Last week, NASA released some preservation policy guidelines for the historic Apollo moon landing sites. It sets guidelines for driving near and flying over the Apollo moon landing sites in an attempt to preserve them. This is probably a good idea to protect these sites, and I’m a supporter of the idea.
The publication of the guidelines bring up some interesting ideas which have long been talked about but never really worked out.
The Google Lunar X PRIZE actually offers inventive prizes to the tune of several million dollars for observing some of these historic sites. And let’s be honest, who’s to stop them from doing so?
The only real legal precedent that governs operations on the moon is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The general tone of this treaty in regards to the historic preservation guidelines, ratified by 100 countries and signed by another 26, is that no country can claim ownership of the moon (or any other body in space).
It has long been noted that while a fine start, it really does nothing to address private operations on the moon. It was created to be politically expedient in a time when it seemed that the two ...