Debate on What to Allow on the Moon Is Started by Private Missions

There are growing requests for regulations on what can be sent to the moon as a result of the increase in commercial American space missions. Plans by commercial corporations to send items that might not be appropriate for the lunar surface have drawn criticism from individuals and organizations. The companies submitting the ideas are those who have contracts with NASA, the American space agency, to deliver supplies and equipment to the moon and perform space flight services. Payloads are materials like this that are fired from rockets. The Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program of NASA is the focus of the endeavor. In an attempt to cut expenses, it intends to turn over the country’s primary space missions to private enterprises.


In the upcoming years, the CLPS program intends to launch multiple landers to the moon. In order to aid in human exploration and knowledge of the moon and its environs, the landers will be equipped with instrumentation and exploring gear. However, some missions also intend to send commodities that could be used for commercial purposes or human remains. International space law is the area of expertise for attorney Leslie Tennen. “We’re just at the beginning of exploring the moon, and…we need to be careful we’re not contaminating it,” she said to the Reuters news agency. According to her, precautions should be made to stop what she refers to as “litter” from spreading throughout the moon.

One privately constructed lunar lander attempted to land on the moon last month. However, soon after launch, the Peregrine spacecraft experienced a fuel leak and was unable to reach the moon. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Astrobotic Technologies is the company that constructed Peregrine. Twenty scientific experiments involving seven different countries were mounted onto the lander. It did, however, carry more materials. Among these were multiple crates of human remains, a fragment of Everest rock, a real bitcoin, and a can of Pocari Sweat, a Japanese sports beverage.

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