From student loan rate hikes and immigration reform to working down the massive national debt and working toward sensible gun responsibility legislation, there is no shortage of worthy causes on which the men and women of the U.S. Congress can focus. For two Democratic congresswommen, establishing a national park on the moon — yes, the moon — is something that needs to be addressed.
Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, recently introduced the Apollo Lunar Legacy Act into Congress, which would establish a national park on the moon where the Apollo missions landed between 1969 and 1972. The proposed Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Park would encompass the area upon which the astronauts landed and explored along with the artifacts they left behind, according to The Hill.
"As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the moon, it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity," the bill reads.
However, the bill might not be — wait for it — cleared for launch by international law, even if Congress decides to pass it.
“Experts, however, say the bill may both duplicate and conflict with elements of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the U.S. and Soviet Union signed off on at the height of the space race," according to The New York Daily News. "The treaty – joined by the Russian Federation and 100 other counties – establishes that all space objects remain property of the nation that launched them. The treaty also bars any claim of national sovereignty on lunar territory – for park space or otherwise.”
The report continues: “Edwards’ bill would also require that the U.S, apply to the United Nations for designation of the Apollo 11 landing site – where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon July 20, 1969 – be designated a world heritage site.”
As out of this world as this idea might sound, it is not the first time a recent memory an American politician outlined extraterrestrial expansion. In January 2012, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich wooed a Florida crowd with promises of an American lunar base by the end of his second term and regular flights to Mars by 2020 should he be elected.