Two House Democrats have proposed legislation that would establish a national historical park on the surface of the moon to mark where the Apollo missions landed between 1969 and 1972.
The bill from Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) would create the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park. The park would be comprised of all artifacts left on the surface of the moon from the Apollo 11 through 17 missions.
The bill says these sites need to be protected because of the anticipated increase in commercial moon landings in the future.
Under the legislation, the park would be established no later than one year after the bill passes and would be run jointly by the Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
This would actually be a useless piece of Federal creep giving NASA and the DOI the power and funds to do the impossible. Neither one has access to the moon. All they can do is draw up plans for a possible future moon landing.
Furthermore if commercial flights take place to the moon, it will probably be decades from now, and none of the participants will be in any way bound by any measures of Congress.
American law does not apply to the moon. A point that is probably lost on two Democrats and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The measure would allow the government to accept donations from companies and foreign governments to help manage the landing sites and “provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park.”
After one year, Interior and NASA would have to reach an agreement on how to manage the site, including how to monitor it, managing access to the sites and cataloguing the items in the park.
Charles Bolden, who showed no sign of accepting Carnesale’s advice. He noted that a number of nations have expressed interest, to varying degrees, in human lunar exploration. “NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission,” he said. “NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime.“I don’t know how to say it any more plainly,” he concluded. “NASA does not have a human lunar mission in its portfolio and we are not planning for one.”
“America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz (at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat with significant increases expected in the near future) until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves. The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.”It appears that we will have wasted our current ten plus billion dollar investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.
For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President’s plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.
Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.
Commander, Apollo 11