PROVO, Utah (AP) — Time may be running short for hardcore "Star Wars" fans to see the real-life set used to portray Anakin Skywalker's childhood home of Mos Espa on the planet Tatooine.
Brigham Young University planetary scientist Jani Radebaugh says new research shows a fast-moving sand dune is spilling onto streets of the set in the Tunisian desert and will eventually bury buildings.
She says the dune was measured at 20 feet tall and 300 feet wide in 2009, and it's been moving toward the set some 50 feet per year since 2002.
Radebaugh says one dwelling and pair of other structures already are partially buried, and bulldozing the dune to save the set isn't an option because a larger dune follows behind.
The set began attracting tourists in 1999 following release of "Episode 1: The Phantom Menace." Before that, fans had visited some of the 1970s-era sets of later episodes, which have since been overrun by dunes.
The set, a fictional spaceport left behind after filming at the request of Tunisian tourist officials, draws about 100,000 visitors annually.