We're Not Talking Craters Of The Moon National Monument...

photo of the week for Friday, 2013, July 12
Photographer: Jules Verne

Early this year the folks at Space.com were musing about the possibility of creating interstellar national park sites. Apparently some congressfolk were listening, as a bill has been introduced to protect Apollo lunar landing sites on the Moon by creating a national historical park around them.

"As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the moon," wrote the bill's authors, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), "it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity."

Whether the proposed Apollo Lunar Landing Site National Historical Park legislation goes anywhere remains to be seen. But can you imagine the gear rangers would need to patrol it and provide interpretation to anyone who showed up to get their national parks Passport stamped?

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They'll have to establish it as a park of some kind eventually, in addition to becoming a World Heritage Site. We don't know who owns the moon. I don't know if there is some precedent that says that objects placed on the moon are owned by the country of origin.

Precedent has been sent. I suspect we (world community) will have to do something along the lines of the 1959 Antarctic Tready. The treaty, signed by 45 nations, suspended the claims of seven countries for territory in the region. Today, Antarctica is designated as “a continent for science,” and only used for peaceful purposes.

Likewise, the moon, does not belong to any nation, but should be governed under an international treaty that bars countries from owning or exploiting its land.