Space Lawyers Advocate for Protecting Lunar Landmarks

A high-definition photograph of the Moon, surrounded by stars.

Credit: Alexander Andrews/Unsplash

When you visit a national park, monument, or another protected site, you’re bound to and harbored by laws that protect that landmark. Littering will earn you a fine, as will starting a fire where you’re not supposed to; in return, you can enjoy the landmark because other parties are prohibited from engaging in dangerous practices like hunting endangered wildlife or removing historical artifacts. It’s a generally agreeable form of give-and-take that allows people to experience meaningful sites over multiple generations.But what happens when meaningful sites exist away from Earth? Space law experts are calling for implementing legal guidelines that would protect lunar landmarks, like the famous bootprint Neil Armstrong stamped into the soil in 1969. Michelle Hanlon, co-director of the Air and Space Law Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law, founded a nonprofit called For All Moonkind to recognize and preserve space sites that contribute to “our common human heritage.”


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