale of Kashmir in northern India is the prominent valley within the first wall of the Himalayan Mountains.
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