Two House Democrats submitted a bill on Monday that would create the 47th national historical park. But rather than a wooded mountain vista or an uncrowded sandy beach, this one wouldn't be a place to take your family camping – because it's on the Moon.
The bill would create the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park in order to "expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites, and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history."
Reps. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, wrote the bill and serve on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
But although the park would be located on the moon, it could not include the moon itself, Parade magazine reports, because it is international territory. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 states that no country can claim ownership of the moon.
"Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means," the treaty states.
The park would include all areas where astronauts and their instruments touched the moon's surface during the Apollo program missions from 1969 to 1972, and would protect any artifacts left there, including footprints, equipment and parts of a rocket from the Apollo 13 mission that intentionally crash-landed on the moon.
According to the National Park Service, which oversees the nation's historical parks, such areas may include features associated with military history, and are typically larger and more complex than national historic sites.
The bill also tasks the head of NASA with managing access to the park by coordinating with other space-traveling nations.
"That history, as preserved on the lunar surface, is now in danger, as spacefaring commercial entities and foreign nations begin to achieve the technical capabilities necessary to land spacecraft on the surface of the moon," Edwards said on the House floor on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
Together with the Secretary of the Interior, the NASA administrator would have to devise a "general management plan" for the park within 18 months of the bill's enactment.
The Secretary of the Interior would also be expected to nominate the Apollo 11 lunar landing site, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin first walked on the moon's surface in 1969, as a World Heritage Site.
To achieve this status, a site must be evaluated by an international committee and must meet one of 10 cultural and natural criteria, such as representing "a masterpiece of human creative genius," or exhibiting "an important interchange of human values."