More than 50 years after astronauts trained on Central Oregon’s volcanic terrain for the first moon landing, NASA returned to the region to test new spacesuit technology.

Scientists and engineers spent 12 days in August in areas outside of Bend as part of NASA’s Artemis Program, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the moon by the end of this decade.

Dr. Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute and the Mars Institute, and director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project, said he was impressed by the diversity of the landscape in Central Oregon, which includes lava flows, caves and steep hills.

“What is extraordinary about Oregon is the combination of things you can find in a relatively limited range,” Lee said. “Going to Oregon is a package deal.”

Lee and about nine others involved in the testing visited the original NASA training locations at Lava Butte, Big Obsidian Lava Flow, Fort Rock, Hole in…

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