A young Anakin Skywalker grew up in the city of Mos Espa, which was located on the planet Tatooine. Anakin lost everything on the way to becoming Darth Vader in George Lucas' Star Wars series, and now the fictional city is about to be destroyed by a massive sand dune. 

The location has become a major tourist site for Tunisia in the 14 years since the release of Star Wars Episdoe l: The Phanton Menace. It's also been used a test ground for scientists, who have been observing it from space to monitor sand dune migration on Earth, while comparing it to that of Mars and Titan, which is Saturn's largest moon. According to Dunes on Planet Tatooine: Observation of Barchan Migration at the Star Wars film set in Tunisia, these barchans move ten times faster on Earth. The second image above was taken in July 2012, and shows how close the dune away is from the film set.

Because of the danger associated with building sites among the dunes, the Tunisian government hardly ever steps in to intervene. However, they might have to in this case, as the film set is huge for tourism in Tunisia:

“Given the importance of this site to the tourism industry of Tunisia, it may be that it is a candidate for mitigation measures, not being pursued at present.

“These could include erecting fences or walls, bulldozing the approaching dune (which would take considerable effort and would have to be repeated with each oncoming dune), or moving the site out of the path of the dunes.”

For the love of Obi-Wan, please let the government step in and save Mos Espa.

[via Independent UK]