|Image Source: Moon Express from link below|
I'm quite sure this is not what Frank Sinatra ("in other words") was focused on, but its apropos for the post. As excited as I am in a return to the moon, commercialization leads to inevitably waste. If no one "owns" the moon ("in other words"): who is responsible for cleaning it of the eventual human spoilage? When is the moon "polluted" (is it now with remnants of the Apollo missions)? Lastly, will a return to the moon put to rest the conspiracy provocateurs that say we never went, or give their tales a new spin through cognitive dissonance? I think I just answered my last question.
August 4, 2016 – Who owns the Moon? According to the Outer Space Treaty ratified by members of the United Nations in 1967, no one nation or individual. A further agreement in 1979 signed or agreed to by 16 nations governs activities on the Moon including its exploration and use.
Article 4 of that agreement states the “use of the moon shall be the province of all mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development.”
In Article 11 it further states “the moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind.”
It goes on further to state “neither the surface nor the subsurface of the moon, nor any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any State, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity” and that “placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or below the surface of the moon….shall not create a right of ownership over the surface or subsurface of the moon.”
It should be noted that the United States, Russia and China, the world’s most significant space-faring nations, are not signatories to the 1979 United Nations agreement on the Moon. The only nation of consequence in space that is a signatory is India. The lunar agreement governs all other major celestial bodies with the exception of those that come in contact with our Earth. So meteors and meteorites are fair game wherever they land.
In 2015 the United States government enacted the Commercial Space Act which governs commercial exploitation of space resources. The act gives Americans the right to exploit asteroid and other space resources including the Moon. The justification for the act was expressed by the sponsor of the bill, congressman Kevin McCarthy, who states “this bill will unite law with innovation, allowing the next generation of pioneers to experiment, learn and succeed without being constrained by premature regulatory action.” In other words, outer space is open for business to any American with the means to exploit its potential wealth.
Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead
With the legislation to justify the action in place the American government on the basis of a domestic law is forging ahead and given permission to a U.S. private company to send a robotic lunar lander to the Moon in 2017.
Moon Express, a California company, applied to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on April 8, 2016 for flight plan approval to go to the Moon and land on it. They have been okayed by the agency to proceed.
21st Century Tech:
Moon Express Cleared for Lunar Mission to Begin Commercial Mining