California wants to protect the junk the Apollo 11 astronauts left behind from careless future visitors to the moon. If a state panel approves a proposal to declare the landing site an official historical resource, California would become the first state to protect the location. New Mexico and Texas are considering doing so as well, and space heritage buffs hope that if they do, the UN will follow suit.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left 5,000 pounds of debris on the moon to lighten their vessel for the return trip. “They were essentially told, ‘Here’s eight minutes, create an archaeology site,’” an anthropologist tells the Los Angeles Times. Advocates want to protect it, because they believe private space travel may soon send unstaffed vessels or even tourists to the moon. “Can you imagine someone driving over Neil Armstrong’s first footprint?” asks a California state historian. “Wouldn’t that be terrible!”