Extraterrestrial Nature Preservation

The Martian Moon Deimos

The Martian Moon Deimos

Here is an interesting little two-page document presented at the NLSI Lunar Science Conference by E.C. Hargrove of the University of North Texas on “The Preservation of Non-Biological Environments in the Solar System”.

An excerpt:

“NASA should plan on setting aside the Apollo landing sites as protected areas on historical grounds. Extreme caution should be taken in approaching these sites since adding to the footprints at these sites may come to be considered vandalism. Likewise, NASA employees should avoid writing their names on natural formations that they encounter. Extreme care should be taken in mining on the Moon to ensure that the surface of the Moon is not visibly altered from the perspective of viewers on Earth. If strip mining is undertaken on the Moon, efforts should be made to restore those areas to a natural look if at all possible. If restoration is not possible, NASA should consider doing its mining on the backside of the Moon where it is less likely to generate protest. Another possibility might be to use the damaged areas for new construction or as last resort to turn them into earthworks, so that they are at least considered artistic. Although earthworks on Earth are themselves controversial, they may be a better alternative to doing nothing.

“The introduction of life forms into a non-biological environment should be undertaken with great caution. Generally, the introduction of a life form from one part of Earth to another is a dismal failure. However, when it is not, that success is often followed by unsuccessful attempts to undo the damaged caused. The Moon or Mars covered with some odd microbial foam would be damaging to NASA’s image and would make it difficult to study the natural history of such celestial bodies, an unpleasant prospect, since such study will be a key way for NASA to maintain interest in its programs.”

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Published in: on August 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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