I mean, god damnit. How stupid can our Congress get? I can't believe that this bullshit is even being proposed when all the other legislation is broken and they can't even agree on where to piss. Jesus. Overboard with these fools.
The US has National Historical Parks in 26 states, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, but its next such park could be located as far from US shores as any explorer has ever traveled – namely, the Moon. On Monday, Representatives Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) – both members of the House Science, Space, and …
True. The current congress is pretty worthless, but I don't think this bill was written for anything more than political posturing. Based on the press that the lunar park has gotten, its intent was probably to drum up support for space exploration and to bring to light the lack of funding for NASA. The humorous side effect is that if for some reason this bill did actually pass, they'd most likely have to allocate funding for making it a reality.
Until the USA has the capability (not just technical, but political will and money) of going back to the Moon and installing a velvet rope and posting notices, then maybe they stop the empty rhetoric.
If they take too much time to reinstall their mojo, they might find a nice Chinese lady with her own fence around the Apollo 11 site and selling admission tickets.
I think it would be hilarious if the Chinese went up there and just hucked everything they found into space and denied they found anything there.
Ah, but then the Chinese would be the only people who would really know if the moon landings were fake.
Can't have that. But you saw the bit about accepting donations; this will open a whole cool scenario.
Half the world pays for the Americans to go 'back' to the moon. With a few suitcase nukes. Which will wipe the 'landing sites' completely. This will then be a direct attack on the United States and Celestial Bodies of America as well as a world heritage site, by some terrorists from [insert flavour of the day here]. The United States Space Navy will see it as their duty to protect this new 'ground zero memorial' and will gallantly put garrisons of space marines there, claiming these sites as USCBA territory.
N.B. I don't actually believe that the landings were a fake. But quite a lot of people do.
P.S. If you read this, Mr. Verhoeven and Mr. Levinson, we should talk about the rights; and it'll be OK if we call the 'space marines' something else to gag the nitwits of Games Workshop. Can we also try for Emma Watson in some cool role?
Images have been made of the Apollo landing sites, not just by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO, from NASA, so "suspect"), but by the Chinese Chang'e-2 probe (1.3m resolution, so good enough). Some of the LRO images show the LEM base, its shadow, and tracks from astronauts and rovers.
The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967), which among other things places all celestial bodies and their orbits under international law, and prohibits any state from laying claim to any celestial body or part thereof. So technically the United States is in violation of this treaty by assigning parts of the moon as 'National' Park space.
In reality, however, this treaty, like any other treaty, law, right or constitutional principle, is only as good as the ability of its proponents to enforce it. Once again, the only absolute right, in space or on earth, is the right of might, whether we like it or not. Who has the guns makes the rules.
I know I cop a swath of downvotes every time I say this, but no amount of downvoting can change this simple fact, perhaps most succinctly expressed by Napoleon's famous quote, "Le bon Dieu est toujours du côté des gros bataillons!"
Actually, I think the relevant part of the treaty is Article VI, which says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space ... shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty".
So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law.
What this measure would do, if passed, would mean that any US-based operator that landed on the Moon and then interfered with these sites could get into trouble. That's all it means. In principle it would have no effect on operators based in other countries, although in practice it would be a brave astronaut who put that to the test...
"So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law."
Interesting, but which part of the US? Can someone say, marry 2 women on the moon? 2 of their sisters even? While smoking a big fat spliff? Maybe only for medicinal purposes? How old would they have to be to be able to drink at their wedding? To have sex? Would they be arrested for sodomy on a particular part of the moon and not others? Would certain parts of the moon be so pig ignorant that it didn't exist at all seeing as it's quite obviously several thousand years old?
Joking aside, I suppose they mean federal law as opposed to state law as the above would be. Oh well, I had fun anyway.
Oh, I missed one, could they build a casino on the moon?
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"The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967), which among other things places all celestial bodies and their orbits under international law, and prohibits any state from laying claim to any celestial body or part thereof. So technically the United States is in violation of this treaty by assigning parts of the moon as 'National' Park space."
True. This is a real cold war relic.
At some point property rights will need to be worked out for bodies off Earth.
An interesting case would be if someone finds a really valuable asteroid. Salvage? No, because no one can own anything of "outer space."
ElReg readers are on whole pretty good at understanding the difference between the world as we would like it to be and how it is.
'An interesting case would be if someone finds a really valuable asteroid. Salvage? No, because no one can own anything of "outer space."'
Is that true, it says no state can claim part of a celestial body, it doesn't as far as I know say an individual or indeed company can't. It may also mean the Queen could lay claim to the moon which would make it British territory as part of the Crown Estates, but that's probably cheating.
"The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967)"
But then the US hasn't ratified or signed the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. (15 nations have ratified, 4 have signed but not ratified).
Anyway, maybe Dennis Hope has already sold these plots via his website, in which case they might need a compulsory purchase order first :)
"Since when is the moon part of the territory of the USA?"
Well, we DID plant a flag there (as opposed to just landing one there, which the USA also did!). In fact we planted 6 flags there.
Of course, being territories, they might want to be independent, you never know. They might not like the current "imperial rule" (not that we can do anything about it!).
Maybe there is a future in harvesting green cheese (aka Helium 3).
Given the tendency of the US government to claim anything they have any remote connection to as "theirs" since WWII, I'm not surprised.
What I really wonder is why the real astronauts who risked life and limb (et.al. it took a huge team to pull it off...) to get there aren't revolting against the Kindergarden Puppies who try and play with their achievements and score some pinkie points nowadays.
The ancient rule is "you have what you can keep". The US is rapidly losing just about everything outside their own territory, and they claim bits of the MOON?!! Talk about conceited ostrichism...
Actually, for a birthday when I was about 9 or 10 I was given a ‘Lunar deed’ by my dad, apparently giving me legal ownership of certain acre of the moon, I may have to find this and either hope its smack bang in the middle of the bit the Americans want, or at least include it in my will, for when the rest of the world starts buying up the surface!
I will do them a cheap deal, think about it NASA, what’s an extra $1Billion on top of the budget for this anyway?
The USA has been gone long enough to have lost all rights to try and 'protect' anything up there, while I am sure most nations will respect the sites, the arrogance of the USA is undeniable in this, they are not world police, and certainly not the solar systems police...
Now if the UN decided to give the sites protected status, that is a different matter...
"Now if the UN decided to give the sites protected status, that is a different matter..."
Maybe they could be voted UNESCO (Out of this) World Heritage Sites
That would make a lot of sense (and is not at odds with the National Park idea), as these sites are a monument to one of mankind's greatest achievements.
Oh my, you caught me out. I am sure everyone is now suitably impressed by your superior scientific expertise. I'm so sorry.
Unless, of course, you just wanted to explain my sarcastic comment to the ElReg readership, who might be slightly miffed by the level of knowledge that you credit them with, in an altruistically motivated, misguided attempt to make even them understand the joke.
Then I'm not sorry but rather miffed too; I can wreck my jokes all by myself if I feel the need for it, thank you very much.
"So, I wonder if they will take my National Park Pass to visit there..."
No, they will sell you an enhanced pass though that will. The caveat is that the pass must be placed securely on the windshield. I don't know how your car will run in space though unless it is electric. Oh, be sure to keep the ventilation system off; lunar dust is not nice. Be sure to get the car washed before returning too.
...and then someone point out to Congress that National Parks are supposed to have Rangers to make sure nothing bad happens at (or to) the National Parks and force them to send someone up there to take up the position.
"National Park Service Rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and/or the President of the United States." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_Service_Ranger)
"Rangers were royal officials employed to "range" through the countryside providing law and order (often against poaching). Their duties were originally confined to seeing that the Forest Law was enforced in the outlands, or purlieus, of the royal forests. Their duties corresponded in some respects with that of a mounted Forester." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_ranger)
Yeah, I know - but someone with better access to US paperwork can probably trace them back to source material.
Each park has to have a management team and surveyed and marked boundaries as well. There are two kinds of rangers, interpretive rangers (IR) and law enforcement rangers (LEO). Each park has to have at least a chief LEO on regular patrol and they all have IR's as well, but I don't think the IR's are required.
So either they're going to have full management structure in place as well as sending a survey team and a law enforcement officer up there or they're going to screw up national legislation for all the other parks. Maybe this is all backdoor legislation to establish a moon base.
Never even thought of that, brilliant.
I hate these symbolic laws, and - beyond them being a waste of time and money - garbage like this is part of why. It's only a matter of time until some lawyer finds a loophole introduced in a law granting a teddybear citizenship or something and causes very, very bad repercussions through precedent.
"So either they're going to have full management structure in place as well as sending a survey team and a law enforcement officer up there or they're going to screw up national legislation for all the other parks."
Ah, it all starts to make sense.
They have finally found another mission for the SLS, one needing regular launches.
ET because (obviously) you can't have any of those illegal aliens (well they are trespassing) coming on the site.
The last time the US politicians had a tantrum and shut down government - they actually hired people to go out onto remote hiking trails in unmanned parks to declare them closed and stop visitors
So if the US stopped Nasa's budget under another tantrum they might be forced to launch another Apollo program by the same legislation!
I'd have thought that the US could no more dictate terms with regard to the Apollo sites than the UK could with regard to sunken gold-laden ships in the Atlantic.
I expect to see the Apollo 11 Lunar Module sold off to the highest bidder by an enterprising Chinese businessman within the next 30 years.
I propose we send a Congressional panel to the moon to verify the remaining historical suitability of this national park. I think sending Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Cantor, Dianne Feinstein and Mitch McConnell up there would be a good start. 5 people is a lot to fit on a trip to the moon, but we can save weight on the mission by removing oxygen and fuel for the return.
worse really .. most idiots can search "Moon Treaty" .. and come up with the Outer Space Treaty that was ratified by Congress and signed by LBJ in 19 freekin' 67 .. do these guys have dozens of staff .. no one thought to check existing law or treaty ?
"outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". However, the State that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object."
IOW .. Congress can not declare an historical site on the moon without violating the treaty .. the US may own the objects left .. however .. one might make the case .. under international salvage law and precedent .. that the US could not do a damn thing if a private party were to .. say .. go salvage a lunar rover or US flag .. as the objects are clearly abandoned and not within US territory
'Outer Space Treaty' my foot. That was written 50 years ago, in the stone age. We have holistically enhanced, super-effective raiquasa-trained Hyper-Ninja-Lawyers now who would prove that that treaty was actually the secret recipe for the original 11 KFC spices mix.
And when there's evidence that the Iraqis are hiding weapons of mass destruction there? And the Norks already have plans to destroy the sites? Isn't it America's duty then to protect to the best of their ability? Even if it would require the small inconvenience of keeping untrustworthy people from entering the premises (read that as getting anyone who makes a TSA dog blink off the surface.)?
Joke icon, because someone might take it serious. It ain't.
Yeah, that would be the same treaty that says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty"
In other words, if you're based in the USA, then you'd better follow US law on the Moon.
all NASA have been in accordance with the the relevant laws. Doesn't Congress/the President have ultimate oversight of all US activities in space? But what we're talking about here is discarded equipment. Does a non-functioning spacecraft sitting on the lunar surface somehow constitute an activity? In any case the requirement to make a law is not an authorization of any law. Specifically, if the law violates other articles of the treaty as this one does, it's dead in the water.
On another point, how could there be a world heritage site on the moon? isn't the Moon by definition out of this world.
It just hasn't stopped twitching yet. Congress is working hard to bury one of the best examples of human achievement.
The AP (7/10) reports on the budget cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee, focusing primarily on those to the IRS. The article notes there were also cuts to NASA as part of a “$41 billion shift from nondefense programs like NASA, education and research on renewable energy to the Pentagon.” NASA was also cited again for a $1 billion reduction compared to 2013 levels, part of the “painful cuts” in the House budget.
The US government needs funds for the new world order. Or, at least the money to make sure its citizens stay in line.
I don't think other countries will like the US laying claim to part of the moon. Even if it is just a small part, it sets a bad precedent.
The big issue is avoiding having some commercial enterprise go up there and bring back souvenirs. Though once a commercial business has the capability to bring back enough stuff to make a real dent in their mission cost, they'll probably be on to bigger ideas like figuring out a way to darken the moon square miles at a time to put a Nike Swoosh (TM) visible from the earth...
We'd honestly be better off if the entire moon was a national park, whether it is a US, Chinese or Indian park wouldn't matter, just keep it out of the hands of the people who want to sell it!
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits all claims of national sovereignty in space. That also includes the UN because it is merely a conglomerate of sovereigns.
The USA can puff about and say its a park, but they have not a whit of authority to enforce the park boundaries.
One owns what they can defend. The USA owns nothing of the moon's surface, its dirt, its resources, nothing. But they do retain title to all the junk they left strewn about.
Visit the Eros Project website for an education on Property Rights in Space.
It seems that by now the U.S. has not only mastered the internet, but now wants to dominate celestial bodies as well. The U.S. congress should be advised to check what the very same congress ratified back in 1966/67. But obviously, such legal quibbles never stopped the U.S. to do whatever they want, so I expect the first lunar park rangers to be hired in 2014...
Does it matter? It still costs far more for any country to go to the Moon than any of the minerals they could conceivably return.
The human race needs to learn to live in bare space. Not some planetoid satellite that contains almost no resources.
If we can live in bare space, we can live anywhere.
Yup, should have kept the momentum going...
Should have been a permanent base set up a few years latter, say mid 80s,
By the mid 90s this should have been fully self sufficient, with hydroponics, fuel processing, solar panels etc. Plus the ability to produce building materials from the local environment, so no further need to ship anything bulky from Earth.
By the mid 00s we should have had private enterprises there, side shoots to the main base. Doing drug research, investigating mining, the beginnings of a high cost tourist trade. By then regular trips to and from the moon should have been in place, say monthly.
And by the mid 10s, the tourist costs for a visit should have been down to say a few 10k.
Hmm, I want my £20,000 trip to the moon, and I want it now :-/
TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, Congress can't even pay people on the ground. Oh wait, that is incorrect - THEY ARE able to pay AND give themselves a raise. Not only are they UNABLE to pay their employees, but they made SURE workers couldn't get financial assistance - unemployment, etc. Now they want money for a Space Park that no one can visit. Next, they will need BILLIONS for an oversight committee to handle a MOON PARK. I, in the interest of Science however, would be willing to pay for each of them to take this trip. Start with the white House, as the first family, they should be first.
What happens when the Congressional OverSpent committee can't come to a budget agreement? Oh sorry, you are laid off one day a week, oxygen is non-essential - and oh yea, we are closing the park.
I have to give it to this administration. Just when you think it can't get any more ludicrous the Libs remind me not to underestimate them, This administration is a joke. Now a Universally embarrassingly bad joke.
I initially read the article that by giving it national park status, they could then apply to the UN world heritage agency to make it protected under that as well. So may be one leads to the other, which would then make a little more sense?
In other news, I own my little acre on the moon, so hopefully they national park/world heritage site is not to close to that :)
There's the company on the web selling plots of if (and most other planets) your still interested (using the old loophole that the space treaty forgot to mention about individual owning land). I know its probably nonsense, and I've not checked in a while, but I've not seen anything that 100% proves this loophole was nonsense, and the company could not sell of the plots to individuals!
Even if the loophole was valid, the land still has to be claimed before they could sell it.
You can't just say, "I own the Moon", and start selling plots to people and it be valid.
Claiming land normally involves someone going there in person (or on someone's behalf) and most laws also require occupancy of the land for the claim to be valid. i.e. build a mine etc.
Now if someone privately funds a trip to the moon, builds a base there, and then claims that patch is theirs, then that could be a different matter.
Maybe the Congress could make national parks of other pieces of junk that the US has abandoned in slightly more accessible places, for example.
maybe other contributors can suggest more.
It's not that we ( The U.S.) are claiming the moon. We'd be preserving an historic moment in man kinds history. Personally, I think the world working together in space and on the lunar surface is a good place for humanity to start anew, and be rid of the bias and hate that everybody has for each other.
Sorry Congress -- 40 years ago, the US was on track to bases and exploration of the moon by the end of the century. But we decided that instead we would divide up the nation's treasure with the fiction that throwing money at poverty and other perceived ills would work. Actually the federal government knew (and know) the fiction, but also knew that giving free stuff to somebody gets their votes.
Fortunately, China and other nations have read the US history that the "manned space race" was an economic driver and picked up the baton that was thrown down. So yes, there will be a "national park", but it won't be under the US Department of the Interior. But everybody in the US will be able to equally send congratulations to the country that does put their stamp on whole areas of the moon.
One in six Ameerkans are now in receipt of Food Stamps (now now as SNAP I think) that's about 50 MEEELION people. USA is bankrupt, hated by most of the rest of the world and run by tossers. It won't be any kind of force to be reckoned soon certainly within my lifetime, much like the UK is now. China and India will be the new world powers. USA can lay claim to as much of the Moon as they want, the rest of us will just point and giggle at the retards they keep electing.