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House passes bill that attempts to protect Apollo Moon sites

The House today passed a bill that would require any American business planning a Moon mission to agree to not disturb the Apollo lunar landing sites.

[The bill] requires any federal agency that issues a license to conduct a lunar activity to require the applicant to agree to abide by recommendations in the 2011 NASA report “NASA’s Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of U.S. Government Artifacts” and any successor recommendations, guidelines or principles issued by NASA.

All well and good, but this does nothing to stop other nations from touching those sites. Moreover, making all of those sites and whatever the astronauts did there totally sacrosanct is not reasonable. On the later Apollo landings the astronauts used a rover to travel considerable distances. Should every spot the astronauts visited by now considered holy? If anything, scientists will wish to return and gather more data at these locations to better understand the initial Apollo results.

Not that any of this really matters. In the long run the decision on how much these sites should be protected will be made by the people who live on the Moon. I suspect, as pioneers living on the edge of survival, they will have less interest in making memorials to past achievements and be more focused on getting things done, now.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Max

    With privately commissiond rockets available, the one-of-a-kind artifacts will be worth far more than Luna rocks if you’re a billionaire private collector.
    Expect the landing sites to be the objects of a “Gold rush” race to retrieve them first for the highest bidding. Especially now their value just went up.

    I’m not saying this to be cruel or prophetic, One only needs to look at any ancient sites that have been excavated on earth to know that human nature is self fulfilling. (Do you have an Egyptian artifact? Do you want to buy one? Perhaps one from Pompeii?

    Gates would want to “erase” the site to say the lunar landing never happened, Zuckerberg would target the site with graffiti, Bezos would put it on eBay. (China will make replicas so that everyone can have a piece of authenticated fake artifacts)
    Take lots of photographs, there’s no way to secure a site like this. Hand slapping doesn’t work.

    Wayne might know, wasn’t there a TV show in the 70s that was predicated on a junk man building a rocket to retrieve space junk from the moon for resale?

  • Ian C.

    We had to deal with that during the GLXP. NASA coordinates procedures for approaching the protected sites (for landers and rovers), but they’re not too burdensome. And the heritage sites are so few and rather small that they won’t get in the way of other missions or settlers, unless one explicitly wants to visit them.

    Whether other countries (or companies registered in them) will violate the wishes of the US will be seen. While it’s not legally binding for others, violating the sites might provoke diplomatic and other reactions.

  • Col Beausabre

    ” While it’s not legally binding for others, violating the sites might provoke diplomatic and other reactions.”

    Did that stop ISIS or the Taliban”

  • Ian C.

    Col Beausabre,

    It’s still a difference whether rogue actors aim to attack Albanian or American property.

  • Jeff

    Max – That show you spoke of was “Salvage 1” that starred Andy Griffith. I remember it well.

    From the Wiki listing:
    The pilot centers on Harry Broderick (Andy Griffith) who owns the Jettison Scrap and Salvage Co. and is a specialist in reclaiming trash and junk to sell as scrap. His dream is to recover equipment left on the Moon during Apollo Program missions. In the show’s opening title narration, Harry states:

    “I wanna build a spaceship, go to the Moon, salvage all the junk that’s up there, bring it back and sell it.”

    The Vulture
    Harry builds a spaceship dubbed Vulture, made completely from reclaimed salvage and powered by a chemical called monohydrazine. The main body of Vulture is composed of a Texaco gasoline semi-trailer tank truck with a cement mixer as the capsule. This is augmented with three shorter rocket boosters placed 120 degrees around the main tank.

    Here is one guy’s remembrance. Lots of good history and backstory.

  • Max

    Jeff, thanks. Brings back good memories of my childhood.

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