This is not the Swiss Alps or the white peak of Mt Everest, but a hot sandy desert covered by snow. Unbelievable but true. NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this white landscape as it passed over the Taklimakan Desert in western China. Snow has covered much of the desert since a storm blew through the area. The mountains that enclose the sea of sand—the Tien Shan in the north and the Kunlun Shan in the south—were also covered with what appeared to be a significantly thicker layer of snow in January 2013.