In the last post I wrote about some practical issues that occurred to me as I fantasized about being involved in building the first private lunar rover. I still think about it in that way, but today a new thought occurred to me: will there be historical preservation of Moon landing sites?
Back in 1969 Neil Armstrong placed his footprints (bootprints, really) on the lunar soil, marking one of the greatest technical achievements NASA has ever made. The location of these prints is well documented. Google’s contest provides extra incentive for visits to historical sites, and what site is more spectacular than right on top of the Eagle lander?
Once your robot arrives, you are supposed to drive around capturing video and broadcasting back to Earth. Since one of the most significant views of this most significant site would be those very first footprints, will your robot drive over and snap a picture or two? Of course! But what if your robot doesn’t do exactly what its commanded, but instead drives over and literally erases those famous prints?
Or, in a fit of absolute mania, you decided you were entitled to own the rights to the very last video footage of those prints, and purposefully ordered your robot to do the fatal damage? What if you decided to sell the right to do this damage? Would anyone buy it? Would it even be illegal?