Exposing PseudoAstronomy

July 10, 2013

Apollo Lunar Landing Sites to Be National Parks?


Um … huh? I’ve seen this article now in at least three different places, so I thought it was worth a quick post. (And here’s one that goes into more detail.)

Basically, two Representatives to the US House, one from Maryland and the other from Texas, have filed a bill that would designate each Apollo landing site (yes, the ones on the moon) to be National Parks, putting the US National Park Service in charge of them. And that the Apollo 11 site be submitted to the UN organization to be designated a World Heritage site. Both representatives are Democrats.

This is stupid.

Okay, I understand the idea, and why the Apollo sites should be preserved. And it’ll happen — after all, it was on an episode of Futurama, though they weren’t exactly sure where the sites were on the moon.

But the US has zero jurisdiction. I’ve covered this a few times, like back in 2008 in my post on why you shouldn’t “buy a star,” or my podcast episode 37 on space law. As far as I can tell, the same thing still applies.

Basically, the US has signed a treaty that states that no nation can claim an extraterrestrial object in ownership. Like, the US planted a flag on the Moon but that doesn’t mean we can now claim it’s US territory. You can probably see where this is going … since we can’t claim the Moon as US territory, how can we possibly designate it a US National Park, and then put it under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service, a part of the US government?

As for the US designating it a “world heritage site,” sure … except it’s not part of Earth, the “world.”

As I said, I understand the intent, and it’s too far away from an election for this to be voter-playing, but I suggest these two reps take a 10-minute course in space law. What they are proposing violates at least one international treaty.

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