The Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, a bill introduced last week in the House of Representatives, would establish historic preservation sites where the Apollo 11 through 17 astronauts touched down and walked on the lunar surface. The parks would contain all artifacts and footprints left on the moon and, within a year, the sites would be submitted to UNESCO to become a World Heritage Site.
This is the first legislation ever proposed with the express aim of preserving and protecting something beyond the confines of Earth. And as such, it could be seen as an early step in the nascent field of space environmentalism.
Space may seem like a vast untapped resource, a new New World where dreams of conquest and colonization can play out. But the moon, planets, and other bodies in our solar system are pristine places of stark beauty.
Nearly everyone knows Neil Armstrong’s iconic “One Small Step” speech. But far fewer remember the unpracticed first words of Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, as he stepped off the lunar lander.