Giant 3 km Poem in the Desert in Google Earth

This is a big one! A poet wrote a 3 kilometer-wide message – visible from space – in the desert of northwest Chile. The message says “ni pena ni miedo” which translates in English to “neither shame nor fear“. The poet’s name is Raúl Zurita, and he used a bull dozer to write the message in the desert sand. According to an interview at Jacket Magazine (about half-way down the article), the poet “…doesn’t like abstract poetry. He says that in those days of brutality and distrust and terror, the reign of Pinochet, he began to imagine writing poems in the sky, on the faces of cliffs, in the desert. His words…are gradually fading away, joining thousands of men, women, and children who disappeared in fear and pain during the Pinochet years.” Fortunately, his words are now immortalized in satellite photos and Google Earth! Check out the entire message in Google Earth. It’s huge, and it’s really there – not a photoshop.
3 km Message bulldozed in desert in Google Earth.  'ni pena ni miedo'
via the Google Earth Community – posted by ‘yipero’.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. David Ashby says:

    This could also be translated as “Neither PAIN nor Fear.”

  2. Sorry this looks cooked up. Notice the sun reflections coming from different angles.

  3. Pena can be translated as shame, sorrow. not pain as physical, but emotional.

  4. In chilean spanish “pena” means “sadness”…

  5. Hey Jim G, have you ever looked at google earth?
    Some parts of it have the sun coming from all sorts of places because the photos are taken at different times.
    What you think there is one big camera up there that can photograph the entire earth all at once?
    Think about it dude.

  6. hey, I heard about things like that written in the deserts, but it was a form for the natives to speak to the gods and let their message be seen to the stars and others to see what there is on earth. I think for the first writent message it’s the best words to send out there.

  7. Mr. Raúl Zurita, the poet, who had done this work, is really admirable. My best wishes to him and also to Google Earth for unearthing this.

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