Timanfaya National Park

Training Astronauts in Lanzarote

We’ve often heard of Lanzarote being compared to Mars, but did you know that the European Space Agency is trains astronauts on the island? And it was once used by NASA to practice driving the lunar buggy.

The European Space Agency (ESA) produced this video during their Pangaea course in 2016 with astronauts Luca Parmitano, Pedro Duque and Matthias Maurer.

Lanzarote was the obvious location for the practical aspect of their course, as it provides the perfect volcanic landscape, with a dry climate and low vegetation. The astronauts had to learn how to search for traces of life, collect rock samples and communicate their findings back to mission control.

During the course, the students visited the Timanfaya Natural Park, Caldera Blanca, La Corona lava tube, Tinguaton and the Charco de Los Clicos in El Golfo to learn about planetary geology.

Lanzarote has been identified as one of the best volcanic areas on the planet to understand the geological interactions between volcanic activity and water. Plus the Pangaea instructors think it’s a terrific working environment!

Their video, which is filmed with English commentary has some beautiful coverage of the island, both above and underground.

More reading? Some things are different in Lanzarote.

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