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Why Iceland? Twenty minutes after Armstrong stepped onto the Moon, fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin joined him. Upon gazing out at the vast, empty horizon, Aldrin famously described it as “magnificent desolation” – an apt description for Iceland itself. Marooned near the Arctic Circle and set atop some of the world’s most volatile tectonic plates, Iceland is a rumbling, bubbling natural laboratory whose gushing geysers, crashing waterfalls and dancing northern lights can’t help but remind humans of their insignificance in the universe. Add in that 80% of the country is uninhabited and that more than 60% of its rocky, rugged landscape is covered by lava deserts and glaciers, and this Kentucky-sized island could easily be another planet. “Iceland really looks like the Moon. It has this otherworldly landscape, especially in summer when there is less snow and ice on the northern Arctic desert,” said Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson, director of The Exploration Museum in Húsavík, while posing in a replica NASA spacesuit at Hverarönd, an expanse of hot springs, fumaroles and mud pools near Iceland’s Krafla volcanic mountain. “But that’s not the reason why the Apollo astronauts were sent here. It was because of the geology. Nasa wanted them to pick the best rock samples to bring back to Earth. Their exposure to the geology of Iceland and its varied rock assemblages found in glacial outwash channels resembled the complexities of the lunar surface and contributed greatly to their experience as they prepared for lunar exploration.” -BBC Travel