We arrived at sunset. Red sandstone monoliths punctuate the martian landscape. We rode in on the back of a 4x4 pickup truck, the modern Bedouin version of the camel caravan. Distance is hard to judge in this vast landscape. Rocks that appear close and small are actually gigantic cliffs kilometers away. We pull into camp and are greeted by candles and a fire pit in the sand. The air is still and hot, the desert quiet. After the sun sets it is pitch black save for the milky way extending across the night sky.
The next morning we board a hot air balloon to view the desert from above. Also called The Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum is best known for its association with T.E. Lawrence. During the Arab revolt of 1917-18, Lawrence of Arabia passed through this desert several times. Half a dozen major motion pictures have also been shot here, including The Martian and Rogue One.