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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Enlightenme1111
Sure there's a source.
According to Science, by the end of this month NASA is expected to come up with a set of “recommendations” for spacecraft and astronauts visiting the “U.S. government property on the moon.” Of course, these recommendations will not be legally binding as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty makes it clear that the lunar surface has no owner.
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.
edit on 9/7/2011 by Phage because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by buskey
No, this is not a joke. Let the conspiracy theories commence!
No-fly zones will come into effect on the moon for the very first time by the end of this month! Why, even buffer zones that spacecraft may have to avoid will come into existence. The reason: avoiding any spraying of rocket exhaust or dust onto certain historical sites and artefacts on the moon.
Some interesting news coming out of the NASA Lunar Science Forum today.
NASA officials are creating the first set of guidelines designed to protect historic sites on the moon, including the Apollo landing areas and the Surveyor landers.
The guidelines are designed to help preserve and protect sites as new rovers begin to explore the lunar surface. Officials said they expect Google Lunar X Prize team competitors to begin landing vehicles beginning in 2013.
Officials want to protect the historical artifacts from dust, debris and damage that visiting rovers might produce. They are also eager to use the capabilities of the rovers to study how the lunar environment has affected vehicles and equipment on the surface.
My notes follow after the break.
Guidelines Cover 3 Categories
Human missions — Apollo (6)
Unmanned landing sites (Surveyor)
Impact/crash sites (Saturn IVB boosters, Ranger spacecraft)
Guidelines only focused on U.S. government assets on the moon
Only technical recommendations – no legal requirements
U.S. government legally owns all this flight hardware
A living document – plan to amend as they get more information about the sites and as rover capabilities evolve
Briefed the 28 Google Lunar X Prize teams during the recent team summit in Mountain View — awaiting feedback from the teams
Will incorporate feedback, finalize rules and announce the rules during a future press conference in Washington, DC
Guidelines Cover 3 Areas
Descent and landing
Heritage Lander Sites (Apollo, Surveyor): no flights within 2 km radial distance
Impact/Crash Sites (Saturn IV-B, Ranger): no flights within 0.5 km radial distance
Each lunar spacecraft should have an onboard reference system to identify the physical location relative to boundaries.
No overflight associated with landing….trajectory should be tangential to the D/L boundary
Designed to protect vehicles from dust being kicked up and possible failures of landers
Landings should be targeted to no less than 2 km away
Puts the lander over the horizon to keep the descent out of the line of sight from the historic site
Deorbit braking stages should be targeted for impact points 2.0 km from landing sites and .5 km from crash/impact sites
No physical contacts with any U.S. lunar hardware
Apollo 11 and 17
Recommend that Apollos 11 and 17 are treated as unique with no visits
Apollo 11 – 75 radial meters away from descent stage
Apollo 17 – 225 radial meters away from descent stage
Protects all human activities at those sites
Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 16
Open for scientific investigation
Must stay 1 meter and 3 meters away from objects (depending upon type)
No restrictions on footprints and lunar rover tracks outside of specified areas
Laser ranging retro-reflectors (LRRRs) need to be carefully preserved because they are still being used for experiments today
Surveyor – 1 meter buffer zone
Apollo 14 S-IVB – rovers can drive to rim of crater and observe. Entry into crater needs to be coordinated with NASA.
Rovers and Hoppers
Rovers – can drive within designated Apollo sites and around keep-out zones
Can’t stay overnight – if the rover dies, should be outside the exclusion zone
Landers of the hopper configuration are not allowed to land within the 2 km radius
Hoppers can do low altitude tangential flybys of lunar heritage sites.