Democratic Lawmakers Propose National Park on the Moon

By:  Brian Koenig
07/10/2013
       
Democratic Lawmakers Propose National Park on the Moon

Two House Democrats on Monday pitched a bill that would establish a national historical park on the lunar surface.

In an effort to “protect” the Apollo landing sites for “posterity,” two House Democrats on Monday pitched a bill that would establish a national historical park on the lunar surface to shelter the landing sites of the 1969-1972 Apollo missions. The legislation, proposed by Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), would create the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park, which would safeguard artifacts left on the moon’s surface — such as flags and the bottom halves of lunar landers — from the Apollo 11 through 17 landings.

According to the bill’s sponsors, the legislation was drafted to preserve the sites for posterity, as the legislators anticipate a boost in commercial moon landings in the future. "As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon, it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity," the legislation reads. “Establishing the Historical Park under this Act will expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history.”

“In 1969, led by the late Apollo Astronaut Neil Armstrong, American ingenuity changed history as humanity took a giant leap forward on the surface of the moon,” Rep. Edwards asserted Tuesday on the House floor. “That history, as preserved on the lunar surface, is now in danger, as spacefaring commercial entities and foreign nations begin to achieve the technical capabilities necessary to land spacecraft on the surface of the moon.”

In some capacity, space tourism has already made flight, with companies like Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, now making preparations to lift customers into low orbit. Meanwhile, some NASA proponents and lawmakers, such as those who authored this bill, fear that when adventurous vacationers make landing on the moon, they will flock to the Apollo sites, potentially tampering with artifacts and the site itself.

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