Dems Push for National Park on the Moon

by Andrew Johnson

Two Democrats are proposing legislation to establish the first lunar national park, marking the site of the Apollo missions.

The bill, proposed by representatives Donna Edwards of Maryland and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, aims to begin securing the area before “commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon.” Both congresswomen serve on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; Johnson is the committe’s ranking member, and Edwards is the ranking member on the Space Subcommittee.

If passed, the park would have to be established in the next year. According to the text, the United States would also apply for World Heritage site designation from the United Nations to recognize the landings of the Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972.

The moon doesn’t “belong” to any nation as it currently stands. The Moon Treaty of 1979 declared that the moon would benefit all nations and banned any claims of sovereignty over celestial bodies, as well as any ownership of property on them. As of 2013, 15 countries have signed on to the treaty, with none being countries that have gone into space, such as the U.S. and Russia.

As Republican primary voters will recall, during his campaign for the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich promised the U.S. would have a “permanent base on the moon” by the end of his second term, as well as regular missions to Mars.