Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

NASA tests spacesuits in Oregon, echoing 1960s race to space

NASA tests spacesuits in Oregon, echoing 1960s race to space

NASA is testing spacesuits designed for a return to the moon at a number of rugged locations around Bend, John Day and Crater Lake.

Apollo astronauts trained and tested their spacesuits in Oregon during the 1960s because the natural volcanic landscape closely resembles the moon.

Big Obsidian Flow is the youngest lava flow in Oregon

Oregon Space Exploration Test Sites

A crew of about 10 people came to Oregon to test the new suits at some of those same sites, which includes Lava Butte, the Big Obsidian Lava Flow, Fort Rock and Hole in the Ground along the Outback Scenic Byway and the Yapoah Lava Flow at McKenzie Pass.

They also visited a number of new sites including Pumice Slope at Crater Lake National Park, the Painted Hills at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument along the Journey through Time Scenic Byway, the Skylight Cave and Little Nash Crater.

The reason Starlight Cave was chosen as a test site is because, for the first time ever, NASA is testing spacesuits designed specifically for caves exploration.

The suits are being designed to display GPS maps, show heart rates, respond to voice commands and assist with detailed image sampling. Exactly what you’d expect from a 21st century spacesuit.

Oregon has 29 designated Scenic Byways!

So, get in the car, take some pics, and reignite your soul. Quick note: please check for travel alerts, as well as the road and weather conditions. This free guide to Oregon scenic byways might come in really handy too.

Train for a space mission? Tread the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, where astronauts have trained to walk on the moon! This byway has more than 500-miles of volcanic highlights and, of course, many waterfalls. Stay at Prospect Historic Hotel-Motel & Dinner House.

Outdoor Activities

The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a treasure of Earth’s history that covers the past 55 million years of time since the Dinosaurs died out and mammals took over the world.


Visit the Painted Hills: distinguished by varied stripes of red, tan, orange, and black, this area preserves a sequence of past climate change.

Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild is ready to share Oregon with you: it’s environment, culture, and heritage. Combine gracious hospitality with ambiance at an inspected and approved Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild member Inn.

Hospitality Update: With guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon will again require masks in some outdoor public spaces and all indoor public spaces, that includes the inns of the Oregon B&B Guild. This measure is intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant and went into effect Friday, Aug. 13. 

Let’s all be respectful and safe and follow the guidance of the CDC. Our inns will continue to do everything in our power to keep you safe. Not sure if your favorite inn is open? Give them a call as they just might be.