But the appearances are deceptive. While new installations are constantly being built, many of the present structures are already decaying and in the majority of cases they are only of temporary nature or for the purpose of mere transit. Desert projects have sparse life spans. Few of them, like the Great Man Made River Project in Libya or the Saudi Arabian agriculture initiative for example, share a long term perspective.
Human presence appeared to always have been brief in the continental Ergs and Hammadas of the tropic deserts. As time goes by the ever shapeshifting surfaces erase the most obvious traces of man.
But not only the traces of man. The abrasive and eroding nature of the desert leaves only a short time frame for a find like ours. In geological terms the time span a meteorite outlasts the effects of surface weathering, even in the hyper arid deserts, is desperately brief. Only the sheer abundance of fall events accumulating over the millennia allows us to find any largely intact specimens at all.
Stone meteorites exceeding 10 kg in weight are rarely found, those approaching 20 kg are exceedingly scarce. There may be less emerging from the hot deserts per year than you can count on the fingers of one hand. A find like ours, with its surface features preserved and still in one piece is all the more remarkable. It gives us a slight idea on the proportions within the vast clouds of cosmic debris, remains of catastrophic asteroidal collisions, which from time happen to cross the path of our stone pelted planet.