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NASA To Future Lunar Explorers: Don't Mess With Our Moon Stuff 346

Posted by timothy
from the why-didn't-you-bring-enough-for-the-entire-class? dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA today gently reminded any future Moon explorers that any relics of its Apollo missions or other U.S. lunar artifacts should be off limits and are considered historic sites. NASA issued the reminder in conjunction with the X Prize Foundation and its Google Lunar X Prize competition which will use NASA's Moon sites guidelines as it sifts through the 26 teams currently developing systems and spacecraft to land on the Moon."
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NASA To Future Lunar Explorers: Don't Mess With Our Moon Stuff

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  • Re:Or what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @02:56PM (#40102941)

    If I'm on the moon and see a rover, it's getting solar panels installed.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:05PM (#40103105)
    From the original article:

    The guidelines do not represent mandatory U.S. or international requirements. NASA provided them to help lunar mission planners preserve and protect historic lunar artifacts and potential science opportunities for future missions.

    So basically they're just asking nicely. It doesn't seem like they can actually do anything even if the new spacefarers are based in the United States, and they almost certainly can't do anything if they are based in another country.

  • Of Cource (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:10PM (#40103173)

    It would be a bit embarrassing if someone went there to look at the equipment only to find there is none, so, better forbid it..

  • Re:Or what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Amouth (879122) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:17PM (#40103265)

    not true, Russia put stuff up there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_2 [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Or what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:27PM (#40103381)

    Actually the early colonists signed treaties with the Indians, granting them some land for settling. They didn't just take it. The wars broke-out much later (mid-1700s) when the Indians allied with the French & started fighting back against the British colonists.

    And it wasn't until the 1800s that presidents started ignoring the Supreme Court's determination that Indians had a right to stay settled, per the aforementioned treaties, and started forced migrations of them to the west.

    And final thought: The number one killer of Indians in both continents was not the white man. It was a little tiny germ called smallpox. The Europeans developed a natural immunity after the Black Plague..... the isolated American Indians never did.

  • Re:Or what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:28PM (#40103385) Homepage

    not true, Russia put stuff up there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_2 [wikipedia.org]

    Looks like it's not just the USSR and the USA either --

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artificial_objects_on_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]

    Looks like there's stuff up there from the USSR, USA, Japan, China, India and the European Space Agency (18 nations combined.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:32PM (#40103435)

    Having done a lot of research in space law, I'd like to dispel some of the misconceptions I see being put forth in both the summary and the comments:

    1. These are not rules but rather guidelines and are only directly binding on activities conducted by NASA itself.
    2. However, they are likely to become de facto conditions for any activities licensed, fully or in part, by the U.S. government or other friendly spacefaring nations. At the present, this covers basically all private space activity.
    3. Under the Outer Space Treaty, to which all spacefaring nations are parties, all man-made items on the surface of the moon and other celestial bodies, as well as in orbit, continue to belong to the nations that launched them (with the possible exception of a couple of Soviet landers allegedly sold to Lord British). This policy exists to ensure that launching entities may not absolve themselves of responsibility for damage cause by their objects, on earth or in space, after their use life is over.
    4. Space law does not contain notions of salvage as does maritime law. "lost" or otherwise inaccessible objects may not be removed without their owners' permission.
    5. It is the U.S. government's position that the lunar landing sites remain active research laboratories studying the long-term effects of the lunar environment on man-made objects. This provides them further protections from non-interference under various space law treaties.
    6. None of the other spacefaring nations, China included, are interested in disturbing these sites due to the huge negative backlash they would incur.
    7. No substantive laws forbidding people form messing with these sites exist. Many have advocated extending UNESCO World Heritage Site status to the lunar landing sites, but that regime is premised on territorial sovereignty, which cannot exist in space under the OST. Under the property principles outlined above, however, the owners of space objects (here the U.S. govt.) could sue any private party that succeeded in screwing with the landing sites into the ground.

  • Re:Or what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Amouth (879122) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:46PM (#40103625)

    For historic value the USSR's stuff was there first.

    That is a neat little list, i love the number of missions that where intentional crashes.

  • Re:Or what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @03:56PM (#40103765)

    Actually, there were hundreds of treaties, which did cover a vast majority of the native peoples living in the U.S.
    Many of these treaties are still in force.
    Despite the duplicity of Congress, the Supreme Court, and state governments, these treaties are out there.

    Want to read some of them? Hope your schedule is free this evening:
    http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Kappler/

  • Re:Or what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Politburo (640618) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:42AM (#40109475)
    Was done 35 years ago.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty [wikipedia.org]

    "the State that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object."

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