News & AnalysisSpace

NASA to Launch Guidelines to Protect Lunar Artifacts

Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1207-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6047.1207

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Summary

As dozens of private teams race to return to the moon as soon as next year, spurred on by $30 million in prize money from Google and the X Prize Foundation, NASA is wrestling with how to safeguard the historic and scientific value of more than three dozen sites containing remnants of America's golden era of space exploration, including the spot where Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. left the first footprints on the lunar surface. Later this month, the agency plans to issue what it calls "recommendations" for spacecraft, or future astronauts, visiting U.S. government property on the moon.

  • * Lucas Laursen is a writer in Zurich, Switzerland.