Sebastian Fischer crouches in front of Meteor Crater. Scientists come here to get a close-up view of what an impact crater on Mars or another planet or moon might look like. This image was taken June 26
Apollo Test Capsule
Meteor Crater is an analog site for the moon. This Apollo command module (a "boilerplate," meaning it did not fly) serves as a reminder that Apollo astronauts trained here in the 1960s to prepare for their missions. This image was taken June 26, 2012.
Volcanic Crater Colton
Unlike Meteor Crater, Colton is a volcanic crater. Called a maar, it was formed by a "giant steam bomb," in the words of intern Ryan Jackson, of hot lava mixed with ground water. This image was taken June 25, 2012.
At Colton Crater
Kyle Leaf checks out Colton Crater from the bottom.
Interns Relax at Colton Crater
Interns Rachel Kronyak, Antonio Aguirre and Alisa Bochnowski (front row, left to right) and Amber Keske and John Gemperline (back row) relax at Colton Crater. This image was taken June 25, 2012.
A Cinder Cone Volcano
When seen from above, it's easy to see why SP Crater, with its nearly perfect symmetry, is considered a textbook example of a cinder cone volcano. Also prominent is SP's distinctive tongue of black lava. This image was taken Nov. 14, 2012.
SP Crater in Arizona
SP Crater is one of about 600 small volcanoes in Arizona's San Francisco Volcanic Field. Scientists think these volcanoes, like the ones on Mars, are hotspots—places where excessive heat below the surface melts the crust. This image was taken Jan. 1, 2012.
SP Crater's Black Lava
Melissa Gaddy gets a closer look at SP Crater's black lava. This image was taken June 24, 2012.
Arizona's Painted Desert
Arizona's Painted Desert, located between the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest National Park, is a good model for the badlands terrain found on Mars. The image was taken on June 25, 2012.
Fossils in the Petrified Forest
The petrified logs scattered around Petrified Forest aren't the park's only fossils. Other fossils include dinosaurs, reptiles, fish and amphibians. The oldest fossils date back more than 200 million years. This image was taken June 25, 2012.