Could even Darth Vader stop the shifting sands?

Sadly, The Force may be of no help here...

A massive sand dune, racing across the Tunisian desert at some 15 meters a year, is threatening the Tatooine village of Mos Espa -- or at least the movie set that doubled for a young Anakin Skywalker's village in the 1997 film, "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace."

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory researcher Ralph Lorenz, writing for The Planetary Society, says the set is in danger of being swallowed up what scientists call a barchan -- a massive, moving crescent of sand. The barchan has already reached the outer edges of the set, a Tunisian tourist site visited by thousands of "Star Wars" fans annually.

The set was seen in the film as the boyhood home of Anakin Skywalker, who a couple of films and one seriously unpleasant personality shift later, would become Darth Vader.

Things don't look good for Mos Espa, according to a report posted on Johns Hopkins' The Hub website. It quotes Lorenz as saying, "Even if the threatening barchan fizzles out as it meets the set, a larger, slower-moving barchan is lumbering behind it."

(You can read The Hub story here.)

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