Astronauts train on Lanzarote for space missions

STORY: Location: Lanzarote, Spain

These European astronauts are training

for missions on the lunar surface

This volcanic landscape on the Canary Islands

is similar to that of the moon

It’s good field scientist training

for future missions, even to Mars

[Pierre Antoine Tesson/ Planetary geologist]

"The main objective of the course is to do science on the moon, meaning we as astronauts have to go out there and recognize rocks, work together with the scientists on earth to see which samples we need to take, because if you take the right rock samples the moon will tell us, like an open history book, about our own past on earth.”

It’s all part of the European Space Agency’s

‘Pangea’ geology training

It also includes Italy’s Bletterbach Canyon

and the Nordlinger Ries crater in Germany

“It doesn't have erosion on its surface so we can find there rocks that are 3.8 billion years old which are much older than anything we can find on earth. In this archive, if we find the right rocks and bring them home, the scientists can discover a lot of secrets that are important for our self-understanding and our understanding of earth."