The Moon Treaty

10 30 gib moon

Gibbous Moon at 10.30 pm

I had a great view of a waxing gibbous moon last night from my front door, (sorry, the photos are not up-to-much). A gibbous moon is when the illuminated portion is greater than half but not a full moon. The period between a first quarter Moon and full moon is known as a waxing gibbous moon, as the illuminated region of the Moon is increasing from day to day. After the moon becomes a full moon, but has not reached the last quarter, the Moon is called a waning gibbous moon. The word gibbous comes from a root word that means hump-backed.

The dark areas on the moon which can clearly be seen with the naked eye are called maria which is Latin for “seas” as ancient astronomers believed they were filled with water. It is known now that they are vast solidified areas of ancient basaltic lava. The lighter coloured areas of the Moon are called terrae, or “highlands because they are higher than most maria. The other major geologic process that has affected the Moon’s surface is craters caused by asteroids and comets that collided with the lunar surface.

That is the facts of the Moon, however apart from that; the Moon has great meaning for humankind for aeons on many levels. The Moon is our common heritage.

12 30 gib moon

Same Gibbous Moon at 12.30 am further West

I only found out recently that there was such a thing as an “Outer Space Treaty” which represents the basic legal framework of international space law and a “Moon Treaty.” The Moon Treaty of 1979 was meant to be a follow-up to the Outer Space Treaty.

This treaty would apply to the Moon and to other celestial bodies within the Solar System, other than the Earth. The treaty makes a declaration that the Moon should be used for the benefit of all states and all peoples. The treaty also states the following:

Bans any state from claiming sole sovereignty over any territory of celestial bodies.

Bans all exploration and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states under the “Common Heritage of Mankind Principle.”

Bans altering the environment of celestial bodies and requires that states must take measures to prevent accidental contamination.

It also expresses a desire to prevent the Moon from becoming a source of international conflict.

Well the history of humankind on planet Earth has failed in all the above so I am not at all surprised that the Moon Treaty is a failed treaty as it has not been ratified by major space-faring nation such as United States of America, some member states of the European Space Agency and Russia. However as of 2014, it has been ratified by 16 states; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uruguay.

I do not think we have to worry about aliens coming – we are well capable of having a Star War by ourselves.


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