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Saru

New bill to create national park on the Moon

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A new US bill is set to preserve the Apollo landing sites due to their historical significance.

Called the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, the bill was introduced Monday (July 8) by Rep. Donna Edwards of (D-Md. ) and was co-sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

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Whilst I totally agree that the Apollo sites should be preserved (as should the landing sites of Russian probes), this bill in the most part is totally meaningless. The US Government, by international law, can not lay claim to the moon or any part of it, it can not, therefore exert any rights over the landing sites. Therefore the US would be totally unable to enforce this Law on non-US nationals (and whilst I don't claim to know anything about US Law I would think that a few lawyers would get very rich if they tried to enforce it on US nationals).

The equipment left on the moon is already protected by international law, as it remains the property of the US Government.

The part of the Bill that does make sense is this part:

The bill also calls for the heads of the Department of the Interior and NASA to "submit the Apollo 11 lunar landing site to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation as a World Heritage Site" no later than one year after the park's establishment.

Getting historic landing sites recognised as World Heritage Sites is a good idea. Not just Apollo 11, but all of the Apollo sites, the Soviet landing sites and indeed landing sites on Mars too.

The protection these sites need and deserve can not come from a unilateral declaration from the US Government, however well meaning, but must be through international cooperation. As it says on the plaque attached to the leg of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Descent Stage "... for all Mankind".

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All one really needs to know about the bill:

Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)

:whistle:

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How about an international park for human achievement? Does everything have to be America *&%$ yea!

Lets not forget that they got the rocket that takes people to the moon with help from the a Nazi war criminal and 1000 other odd Nazi scientists they pardoned and brought into America.. but hey.. Whatever!! I guess they don't call us the human RACE for nothing.

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All I can say to that is best of luck enforcing that if it passes USA. I don't think it will for some reason.

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All one really needs to know about the bill:

Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)

Which means nothing to those of us the aren't American and take little notice of US politics.

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I was surprised after I read the original post. I can appericate the idea to preserve human history on the moon. Regardless of which nation wants to 'own' the moon, or what have you, it's human history that should be preserved, not one country's national history. Beyond our Earth, what matters is that we are Human. I don't think that anyone or thing outside of our planet would even understand our concept of nationality.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent: What I would like to point out:

After reading the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which is located here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty_of_1967

This section states:

"The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies."

The only way I do see the US loopholing this is that the above doesn't say anything about 'part' of the Moon.

Certainly food for thought!

Kind Regards :)

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How about an international park for human achievement? Does everything have to be America *&%$ yea!

Well Apollo WAS a US project and it DID beat the Soviet Union, so what is the problem with the US taking pride in one of mankinds greatest achievements. If it had been the Union Flag planted on the Moon I'd be shouting about it.

Lets not forget that they got the rocket that takes people to the moon with help from the a Nazi war criminal and 1000 other odd Nazi scientists they pardoned and brought into America.. but hey.. Whatever!!

A massive over simplification and distortion showing very little comprehension of the reality... but hey,, Whatever!!

I guess they don't call us the human RACE for nothing.

I don't get the relevance of this comment at all.

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The only way I do see the US loopholing this is that the above doesn't say anything about 'part' of the Moon.

Article II states:

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.

As this includes everything outside of the Earth it means that no nation can claim sovereignty over any part of any celestial object including the Moon, so there is no loophole there.

As I said in my original post though, the US DOES retain ownership of the Apollo equipment left on the Moon. Article VIII states:

A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party of the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return.

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Here is the actual purposed bill:

http://beta.congress.gov/113/bills/hr2617/BILLS-113hr2617ih.pdf (it's a PDF file - havn't linked a pdf before, so hope it works) If it doesn't Google will.

What I find interesting is how it is titled:

To establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on

the Moon, and for other purposes.

"...and for other purposes."

Mmm... let's see... what might them other purposes be. I do wonder!

Kind Regards :)

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for other purposes.

"...and for other purposes."

Mmm... let's see... what might them other purposes be. I do wonder!

Kind Regards :)

possibly for the creation of a monument

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possibly for the creation of a monument

Wonder if they'll also charge an admission fee. What about parking? ;)

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Wonder if they'll also charge an admission fee. What about parking? ;)

well in international law if I'm understanding it right they would own the structure but not the territory so in theory they could.

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absolutely straightforward.. The USA retains ownership of the various artifacts left on the Moon (as described in the Treaty of 1967) but CANNOT have control of a "National Historical Park" to include all areas where exploration has been involved.

Simply: The USA would be in breach of the Treaty if it attempts to apportion any part of the Moon to a Park, that is under exclusive control by the USA.

What would be sensible is to have dialogue in the UN where the Treaty could be varied to allow this.

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What would be sensible is to have dialogue in the UN where the Treaty could be varied to allow this.

I don't think you would even need to amend the treaty. The setting up of UN recognised, "Outer Space Sites of Importance to Humanity" (not a very catchy name but the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment) could protect such sites whilst still preserving the Outer Space Treaty.

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But what about all those people who have already put deposits on moon real-estate? :whistle:

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But what about all those people who have already put deposits on moon real-estate? :whistle:

A foole and his money is soone parted.
- Dr. John Bridges, 1587
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Even on Earth - the US can not create a "National Park" in some other nations territory (unless the other nation gives it's okay I assume) - No country can... And no country can create one on another planet or planetary body...

This strikes me as a simple case of a politician who actually had a good idea (in concept anyway) but did not do their research on the particulars... If the bill had been worded to approach the UN to madate the landing site as a

"Universal Heritage/Historical Preserve" then I would be 100% for this idea...

That being said - If this bill carried a foolproof plan to enact actual tourism of the site - for the teeming throngs that would want to go there (and back) - then yeah I'd say "do it!!!!"...

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It seems a pointless waste of time and effort. If the Chinese or Russians or Iranians or Japanese decide they want to spend the money to go there THEN deface or destroy the hardware America left there decades ago then so be it. It would just show how petty they are and would do exactly nothing about changing the historical record. Those landing sites represent one of the proudest achievements of which MANKIND can boast. America did it because Americans could afford to do it and made it happen. The Chinese can now afford to follow and I wish them good luck with their explorations. Same with the Russians and any other group who have a desire to do something wonderful :)

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I don't think anyone is overly concerned about a government destroying the sites, but perhaps looking long term to the time when ordinary "tourists" are there... Remember - just walking around will obliterate the historic first footprint (to my mind the most important 'artifact' of the landing)...

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Posted (edited)

If the Chinese or Russians or Iranians or Japanese decide they want to spend the money to go there THEN deface or destroy the hardware America left there decades ago then so be it.

That is missing the point hugely. It is like saying if people want to deface the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge or any other site of world importance then so be it. Such acts would be abhorrent to sane, rational people everywhere. The Apollo sites are every bit as significant as any protected site on Earth.

Further more it is not national governments we need to worry about. We are on the verge of a commercial revolution in spaceflight. Passengers will soon be making regular flights into space. Commercial companies are building launchers independently of national governments and (thanks to the Google Lunar XPRIZE) the first privetly funded non-governmental unmanned moon mission is likely to occur before the end of 2015.

The XPRIZE organisers have cooperated with NASA and have rules to prevent damage to historically important sites, but others will follow. One day the Moon maybe a tourist site. How will mankind view us if we allow Armstrong and Aldrin's foot prints to destroyed by a tourist?

The complaints most people have here are not about the intention of the bill, I think must support that, it is about the US having no jurisdiction in space.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Interesting conversation.

I was previously aware of the "push" to protect the site(s), but not the other helpful info given here.

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Posted (edited)

By respect to a great achievement of humanity to walk on the moon for the first time, yes I think the landing site of the Appollon mission should be preserved. But the moon or any other planets in the solar system do not belong to the United State. So, I am not sure why a bill passed in this country should be of any use. I think it is more at a United Nation council that such decisions should be made. Every country with a space program should have a say in this matter. The moon landing has been succeeded by the U.S through it's space program NASA but this is about the humanity as a whole.

Edited by sam_comm
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I would like to see them protected, but it is a matter for the UN really. I think they just want something to put in the news.

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That is missing the point hugely. It is like saying if people want to deface the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge or any other site of world importance then so be it. Such acts would be abhorrent to sane, rational people everywhere. The Apollo sites are every bit as significant as any protected site on Earth.

Further more it is not national governments we need to worry about. We are on the verge of a commercial revolution in spaceflight. Passengers will soon be making regular flights into space. Commercial companies are building launchers independently of national governments and (thanks to the Google Lunar XPRIZE) the first privetly funded non-governmental unmanned moon mission is likely to occur before the end of 2015.

The XPRIZE organisers have cooperated with NASA and have rules to prevent damage to historically important sites, but others will follow. One day the Moon maybe a tourist site. How will mankind view us if we allow Armstrong and Aldrin's foot prints to destroyed by a tourist?

The complaints most people have here are not about the intention of the bill, I think must support that, it is about the US having no jurisdiction in space.

Every site you named has been tampered with in some way by tourists. The Apollo site will need a large protective dome placed on top of it or the site won't last a year. Or treated like area 51 lol

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