A national park on the Moon seems like lunacy.
The news that Reps. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) had introduced a bill, H.R. 2617, to create a National Historic Park at the Apollo landing sites immediately turned up on RedEye and similar sardonic news programs, no doubt, because the wording of the bill does not choose “Monument” but “Park.” And a park is something we drive to, park and visit.
At present, visiting the Moon isn’t a live option for anyone, much less a bookable destination for bus tourists, motorists, and motorcycle gangs.
And yet, let’s not roll on the floor, or even LOL: the bill’s fifth “whereas” has a point:
[A]s commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity. . . .
A plausible case could be made for this, and congratulations to the legislators for thinking ahead!
But an even more common-sensible case could be made for the opposite policy, allowing private businesses to reclaim the sites for their own benefit, to promote more tourism. Let them preserve the historic sites on their nickel, rather than on the taxpayers’.
Besides, one could look at those landing sites as containing the detritus of previous holiday excursions. Whereas, (a) leaving litter behind on the beach doesn’t make the beach yours; or (b) discarding one’s car on the freeway for a week constitutes abandonment — just so, Apollo’s lunar sites and debris aren’t really U.S. government property any longer.
The abandoned artifacts are junk. Let them belong to the first enterprises that prove otherwise.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.