Nearly 55 years ago, a hunk of scrap metal was launched out of earth's orbit, and touched down on the surface of our moon. For the first time in human history, men stood on a different celestial body.

Neil Armstrong looks at a camera on the moon
Credit: Canva

The dawn of a new age was here, and mankind was set to conquer the stars... until we stopped three years later. The moon missions ceased, and NASA became more focused on scientific studies in the soon-to-be-built International Space Station.

Finally, after 52 years, NASA's headed back.

Why is NASA in Arizona?

The lunar surface is unlike anything we have on earth. Because of this, it's incredibly hard to simulate the conditions astronauts will face, and therefore almost impossible to run simulated tests before the real deal.

Astronaut on a desolate part of earth
Credit: Canva

That's where Arizona comes in. San Francisco Volcanic Field is a massive, desolate stretch of land near Flagstaff that (almost) perfectly mimics the conditions found on the moon.

Read More: This is the Most Remote Location in Arizona

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What Work is Being Done?

Astronaut sits down wile working on a laptop
Credit: Canva

Due to the natural similarities between the volcanic field and the lunar surface, NASA has sent a team of astronauts, engineers, and field researchers to perform simulated moonwalks. Across the way in Houston, mission control will get practice in communicating with the team and collecting data sent back.

The team will conduct four simulated moonwalks and six technology runs that will ensure every step of the process goes smoothly when  the team first sets foot on the lunar surface.

Mission Control
Credit: Canva

The information collected will be used on the Artemis III mission and beyond, hopefully starting humanity's journey to galactic exploration into:

Space, the final frontier.


[Interesting Engineering]

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