FCW Insider

Blog archive

NASA moves to protect lunar history

As NASA moves on to the technology of the future, it's also working to protect the technology of the past. The space agency has issued a set of guidelines for preserving historical sites on the moon.

The guidelines come as the X Prize Foundation is judging 26 teams trying to become the first privately funded team to visit the moon. The teams have submitted mobility plans as part of a context for the Google Lunar X Prize. At stake is a total of $30 million in prizes. The first prize will go a team that “builds a rover which lands successfully land on the moon, explores it by moving at least one third of a mile and returns high-definition video and imagery to Earth,” according to NASA.

But there are already lunar rovers on the moon, left there by the Apollo missions. There are also parts of lunar landing craft and other relics of human lunar exploration in the 1960s and '70s. NASA's guidelines are not mandatory, but they seek to ensure no damage comes to the equipment as new visitors explore the moon.

“NASA assembled the guidelines using data from previous lunar studies and analysis of the unmanned lander Surveyor 3's samples after Apollo 12 landed nearby in 1969. Experts from the historic, scientific and flight-planning communities also contributed to the technical recommendations,” wrote NASA officials in a statement.

The guidance document itself reads: “Since the completion of the Apollo lunar surface missions in 1972, no missions have returned to visit these historic sites, leaving them in pristine condition and undisturbed by artificial processes (the sites have changed due to normal space weathering). It is anticipated that future spacecraft will have the technology and their operators will have the interest to visit these sites in the coming years. These visits could impose significant disturbance risks to these sites, thus potentially destroying irreplaceable historic, scientific and educational artifacts and materials.”

For the full guidelines document, click here.

Posted by Michael Hardy on May 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Wed, May 30, 2012 SoutheastUS

I vote for preparing an international treaty that protects such historic sites and lays out very particular activities that can be carried out near and on these sites. Such a treaty should also stipulate that all vehicles and material left on the lunar surface by past and future lunar landing programs permanently belong to the respective country and/or companies (and their "heirs and assigns, forever") that sent them there in the first place.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group