Press Release

Peters, Cruz Bipartisan Legislation to Protect the Apollo Landing Sites Advances in Senate

By SpaceRef Editor
July 10, 2019
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U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today applauded the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approval of their bipartisan legislation that would protect the Apollo landing sites on the moon. The One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act would provide legal recognition and protection for the Apollo sites from intentional and unintentional disturbances by codifying existing NASA preservation recommendations. The bill’s advancement to the full Senate comes as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on July 20th.

“The Apollo landing sites are the types of historic places that would be preserved for future generations if they were on Earth. As we mark the 50th anniversary of this giant leap for humankind, we must do everything we can to protecting these sites – particularly as more public and private entities look to establish a presence on the moon,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Space and Aviation. “This bipartisan legislation will help preserve our human heritage in space for generations to come. I’m glad this bill has advanced in the Senate and I’ll be continuing to build support behind this effort.”

“Senator Peters and I are proud to see our legislation advance through the committee today with overwhelming bipartisan support as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing,” said Senator Cruz. “Our bill will put into place meaningful protections for the Apollo sites and artifacts by requiring recipients of U.S. government licenses for lunar and near-lunar activities to agree to abide by NASA’s recommendations on how to protect and preserve lunar artifacts. I urge my Senate colleagues to take up and pass this common sense bill without delay to ensure that, as we ramp up our efforts to return to the Moon, these important parts of history are safeguarded.”

The legislation includes an enforcement mechanism to impose fines on entities that breach NASA’s preservation recommendations, calls for an international agreement, and honors the over 400,000 scientists, designers, and researchers who contributed to the Apollo programs, including NASA’s “Hidden Figures” like Katherine Johnson – an African American mathematician who worked at NASA for 35 years and calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 flight to the moon as well the trajectories for the spaceflights of astronauts John Glenn and Alan Shepard.

In a Space and Aviation Subcommittee hearing in May, Peters questioned NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who expressed his support for protecting historical lunar sites.

Peters has long championed efforts in Congress to support American space exploration. In 2017, bipartisan legislation Peters coauthored that authorizes and sets priorities for NASA and the nation’s space exploration mission was signed into law. Peters also introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the nation’s ability to predict severe space weather events and mitigate their harmful impacts on Earth. That legislation has also advanced out of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Zade Alsawah (Peters)

Maria Jeffrey (Cruz)

SpaceRef staff editor.