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Decades-old photos emerge of Apollo training

  • This 1970 image shows Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roost and an unidentified man training with a Modularized Equipment...

    NASA

    This 1970 image shows Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roost and an unidentified man training with a Modularized Equipment Transporter on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • This December 1970 image Apollo 15 Cmdr. Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    NASA

    This December 1970 image Apollo 15 Cmdr. Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • NASA 

This December 1970 image shows Apollo 15 astronauts training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    NASA This December 1970 image shows Apollo 15 astronauts training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • This 1971 image Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (left) and an unidentified man, training with the lunar roving vehicle on the Big Island ...

    NASA

    This 1971 image Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (left) and an unidentified man, training with the lunar roving vehicle on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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By Audrey McAvoy
Associated Press
Published:
  • This 1970 image shows Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roost and an unidentified man training with a Modularized Equipment...

    NASA

    This 1970 image shows Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roost and an unidentified man training with a Modularized Equipment Transporter on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • This December 1970 image Apollo 15 Cmdr. Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    NASA

    This December 1970 image Apollo 15 Cmdr. Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • NASA 

This December 1970 image shows Apollo 15 astronauts training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    NASA This December 1970 image shows Apollo 15 astronauts training on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • This 1971 image Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (left) and an unidentified man, training with the lunar roving vehicle on the Big Island ...

    NASA

    This 1971 image Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (left) and an unidentified man, training with the lunar roving vehicle on the Big Island of Hawaii.

HONOLULU — 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 through 17 trained in Hawaii as did some backup crews, Kelso said.
Some training was on Mauna Kea volcano, where glacial runoff crushed and refined rock into powder. Astronauts also trained on recent lava flows.
Today, robots are tested on the Big Island for moon and Mars missions.
In recent years, engineers have tested technology to pull oxygen out of the island’s dirt, which is volcanic basalt like the Martian and lunar soil. Future missions could use this technology to extract oxygen from the land instead of taking it along. The oxygen could be used for breathing, to make fuel or for other purposes.
Kelso said scientists are also interested in testing robots at the Big Island’s lava tubes and lava tube skylight holes, which resemble similar formations recently spotted in high-definition images taken by satellites orbiting the moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Lava tubes are tunnels made when lava forms a solid roof after flowing steadily in a confined area for hours. Skylight holes are formed when part of the tube breaks.


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