The First President of the Moon ~ D.M.J. March
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." ~ Romans 3:20
There are already a few companies here on Earth that will sell you a slice of the
big ol' pie in the sky (some have even been talked about on MyMOON before :P),
however readers would be keen to note the legal framework of celestial ownership
seems to be coming under some review lately with the establishment of the first
protected lunar sites on behalf of the USA and its Apollo missions.
|Lunar Deed for land from Lunar Embassy (SAMPLE ONLY)|
While I certainly respect the sentiment of protecting these sacred sites for all time, we should be sure to address the fundamental shift in the spirit of verbiage and the dangerous potential for over-collusion between military agenda and this decidedly civilian agency that has been the forefront of American (and most human) ventures beyond Earth since its inception.
|"Ike" talking with the troops near the end of WW2|
When NASA was formed by Eisenhower it wasn't some lovey-dovey pre-60s peacenik orientation that convinced the old General to appoint civil agents to the lead positions in his
new aerospace agency. This agency was about to become the focal point for the entire US sphere of human influence above a few dozen feet off the ground. This visonary orientation of the agency towards peaceful exploration in the interests of all the citizens of the
Earth was nearly foisted over-top of all existing space and military infrastructure of the time.
The Army, Navy and Air Force all had elements of rocketry and advanced flight development
under-way (to say nothing of the Navy's predisposition for the development of simulated
and self contained environments including communications, power and life support systems
designed for long voyages in extreme-stress environments).
|The Yomato, a fictional space-navy ship|
It was a serious and intentional executive mandate to make NASA civil and it really went against the fledgling grain of the time. After this slight against the other generals and the prevailing winds of congress one could even argue that Eisenhower’s hold over the upper-echelons truly began to wane. Regardless, this decision paved the way for an open and civilly motivated NASA under Kennedy to really press the boundaries of human potential in a way that didn't require those people at the core to be starved or fundamentally deprived of any bountiful American or human rights. Both Nazi and Russian (the only comparison at the time) astrospace programs, at least partially, relied on extreme abuse of workers and secrecy of the works being performed.
|Prisoners/Workers of the Nazi Rocket program|
It is unlikely that even a militarized American space program would have resorted to, say, a militarized convict labour force (though, thankfully, there is no way to know for sure), but the lesson should not be forgotten that these starkly contrasting systems of space management have existed in our brief history of flirtation with these new technologies and ideas. It is, in fact, the cruelties of these other systems that seem to inexorably linked to the collapse of not only their patron nations, but essentially the entire ideology that supported them.
The American example is the only space program that really survived the Cold War in-tact. While Russia is now a more than capable space partner, and was previously a leader in the field, their Buran shuttle never materialized and they are still mostly utilizing technology from 50 years ago. Moreover, all of their efforts to make lasting contact with Mars, the Moon or any other celestial body have largely fizzled out. The brilliant pace of innovation was broken for the very fact that their program failed to produce workable solutions for many related problems that space-faring entities must embrace. Social, economic, moral and military elements must all coalesce in a way that seems both requisite and unique for groups that wish to sustain an exo-planetary lifestyle. The Soviets didn't just not do it quickly enough, even today they have never sent a person to the moon as the American civil NASA did back in 1969.
|Copy of the plaque placed on the Moon in 1969 "in peace for all mankind"|
Surely in this day and age it is apparent that the reason cannot be technological. If the Americans truly went to the moon in '69, how could the Russians not at least match that feat in the following four(plus) decades? The reason, I believe, is largely a tendency towards militarism and a lack of cooperative effort between nations. A national military is by its definition a Xenophobic sort of entity. Modern civilized armed forces are primarily concerned with events abroad and it is an extreme measure in modern society for any military operations to be deployed against domestic citizens.
Even where alliances between nations exist, thus far, they are not concrete and binding above the natural duty a military has to its own people. I have made this statement in the present tense, but indeed a transition that is underway around “space laws” seems very apparent and it is a part of a wider alteration of those sorts of liberties that were won at great cost and endured after the major conflicts of the 20th century. With the assertion of US protected lunar zones, and other individuals selling real estate, the question beckons; through what (moral) authority are these extraterrestrial enterprises being undertaken and enforced ?
|A small sampling of Asian military power|
It seems quite obvious that for there to be any sensibility to the new laws and proclamations protecting these regions, the threat of punitive measure is implied. Don't mess with the USA lunar sites, or else ! But again, this begs the question; or else what ?
There seem to be two schools of thoughts on the matter. One, fiscal penalties or trade related measures directly from the USA or perhaps enacted through the WTO, etc. The second school is militaristic in orientation; an intrusion into the outlined areas would be the same as a sanctioned government occupation of, for example, American sovereign territory. This second school derives all its substance from the supposition that national boundaries (of many sorts) will continue to exist into the future and will continue to be a tremendous threat and barrier to a truly unified and coordinated Earthly space organization. While either sort of retaliation may seem justified to some, there is a larger issue here...
|Magazine article about the new lunar protected zones. |
Illustrates well the juvenile and bigoted attitudes lending themselves to this effort.
In some cities around the world public gardens and displays are delicate, intricate and well respected. In other cities every public edifice is constructed with the same durability and use requirements as a prison. The difference is one of seemingly inverted societal norms and respect for government. While it may seem contrary, it is often the case that more 'free' societies treat their public areas like a prison yard while less 'democratic' nations enjoy splendid looking public transit, parks and safety by comparison.
The point here is only this; who exactly is threatening to disturb those sites ? Who WOULD disturb those sites? Is the threat of intentional harm done against these American achievements more pressing now than during the cold war (therefore these new laws are required in this modern age)? How is there any assumption that if China, for example, sends people to the moon there is a legitimate concern that their astronauts may maliciously walk over and start messing about with the USA's 1960's era space-craft sites? Or India, perhaps ? What nation would be so disrespectful and so desire the ire of the rest of the planet as to perpetrate such a horrendous property crime without precedent ? And so we see that these laws are in no way designed for their assumed purpose of honouring the moon-sites, in fact, those boundaries were already inscribed in the hearts of anyone who looks out into the deep of night above... only the most dastardly of individuals (scaled up to a space-faring entity, mind you) would either be capable or interested in such a wanton act of desecration.
|Dr. Strangelove would probably vandalize the Apollo areas...|
...but then, what nation does he represent ?
I propose that these new laws do not validate the sanctity of these sites, but much rather they taint the very ideology that established those sites. Laws concieved and applied to space under these new bulla are built solely upon notions of projected national isolationism and protectionism, of future territorial rivalry in space, and mostly of a failure among nations to form a peaceful and lasting global government tending to the increased well being of all people.
Moreover as opposed to being founding in a spirit of peace for all mankind, these laws are an assertion of disunity, a threat and a warning against our own... It is a complete change in the framework, ideas and associated institutions affecting our closest celestial neighbour – and it should not be taken lightly.
*(LUNAR EMBASSY, BUY MOON LAND, ETC).