Opinion

WHITTINGTON: Ted Cruz And Gary Peters Have A Great Plan To Preserve The Apollo Moon Landing Sites

Mark Whittington Contributor

Texas. Sen Ted Cruz has a bipartisan new plan to preserve the Apollo moon landing sites. If Congress wants to preserve a key piece of history, members should act swiftly to approve it.

Along with Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cruz has introduced the “One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act.” The bill seeks to preserve the Apollo lunar landing sites, among other parts of the moon that have historical significance. Another great outcome that could come from the proposal? It could help to foster space tourism in the decades to come.

Presently, no statutory or treaty protection exists for the Apollo landing sites. Any entity, government or private, could in theory land on one of these places, disrupting the astronaut footsteps that are persevered in the lunar soil because of the relative lack of an atmosphere and carry off trophies or hardware left behind, possibly for sale on the private market back on Earth.

However, the Cruz-Peters proposal would discourage interference with the Apollo landing sites, and enable them to become destinations for lunar tourists.

Places such as Tranquility Base could be cordoned off, and a visitors’ center and observation site could be set up on the edge of the site.

Future lunar tourists would be transported from a lunar colony to the place where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon decades ago. They would be able to disembark, enter the visitors’ center, and proceed to the observation area. They would be able to see, through a transparent wall, where history was made on July 20, 1969.

Then, after passing through the gift shop, they would return to their transport vehicle and back to the lunar colony.

Space tourism is already a business. A company called Space Adventures, in partnership with Russia, has already taken the well-heeled and brave to the International Space Station.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are preparing to take paying customers on suborbital barnstorming jaunts.

Companies such as Bigelow Aerospace plan to construct orbiting “space hotels,” and SpaceX is planning a jaunt around the moon for a Japanese fashion billionaire named Yusaku Maezawa, as well as a group of invited guests on the “Starship” rocket now in development.

The bill offered by Cruz and Peters has taken on special relevance as space agencies around the globe plan on returning to the moon.

When humans establish a lunar colony, it will be designed as a center of science and commerce. Lunar tourism is likely to be a significant revenue stream. Beyond visits to sites of past exploration, the moon has a lot of natural wonders, not the least of which is the sight of the Earth rising over the moon’s surface for visitors in lunar orbit.

The lunar heritage bill could have effects that last far into the future.

Mark Whittington (@MarkWhittington) is the author of Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? and The Moon, Mars and Beyond. He also operates his own blog, Curmudgeons Corner.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.