In June 2016, in the small town of Arco, Idaho, several dozen visitors set down temporary stakes to be near Mars—actually, a version of Mars, located 18 miles southwest of Arco on Route 24 in the Craters of the Moon (COTM) National Monument and Preserve. Named in the 1920s when the moon’s visible craters were still thought to be of volcanic origin, COTM’s terrain is geologically similar to that of Mars: craters formed by volcanic eruptions; swaths of basaltic rock; no standing surface water. Its physical environment provides an analog for Mars, one of many around the world. The…
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