A European Space Agency (ESA) satellite has captured what has become one of modern society’s most hedonistic adventures–Burning Man. Taken about 400 miles up, the picture shows Black Rock City in full swing along with all of its 50,000-something attendees.
The week-long event gets its name from the ritual torching of a large wooden effigy which takes place during the festival’s final hours. However, this was not the case when I attended back in 2007. The sculpture fell victim to arson during a rare lunar eclipse. Luckily, it was rebuilt within just a few days and promptly re-burned.
ESA compiled the photograph using four photos, each with a resolution of about 16 feet. The perfect tribute as Burning Man just entered its 25th year. The festival started at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach back in 1986 and relocated 120 miles north of Reno in 1990.
The photograph was captured by the ESA’s Proba-1 microsatellite which was placed into orbit on October 22, 2001. The box-shapped satellite weights just over 200 pounds and is less than 3 feet on any side. Proba-1 stands for Project for Onboard Autonomy and in 2009 it was joined by a second satellite named (wait for it) Proba-2.
Keep in mind that Burning Man looks a lot different from space then it does up close. The event is filled with eye candy but a lot of it is NSFW. If you’d like to keep your viewing experience a little more PG, you can see the full Proba-1 image below.