Yes, you read that correctly. Some house Democrats have proposed legislation that would make the sites of the moon landing into a U.S. National Historical Park, The Hill has reported. The proposed national park would protect the artifacts of historical significance left on the moon by astronauts during the Apollo missions 11-17, between 1969 and 1972. Some obvious legal questions have been raised about this proposal.
The legislation is being proposed by U.S. Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas). The Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act asserts that the sites should be protected because of an expected increase in commercial space travel in the future. The park would be jointly run by the U.S. Department of the Interior and NASA.
The Act would also permit the government to accept donations from foreign governments and companies to help manage the moon landing sites. The government would also have to submit the Apollo 11 lunar landing site to the U.N for listing as a World Heritage Site.
However, as MNN has pointed out, the existing 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits nations from claiming any territory on the moon, or any other celestial bodies. The moon is deemed “the province of all mankind” in the treaty. The bill attempts to sidestep this by protecting only the artifacts left by the astronauts, and not the surface of the moon where the artifacts sit. This may already be covered in the Outer Pace Treaty, as it grants ownership of the objects brought there to the nations who put them there.
The sites undoubtedly do hold a great deal of significance for humanity, especially as we begin to explore our solar system much more. How do you feel about the moon landing sites being made into a U.S. National Historical Park, and the Apollo 11 landing site potentially being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?