Houston: We Have A Gift Shop!
July 14, 2013

Houston: We Have A Gift Shop!

Typically, law making in Congress is restricted to this country and a few foreign affairs, but now Congress is looking into law making that would affect the surface of our Moon.

On July 8, 2013, Representative Donna Edward and Texas’ very own Eddie Bernice Johnson brought forward a new bill called the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act. The purpose of this bill is to establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the Moon.  According to Edwards, this act is necessary to ensure the scientific data and cultural significance of the Apollo artifacts left are not disturbed by future lunar explorations.

The idea is a great one, but some experts say that this new bill could bring up issues with the 1967 outer space treaty that was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States of America. The treaty puts a bar on any claim of national sovereignty over any lunar territory, whether that may be for park space or any other plan. In agreement with the treaty, the bill proposed by these two representatives limits the parks components to the equipment itself. Some experts say, however, that the part in that determines the area of the park is ridiculous. According to the bill, the area of the park covers the entire lunar surface that was touched by astronauts and any instruments used during the Apollo program, which lasted from 1969 to 1972.

Many, including James Dustan, a veteran space lawyer, and members of the United Nations, agree with Joanne Gabrynowicz, when she says that “the fact that a lunar rover or other object has traversed lunar territory does not constitute a claim.” James Dustan says that the bill would get a “warmer international reception” if the United States were to just take ownership of American equipment residue left on the moon and were to ask for the United Nations approval. We shall see, however, with time how this whole process is handled.

Personally, I think the Moon belongs to the entire world and therefore no one single country should have ownership of any piece of Moon real estate, whatsoever. I believe that as soon as we, as a country, try to start having ownership over the Moon, soon other countries will follow. Conflict will arise and will divide us up even more. When it comes to space exploration, I think we should work together as a whole, because in the end it will benefit us all.

Image Credit: Darren Whittingham / Shutterstock

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