Before Apollo astronauts went to the moon, they went to Hawaii to train on the Big Island's lunar landscapes. Now, decades-old photos are surfacing of astronauts scooping up Hawaii's soil and riding across volcanic fields in a "moon buggy" vehicle. The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, a Hawaii state agency, is displaying the photos at its Hilo headquarters. Rob Kelso, the agency's executive director, found the images at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Astronauts from Apollo missions 13 (1970) through 17 (1972) trained in Hawaii as did some back-up crews, Kelso said. "The thing that sets Hawaii apart from almost every other place in the world is that it is almost an exact replica of the surface that we see on the moon and on Mars," Kelso told KITV in Honolulu. Some training was on Mauna Kea volcano, where glacial runoff crushed and refined rock into power. Astronauts also trained on recent lava flows. Today, robots are tested on the Big Island for moon and Mars missions. via CSMonitor.com. Pics are viewable in KITV Gallery
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