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Preserving out-of-this-world artifacts


Space archaeologists are initiating discussions regarding how to protect artifacts of historical interest that are not located on Earth, such as the Apollo landing site on the moon.

Westwood said that in 1972 — near the end of the Apollo program — the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the World Heritage Convention in a pioneering effort to protect universally important monuments, buildings, archaeological sites,and natural and cultural landscapes from being depleted.

“At that time and within that context, cultural heritage was defined by its location relative to then-current political boundaries on Earth. We now can broaden that view to encompass many other historic properties on Earth, on the moon and beyond,” Westwood said.

In applying a cultural landscape approach to early space exploration heritage, she asked: Is it possible to designate a World Heritage List district of sites and properties that spans not only multiple countries, but planetary bodies as well?

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Story: Leonard David, Space | Photo: NASA

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