National Park On The Moon: Lunar Act Would Protect Artifacts In Space
The United States should establish a national park on the moon, says two Congressional Democrats.
The two House of Representative members, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, have proposed legislation to designate artifacts from American moon landings as part of a national park. The purpose is to protect these artifacts from commercial moon traffic. (At least one company, Golden Spike Company, is planning on offering commercial moon travel at some point, with tickets priced at a cool $1.5 billion per couple -- and don't worry, that's round-trip.)
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"As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the moon it is necessary to protect the Apollo landing sites for posterity; and establishing the Historical Park under this Act will expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history," the legislation reads.
The national park on the moon would protect all American equipment left behind from the first Apollo 11 mission and subsequent missions, which include lunar landers, a moon car and American flags. It would not, however, be a park in the sense that it protects the lunar surface itself.
The bill, called "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act" or H.R. 2617, would also require the Department of the Interior to ask UNESCO to make the Apollo 11 landing site a World Heritage Site. That would make it the first World Heritage Site to be located outside of Earth.
But even if this far-out bill gets passed, the proposed national park on the moon may run afoul of the UN's 1966 "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies," which the U.S. has signed. The agreement prohibits "national appropriation of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, by any means."
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