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 back up 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.