By Anna Hider
As a child (or adult), it’s not uncommon to gaze up at the moon and wonder what it’d be like to walk all over its face. I recently found out (and admitted to myself) that I am not cut out to be an astronaut, so my chances of visiting are pretty slim. Someday, we’ll be able to casually take a weekend trip to the moon, but until then, we’ll have to settle for the Cinder Lake Crater Field- an exact replica of the moon’s Sea of Serenity, located just outside Flagstaff near Sunset Crater.
In the 1960′s, the Astrogeology branch of the United States Geological Survey created this crater field to train astronauts and test out lunar equipment for the moon landing. They’re not joking when they say Cinder Lake is an exact replica, either; they measured the precise size and location of each crater, and even set off the explosions that formed the craters in the order that they were formed on the moon to recreate the landscape. And yes, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trained here!
The volcanic landscape (and close proximity to a volcanic, not-man-made crater) make for a pretty realistic landscape as well. Although they may, on occasion, still use the field to test equipment, Cinder Lake Crater Field is mostly just used for awesome ATVing and for wannabe astronauts. Actually, the more I think about it, the better the crater fields sound…since they have gravity and all.