- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
NASA Aims to Protect Apollo Artifacts From Next Lunar Arrivals
1 September 2011 2:00 pm
NASA has begun wrestling with how to safeguard the historic and scientific value of more than three dozen sites on the moon. These 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, may become vulnerable as dozens of private teams, spurred on by $30 million in prize money from Google and the X Prize Foundation, race to return to the moon as early as next year.
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. A 20 July version of the guidelines obtained by Science proposes, for example, that missions approach Apollo landing sites and artifacts at a tangent to avoid crashing into them. It also suggests no-fly and buffer zones to avoid spraying rocket exhaust or dust onto historic equipment. The document includes a research wish list, written by NASA scientists and engineers for any private team or country sending a craft to the moon. The list ranges from the mundane, such as taking close-up photographs of decades-old laser range-finding mirrors still used by Earth-based astronomers, to more far-out ideas, such as studying discarded food or abandoned astronaut feces.
NASA's recommendations won't be legally binding—according to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the lunar surface has no owner. But the agency is hopeful that the competing teams, which requested the guidelines and have been providing feedback to the agency, will sign on to a final version.