back to article US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

The US has National Historical Parks in 26 states, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, but its next such park could be located as far from US shores as any explorer has ever traveled – namely, the Moon. On Monday, Representatives Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) – both members of the House Science, Space, and …

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  1. Don Jefe
    Pirate

    Damnit

    I mean, god damnit. How stupid can our Congress get? I can't believe that this bullshit is even being proposed when all the other legislation is broken and they can't even agree on where to piss. Jesus. Overboard with these fools.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damnit

      True. The current congress is pretty worthless, but I don't think this bill was written for anything more than political posturing. Based on the press that the lunar park has gotten, its intent was probably to drum up support for space exploration and to bring to light the lack of funding for NASA. The humorous side effect is that if for some reason this bill did actually pass, they'd most likely have to allocate funding for making it a reality.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Damnit

        Hell yeah! Hiring now: Park Ranger on the Moon! Cloning may be involved. Must stay for at least one year and leave beautiful girlfriend behind. Robot assistance provided for free.

        1. Pirate Dave
          Pirate

          Re: Damnit - Free Robot Assistance

          Eh, is the free robot assistant there to help manage the park, or is it a replacement for the beautiful girlfriend left behind?

          1. CowardlyLion

            Re: Damnit - Free Robot Assistance

            You've not seen the movie "Moon" then?

        2. RegW
          Happy

          Re: Damnit

          Well someone has to empty the bins.

  2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    "I'm going and you can't stop me."

    Until the USA has the capability (not just technical, but political will and money) of going back to the Moon and installing a velvet rope and posting notices, then maybe they stop the empty rhetoric.

    If they take too much time to reinstall their mojo, they might find a nice Chinese lady with her own fence around the Apollo 11 site and selling admission tickets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I'm going and you can't stop me."

      I for one would gladly pay the admission fee...

      Although I really wish the UK would partner with China more on all things space...

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: "I'm going and you can't stop me."

        Britain had a great space program way back when. Forget the Chinese.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Eh??

    Wouldn't the US therefore be claiming the landing sites as its own property? That might start something, I think.

    1. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      Re: Eh??

      That's pretty much how we got the majority of this country, by taking it from others.

      I think it would be hilarious if the Chinese went up there and just hucked everything they found into space and denied they found anything there.

      1. andreas koch
        Black Helicopters

        @ Don Jefe - Re: Eh??

        >...

        I think it would be hilarious if the Chinese went up there and just hucked everything they found into space and denied they found anything there.

        <

        Ah, but then the Chinese would be the only people who would really know if the moon landings were fake.

        Can't have that. But you saw the bit about accepting donations; this will open a whole cool scenario.

        Half the world pays for the Americans to go 'back' to the moon. With a few suitcase nukes. Which will wipe the 'landing sites' completely. This will then be a direct attack on the United States and Celestial Bodies of America as well as a world heritage site, by some terrorists from [insert flavour of the day here]. The United States Space Navy will see it as their duty to protect this new 'ground zero memorial' and will gallantly put garrisons of space marines there, claiming these sites as USCBA territory.

        Yay!

        N.B. I don't actually believe that the landings were a fake. But quite a lot of people do.

        P.S. If you read this, Mr. Verhoeven and Mr. Levinson, we should talk about the rights; and it'll be OK if we call the 'space marines' something else to gag the nitwits of Games Workshop. Can we also try for Emma Watson in some cool role?

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: @ Don Jefe - Eh??

          Images have been made of the Apollo landing sites, not just by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO, from NASA, so "suspect"), but by the Chinese Chang'e-2 probe (1.3m resolution, so good enough). Some of the LRO images show the LEM base, its shadow, and tracks from astronauts and rovers.

          1. Don Jefe
            Joke

            Re: @ Don Jefe - Eh??

            Yes, I realize they have images..

            But don't you know those images are fake! Part of the still active program to keep the citizens hoodwinked. The conspiracy nutters would have a field day if the equipment was gone. It would be fun.

  4. Christoph Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF?

    Since when is the moon part of the territory of the USA?

    Since when do they have any legal authority whatsoever over its surface?

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: WTF?

      The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967), which among other things places all celestial bodies and their orbits under international law, and prohibits any state from laying claim to any celestial body or part thereof. So technically the United States is in violation of this treaty by assigning parts of the moon as 'National' Park space.

      In reality, however, this treaty, like any other treaty, law, right or constitutional principle, is only as good as the ability of its proponents to enforce it. Once again, the only absolute right, in space or on earth, is the right of might, whether we like it or not. Who has the guns makes the rules.

      I know I cop a swath of downvotes every time I say this, but no amount of downvoting can change this simple fact, perhaps most succinctly expressed by Napoleon's famous quote, "Le bon Dieu est toujours du côté des gros bataillons!"

      1. veti Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: WTF?

        Actually, I think the relevant part of the treaty is Article VI, which says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space ... shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty".

        So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law.

        What this measure would do, if passed, would mean that any US-based operator that landed on the Moon and then interfered with these sites could get into trouble. That's all it means. In principle it would have no effect on operators based in other countries, although in practice it would be a brave astronaut who put that to the test...

        1. Arthur 1
          Happy

          Re: WTF?

          Upvote for veti.

          My first thought on reading this was 'how the hell does this gel with the treaties on outer space being the shared heritage of humankind?' You answer that very elegantly, and I believe correctly. Cheers!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          "So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law."

          Interesting, but which part of the US? Can someone say, marry 2 women on the moon? 2 of their sisters even? While smoking a big fat spliff? Maybe only for medicinal purposes? How old would they have to be to be able to drink at their wedding? To have sex? Would they be arrested for sodomy on a particular part of the moon and not others? Would certain parts of the moon be so pig ignorant that it didn't exist at all seeing as it's quite obviously several thousand years old?

          Joking aside, I suppose they mean federal law as opposed to state law as the above would be. Oh well, I had fun anyway.

          Oh, I missed one, could they build a casino on the moon?

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. joejack
          Happy

          Re: WTF?

          THANK YOU for introducing some sanity into this thread, good sir.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: WTF?

        "The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967), which among other things places all celestial bodies and their orbits under international law, and prohibits any state from laying claim to any celestial body or part thereof. So technically the United States is in violation of this treaty by assigning parts of the moon as 'National' Park space."

        True. This is a real cold war relic.

        At some point property rights will need to be worked out for bodies off Earth.

        An interesting case would be if someone finds a really valuable asteroid. Salvage? No, because no one can own anything of "outer space."

        ElReg readers are on whole pretty good at understanding the difference between the world as we would like it to be and how it is.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          'An interesting case would be if someone finds a really valuable asteroid. Salvage? No, because no one can own anything of "outer space."'

          Is that true, it says no state can claim part of a celestial body, it doesn't as far as I know say an individual or indeed company can't. It may also mean the Queen could lay claim to the moon which would make it British territory as part of the Crown Estates, but that's probably cheating.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: WTF - the Queen

            I wonder if they would take NT membership cards?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        "The USA is signatory to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967)"

        But then the US hasn't ratified or signed the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. (15 nations have ratified, 4 have signed but not ratified).

        Anyway, maybe Dennis Hope has already sold these plots via his website, in which case they might need a compulsory purchase order first :)

    2. Herby Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      "Since when is the moon part of the territory of the USA?"

      Well, we DID plant a flag there (as opposed to just landing one there, which the USA also did!). In fact we planted 6 flags there.

      Of course, being territories, they might want to be independent, you never know. They might not like the current "imperial rule" (not that we can do anything about it!).

      Maybe there is a future in harvesting green cheese (aka Helium 3).

      1. Michael 28

        Re: WTF?

        Flag or not, nobody's living there permanent, so meh!

        Think Heinlein covered this a few times?

        +++++Free Luna!+++++

      2. Jim 59

        Well, we DID plant a flag there

        Fair enough. The discussion is daft, but if I had to choose between USA, Russia or China interfering with the moon, I would choose USA. Best of all would be British ownership, and-

    3. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Given the tendency of the US government to claim anything they have any remote connection to as "theirs" since WWII, I'm not surprised.

      What I really wonder is why the real astronauts who risked life and limb (et.al. it took a huge team to pull it off...) to get there aren't revolting against the Kindergarden Puppies who try and play with their achievements and score some pinkie points nowadays.

      The ancient rule is "you have what you can keep". The US is rapidly losing just about everything outside their own territory, and they claim bits of the MOON?!! Talk about conceited ostrichism...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        Presumably the USSR would then claim low earth orbit as theirs - which might have bigger commercial implications

    4. Raynre Valence

      Re: WTF?

      Try and stop them.

    5. Maharg
      Thumb Up

      Re: WTF?

      Actually, for a birthday when I was about 9 or 10 I was given a ‘Lunar deed’ by my dad, apparently giving me legal ownership of certain acre of the moon, I may have to find this and either hope its smack bang in the middle of the bit the Americans want, or at least include it in my will, for when the rest of the world starts buying up the surface!

      I will do them a cheap deal, think about it NASA, what’s an extra $1Billion on top of the budget for this anyway?

      1. Boothy
        Paris Hilton

        Re: WTF? @ Maharg

        You do realise that's just a novelty deed?

        Not actually legal in anyway, shape or form.

    6. King Jack
      Facepalm

      Re: WTF?

      America believes it is the world, it controls everything. So why not expand dominion to all the stars above?

      1. Rukario
        Alien

        Re: WTF?

        > America believes it is the world, it controls everything. So why not expand dominion to all the stars above?

        As soon as they do that, the Washington skies will be full of big yellow spaceships that hang in the sky in exactly the same way that bricks don't.

        Vogsphere 1, USA 0.

    7. MrDragon

      Re: WTF?

      On a more cynical note (not trying to diminish the other replies that were quite good, by the way):

      Since when has the US cared about those minor pedestrian details?

    8. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: WTF?

      I wouldn't have much problem with USA proclaiming such and such piece of space land a National Park (as long as it will *stay* national park and not a new mine for Helium 3.

      One requirement though: a National Park has to have rangers, on site, at all times.

  5. MrXavia
    WTF?

    The USA has been gone long enough to have lost all rights to try and 'protect' anything up there, while I am sure most nations will respect the sites, the arrogance of the USA is undeniable in this, they are not world police, and certainly not the solar systems police...

    Now if the UN decided to give the sites protected status, that is a different matter...

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      "Now if the UN decided to give the sites protected status, that is a different matter..."

      Maybe they could be voted UNESCO (Out of this) World Heritage Sites

      That would make a lot of sense (and is not at odds with the National Park idea), as these sites are a monument to one of mankind's greatest achievements.

  6. Boyd Crow

    I think they need to talk to the U.N. before they make plans for the gift shop and the t-shirts: "My country went to the Moon and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

  7. TechW

    Pass

    So, I wonder if they will take my National Park Pass to visit there...

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Pass

      I wonder if it will have to be handicap accessible?

      1. andreas koch
        Thumb Up

        @ Don Jefe - Re: Pass

        >

        I wonder if it will have to be handicap accessible?

        <

        Of course, and the moonrovers will have to be retrofitted with these reversing bleepers.

        1. Martin Budden
          Happy

          Re: @ Don Jefe - Pass

          lol @ reversing bleepers in a vacuum

          1. andreas koch
            Devil

            @ Martin Budden - Re: @ Don Jefe - Pass

            Shush, don't embarrass the Health & Safety authorities . . .

        2. Boothy
          Coat

          Re: @ Don Jefe - Pass

          Quote: 'Of course, and the moonrovers will have to be retrofitted with these reversing bleepers.'

          And how exactly are they going to hear the bleepers on the Moon?

          Remember, in Space; no one can hear you reversing.....

          IGMC

          1. andreas koch
            Mushroom

            @ Boothy - Re: @ Don Jefe - Pass

            Oh my, you caught me out. I am sure everyone is now suitably impressed by your superior scientific expertise. I'm so sorry.

            Unless, of course, you just wanted to explain my sarcastic comment to the ElReg readership, who might be slightly miffed by the level of knowledge that you credit them with, in an altruistically motivated, misguided attempt to make even them understand the joke.

            Then I'm not sorry but rather miffed too; I can wreck my jokes all by myself if I feel the need for it, thank you very much.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pass

      "So, I wonder if they will take my National Park Pass to visit there..."

      No, they will sell you an enhanced pass though that will. The caveat is that the pass must be placed securely on the windshield. I don't know how your car will run in space though unless it is electric. Oh, be sure to keep the ventilation system off; lunar dust is not nice. Be sure to get the car washed before returning too.

  8. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    So what happens...

    ... when Salvage 1 gets there and starts bringing bits back to flog off?

  9. Neoc

    Not a bad idea...

    ...and then someone point out to Congress that National Parks are supposed to have Rangers to make sure nothing bad happens at (or to) the National Parks and force them to send someone up there to take up the position.

    Quotes:

    "National Park Service Rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and/or the President of the United States." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_Service_Ranger)

    "Rangers were royal officials employed to "range" through the countryside providing law and order (often against poaching). Their duties were originally confined to seeing that the Forest Law was enforced in the outlands, or purlieus, of the royal forests. Their duties corresponded in some respects with that of a mounted Forester.[1]" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_ranger)

    Yeah, I know - but someone with better access to US paperwork can probably trace them back to source material.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Not a bad idea...

      Each park has to have a management team and surveyed and marked boundaries as well. There are two kinds of rangers, interpretive rangers (IR) and law enforcement rangers (LEO). Each park has to have at least a chief LEO on regular patrol and they all have IR's as well, but I don't think the IR's are required.

      So either they're going to have full management structure in place as well as sending a survey team and a law enforcement officer up there or they're going to screw up national legislation for all the other parks. Maybe this is all backdoor legislation to establish a moon base.

      1. Arthur 1

        Re: Not a bad idea...

        Never even thought of that, brilliant.

        I hate these symbolic laws, and - beyond them being a waste of time and money - garbage like this is part of why. It's only a matter of time until some lawyer finds a loophole introduced in a law granting a teddybear citizenship or something and causes very, very bad repercussions through precedent.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Not a bad idea...

          The teddy can become the next prezident?

          A warmer, cuddlier president for the all of us.

      2. Martin Budden

        Re: Not a bad idea...

        "regular patrol" - say, once per century?

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Alien

        Re: Not a bad idea...

        "So either they're going to have full management structure in place as well as sending a survey team and a law enforcement officer up there or they're going to screw up national legislation for all the other parks."

        Ah, it all starts to make sense.

        They have finally found another mission for the SLS, one needing regular launches.

        ET because (obviously) you can't have any of those illegal aliens (well they are trespassing) coming on the site.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Not a bad idea...

          The Senate Launch System (SLS) will wind up needing some serious upgrades to be used on a lunar mission. It can carry enough payload to lunar orbit for a useful mission (if it can get there at all. Lots of the engineering assumptions need be worked out in real hardware).

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not a bad idea...

      The last time the US politicians had a tantrum and shut down government - they actually hired people to go out onto remote hiking trails in unmanned parks to declare them closed and stop visitors

      So if the US stopped Nasa's budget under another tantrum they might be forced to launch another Apollo program by the same legislation!

  10. Fibbles

    How do salvage laws work in space?

    I'd have thought that the US could no more dictate terms with regard to the Apollo sites than the UK could with regard to sunken gold-laden ships in the Atlantic.

    I expect to see the Apollo 11 Lunar Module sold off to the highest bidder by an enterprising Chinese businessman within the next 30 years.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: How do salvage laws work in space?

      The Apollo 11 lunar module crashed into the moon so would be difficult to salvage - the lander stage remains US property in the same way that sunk warships remain the property of their governments.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Dumb idea....

    I propose we send a Congressional panel to the moon to verify the remaining historical suitability of this national park. I think sending Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Cantor, Dianne Feinstein and Mitch McConnell up there would be a good start. 5 people is a lot to fit on a trip to the moon, but we can save weight on the mission by removing oxygen and fuel for the return.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Dumb idea....

      John Boehner has to go too. That big orange douche has just got to go. If you'll agree that he can go I'll happily contribute my entire next year salary to your proposal if you make a Kickstarter project.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Dumb idea....

        FUND IT!

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Dumb idea....

        I'll sponsor Feinstein!

  12. 0_Flybert_0

    idiot democrats

    worse really .. most idiots can search "Moon Treaty" .. and come up with the Outer Space Treaty that was ratified by Congress and signed by LBJ in 19 freekin' 67 .. do these guys have dozens of staff .. no one thought to check existing law or treaty ?

    "outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". However, the State that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object."

    IOW .. Congress can not declare an historical site on the moon without violating the treaty .. the US may own the objects left .. however .. one might make the case .. under international salvage law and precedent .. that the US could not do a damn thing if a private party were to .. say .. go salvage a lunar rover or US flag .. as the objects are clearly abandoned and not within US territory

    1. andreas koch
      Joke

      0_flybert_0 - Re: idiot democrats

      'Outer Space Treaty' my foot. That was written 50 years ago, in the stone age. We have holistically enhanced, super-effective raiquasa-trained Hyper-Ninja-Lawyers now who would prove that that treaty was actually the secret recipe for the original 11 KFC spices mix.

      And when there's evidence that the Iraqis are hiding weapons of mass destruction there? And the Norks already have plans to destroy the sites? Isn't it America's duty then to protect to the best of their ability? Even if it would require the small inconvenience of keeping untrustworthy people from entering the premises (read that as getting anyone who makes a TSA dog blink off the surface.)?

      Hm?

      Joke icon, because someone might take it serious. It ain't.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: idiot democrats

      Yeah, that would be the same treaty that says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty"

      In other words, if you're based in the USA, then you'd better follow US law on the Moon.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        I assume

        all NASA have been in accordance with the the relevant laws. Doesn't Congress/the President have ultimate oversight of all US activities in space? But what we're talking about here is discarded equipment. Does a non-functioning spacecraft sitting on the lunar surface somehow constitute an activity? In any case the requirement to make a law is not an authorization of any law. Specifically, if the law violates other articles of the treaty as this one does, it's dead in the water.

        On another point, how could there be a world heritage site on the moon? isn't the Moon by definition out of this world.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I assume

          "Does a non-functioning spacecraft sitting on the lunar surface somehow constitute an activity?"

          You could argue that the laser ranging reflectors left behind by Apollo missions, still in regular use to monitor changes in the Earth-Moon distance, constitute part of an activity.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: idiot democrats

      Idiot democrats? Really? Remember Newt Gingrich, the Republican presidential candidate who wanted to make the moon a US state? A STATE??? http://rt.com/usa/gingrich-moon-florida-space-795/

      Republicans. Ha. Hypocrites!

  13. MachDiamond Silver badge

    NASA is dead.

    It just hasn't stopped twitching yet. Congress is working hard to bury one of the best examples of human achievement.

    The AP (7/10) reports on the budget cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee, focusing primarily on those to the IRS. The article notes there were also cuts to NASA as part of a “$41 billion shift from nondefense programs like NASA, education and research on renewable energy to the Pentagon.” NASA was also cited again for a $1 billion reduction compared to 2013 levels, part of the “painful cuts” in the House budget.

    The US government needs funds for the new world order. Or, at least the money to make sure its citizens stay in line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NASA is dead.

      The US government needs funds for the new world order. Or, at least the money to make sure its citizens stay in line.

      According to the leaks they seem to have enough money for that already.

  14. DougS Silver badge

    This should be done via the UN or treaties

    I don't think other countries will like the US laying claim to part of the moon. Even if it is just a small part, it sets a bad precedent.

    The big issue is avoiding having some commercial enterprise go up there and bring back souvenirs. Though once a commercial business has the capability to bring back enough stuff to make a real dent in their mission cost, they'll probably be on to bigger ideas like figuring out a way to darken the moon square miles at a time to put a Nike Swoosh (TM) visible from the earth...

    We'd honestly be better off if the entire moon was a national park, whether it is a US, Chinese or Indian park wouldn't matter, just keep it out of the hands of the people who want to sell it!

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: This should be done via the UN or treaties

      Instead of a corporate logo they could do a flag of whatever country the current UN Secretary General is from.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: This should be done via the UN or treaties

        I, for one, would welcome a commercially exploited Moon.

        Finally some space action!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protected?

    Protected from whom and with what? Why? Do they reall mean it? They'll be repealing the law of gravity just any day now. Or, rounding off the value of pi to exactly three. What a bunch of ignoramuses.

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alien

    InterNational Historical Park: Yes

    National Historical Park: Not so much.

    1. LateNightLarry
      Pint

      Re: InterNational Historical Park: Yes

      InterPlanetary Historical Park, Yes... International, not so much...

      T'heck with a glass of Cabernet, make it a damn MAGNUM...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: InterNational Historical Park: Yes

        Ummm, can one have an InterPlanetary Historical Park on a Moon?

        :pedant:

  17. CharleyX

    How many billions is this going to cost?

  18. mondello1

    I don't know, lack of ownership didn't stop Russia from claiming the North Pole...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Property Rights in Space

    The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits all claims of national sovereignty in space. That also includes the UN because it is merely a conglomerate of sovereigns.

    The USA can puff about and say its a park, but they have not a whit of authority to enforce the park boundaries.

    One owns what they can defend. The USA owns nothing of the moon's surface, its dirt, its resources, nothing. But they do retain title to all the junk they left strewn about.

    Visit the Eros Project website for an education on Property Rights in Space.

  20. PosterATAT

    Tax = theft.

    Tax = theft.

    "Hey, we got all this extra cash laying around, let's open up a park on the moon."

    The government does that to prove to us that our money belongs to them, so feel shame and be quiet.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Russia ...claiming the North Pole

      If they want it, they can bloody well haul it away. Otherwise...

  21. jon 72
    FAIL

    Remember..

    Territorial claims are not official till somebody plants a flag in the chest of one of the locals

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: Remember..

      Territorial claims aren't official until somebody gets back home and lets The Times know.

      How else would right thinking Gentlemen know a new territory has been claimed?

      Bonus points if we can ship unwanted criminals there.

  22. OliverJ

    Not only the internet...

    It seems that by now the U.S. has not only mastered the internet, but now wants to dominate celestial bodies as well. The U.S. congress should be advised to check what the very same congress ratified back in 1966/67. But obviously, such legal quibbles never stopped the U.S. to do whatever they want, so I expect the first lunar park rangers to be hired in 2014...

  23. jason 7

    Will they want to change one thing about the Apollo 11 site though?

    The fact the flag was placed too close to the lander, that when it took off the blast knocked it over.

  24. Arm

    Go to Space, Not the Moon.

    Does it matter? It still costs far more for any country to go to the Moon than any of the minerals they could conceivably return.

    The human race needs to learn to live in bare space. Not some planetoid satellite that contains almost no resources.

    If we can live in bare space, we can live anywhere.

  25. AndrueC Silver badge
    Unhappy

    The last human ever to set foot on the Moon was astronaut Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

    That makes me cry a little bit.

    1. Boothy
      Unhappy

      Yup, should have kept the momentum going...

      Should have been a permanent base set up a few years latter, say mid 80s,

      By the mid 90s this should have been fully self sufficient, with hydroponics, fuel processing, solar panels etc. Plus the ability to produce building materials from the local environment, so no further need to ship anything bulky from Earth.

      By the mid 00s we should have had private enterprises there, side shoots to the main base. Doing drug research, investigating mining, the beginnings of a high cost tourist trade. By then regular trips to and from the moon should have been in place, say monthly.

      And by the mid 10s, the tourist costs for a visit should have been down to say a few 10k.

      Hmm, I want my £20,000 trip to the moon, and I want it now :-/

  26. Chantilleelace

    TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, Congress can't even pay people on the ground. Oh wait, that is incorrect - THEY ARE able to pay AND give themselves a raise. Not only are they UNABLE to pay their employees, but they made SURE workers couldn't get financial assistance - unemployment, etc. Now they want money for a Space Park that no one can visit. Next, they will need BILLIONS for an oversight committee to handle a MOON PARK. I, in the interest of Science however, would be willing to pay for each of them to take this trip. Start with the white House, as the first family, they should be first.

    What happens when the Congressional OverSpent committee can't come to a budget agreement? Oh sorry, you are laid off one day a week, oxygen is non-essential - and oh yea, we are closing the park.

    I have to give it to this administration. Just when you think it can't get any more ludicrous the Libs remind me not to underestimate them, This administration is a joke. Now a Universally embarrassingly bad joke.

  27. KrisM

    another way of looking at it...

    I initially read the article that by giving it national park status, they could then apply to the UN world heritage agency to make it protected under that as well. So may be one leads to the other, which would then make a little more sense?

    In other news, I own my little acre on the moon, so hopefully they national park/world heritage site is not to close to that :)

    There's the company on the web selling plots of if (and most other planets) your still interested (using the old loophole that the space treaty forgot to mention about individual owning land). I know its probably nonsense, and I've not checked in a while, but I've not seen anything that 100% proves this loophole was nonsense, and the company could not sell of the plots to individuals!

    1. Boothy

      Re: another way of looking at it...

      Even if the loophole was valid, the land still has to be claimed before they could sell it.

      You can't just say, "I own the Moon", and start selling plots to people and it be valid.

      Claiming land normally involves someone going there in person (or on someone's behalf) and most laws also require occupancy of the land for the claim to be valid. i.e. build a mine etc.

      Now if someone privately funds a trip to the moon, builds a base there, and then claims that patch is theirs, then that could be a different matter.

  28. Heathroi
    Facepalm

    A moon park for the moon bats

    Maybe the Congress could make national parks of other pieces of junk that the US has abandoned in slightly more accessible places, for example.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/07/10/the-finest-poppy-storage-warehouse-ever-built-for-the-afghan-army/

    maybe other contributors can suggest more.

  29. Anonymous Blowhard

    Will it be near the theme park "Luna Park"?

    Cue "We're whalers on the moon"...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do ya think...

    ...those flags might have been infected with smallpox?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Do ya think...

      Smallpox is an invention to be able to harvest human DNA for our secret alien overlords and store it in disused underground mines.

  31. Airborne

    It's not that we ( The U.S.) are claiming the moon. We'd be preserving an historic moment in man kinds history. Personally, I think the world working together in space and on the lunar surface is a good place for humanity to start anew, and be rid of the bias and hate that everybody has for each other.

  32. TomMariner

    The US gave up!

    Sorry Congress -- 40 years ago, the US was on track to bases and exploration of the moon by the end of the century. But we decided that instead we would divide up the nation's treasure with the fiction that throwing money at poverty and other perceived ills would work. Actually the federal government knew (and know) the fiction, but also knew that giving free stuff to somebody gets their votes.

    Fortunately, China and other nations have read the US history that the "manned space race" was an economic driver and picked up the baton that was thrown down. So yes, there will be a "national park", but it won't be under the US Department of the Interior. But everybody in the US will be able to equally send congratulations to the country that does put their stamp on whole areas of the moon.

  33. Stephen Gray

    I wouldn't worry

    One in six Ameerkans are now in receipt of Food Stamps (now now as SNAP I think) that's about 50 MEEELION people. USA is bankrupt, hated by most of the rest of the world and run by tossers. It won't be any kind of force to be reckoned soon certainly within my lifetime, much like the UK is now. China and India will be the new world powers. USA can lay claim to as much of the Moon as they want, the rest of us will just point and giggle at the retards they keep electing.

  34. jonfr

    I own the moon

    There is a while since I claimed the moon for my self. I have not seen any letter for permission of such national park, or money for that matter.

    If they want this, they have to ask me first. The rent is 30 million euro a year for such parks. No infrastructure included.

  35. Bill Gould

    /headdesk

    Maybe the US should focus on being able to GO to the moon, or anywhere in space, under their own initiative again before worrying about their litter.

  36. John Savard Silver badge

    Amendments

    Clearly the law should be amended, to become a resolution to seek a treaty by which these sites would become protected United Nations sites. If not, since the President has heard about the Outer Space Treaty, I guess he would have to veto it.

  37. Islander
    Facepalm

    Erm... Harrison Schmitt may have been the last person to leave the LEM but Eugene Cernan was the last person to leave the surface of the moon and therefore the last person on the moon.

    Oh and we should preserve the Apollo 11 landing site at a minimum when we do eventually return.

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