China’s lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, landed on the moon to study the satellite’s terrain, geology, and lava flows. What else might it find? Dirty laundry, golf balls, bags of human waste, and an American flag. There are loads of items left on the moon by NASA’s Apollo missions -- still perfectly preserved because the moon lacks a destructive atmosphere. With a handful of countries announcing plans for future lunar missions, a number of scientists are arguing that moon trash is an archeological treasure that should be preserved and studied by future generations. But with no laws or lunar governing body to protect, say, the first footprint on the moon, some worry that America’s lunar heritage could be destroyed by a new generation of explorers rushing to reach the moon.
To learn more we spoke with Beth O’Leary - an anthropologist at New Mexico State University who’s spearheading the Lunar Legacy Project -- a NASA funded endeavor with a mission to protect and preserve our moon artifacts by law.
Also in the interview, Michael Listner, President of the International Space Safety Foundation and an expert on space law.
And check out this footage of the Jade Rabbit Landing on the Moon: