Track 3: Conservation of modern and post-modern heritage
APT Student Scholar Abstract and Application
Humanity is quickly advancing towards recreational space travel and space colonization. The moon and Tranquility Base, the lunar landing site for Apollo 11, are likely to be popular stops for tourists. The first steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had universal cultural value for all of humanity. Considering this significance, the site deserves recognition and preservation for future generations. However, the lunar environment is completely alien for preservationists and poses significant challenges that hinder traditional preservation efforts. My project, Preservation Moon, defines the cultural landscape of Tranquility Base, identifies and assesses the challenges for preservation, and then poses potential opportunities for preservation.
The cultural landscape of Tranquility Base covers an area of just over one acre. The defined cultural landscape includes the tangible artifacts remaining at Tranquility Base and the footprints left behind by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The presence of the astronaut footprints makes the landscape unique, as they provide a full record of human interaction within the landscape.
Aiding in the defining of the cultural landscape, Preservation Moon also looks into the challenges that are present in the possibility of preserving Tranquility Base. The alien environment of the Moon has allowed Tranquility Base, and all its historical resources, to remain untouched and undisturbed, and thereby affording the site to a high level of integrity. However, the factors that lend themselves to protecting the site also make preservation a challenging puzzle, such as the atmosphere, the remote location, and legal jurisdiction. Preservation Moon looks at these challenges and explores what opportunities there might be to begin solving the problems.
Finally, Preservation Moon begins to explore the potential opportunities for how to preserve Tranquility Base. There will be no one-size-fits all option, instead preservationists will have to creatively look towards new options and opportunities to ensure the continued existence of Tranquility Base. Preservation Moon proposes options such as detailed documentation of resources and their condition, new international treaties, changes to the criteria for World Heritage Sites, and planning and zoning that establishes safe areas to utilize the potential of the moon for future space exploration and settlement. Ultimately these goals would provide a framework for protecting the fragile nature of Tranquility Base.
In the 50 years since Apollo 11 left the Moon there has been little fear of damage to Tranquility Base due to human interaction. Now humanity is once again racing to the Moon, introducing the human threat back into the equation. Without proper planning and preparation Tranquility Base could be lost to history. In such an alien environment, one misstep could completely change the beauty and context of this special landscape.