A Canadian scientist calls for action to protect important geological and historical features on the Moon, Mars and other planets.
Jack Matthews of the Memorial University of Newfoundland says that nations and private companies are increasingly exploring outer spaces and developing space; there is a growing threat to extraterrestrial environments.
"A global agreement to protect key locations is needed before it's too late," he said Tuesday in an interview from Oxford, England.
Matthews, a post graduate student at the Memorial Department of Earth Sciences, and Sean McMahon from the UK Center for Astrobiology have just published a paper on the topic.
"The solar system holds billions of years of geological heritage," said McMahon. "We owe it to future generations not to waste their heritage."
Matthews said that historic and cultural sites including the Apollo 1
"There are the first footprints a human has ever made, but this footprint still exists because there is no atmosphere on the moon, so there is no wind, so this dusty footprint is still there conserved the surface of the Moon. "
Matthews said that with a number of countries and private companies actively preparing to send people beyond the earth, now is the time for discussion and discussion. 19659002] SpaceX, a private American company founded by Elon Musk, aims to send its first cargo mission to Mars in 2022.
The People's Republic of China has launched a manned space program, while the European Union, Japan and India have also planned future manned space missions.
The newspaper was published on Tuesday in "Acta Astronautica", a publication of the International Academy of Austronautics.
Matthews said their proposal's exploration or resource would not stand in the way of development, but would protect places like Valles Marineris – known as the Mars version of the Grand Canyon.
"We want to get very specific, important places that represent something, either culturally or historically oral or instructive or scientific or even aesthetic." There are wonderful landscapes that we have seen in photographs of Curiosity Rover and other rovers. If they were on Earth, they would undoubtedly be national parks, "he said.
It is expected that explorers will need to mine other planets otherwise they will deprive the resources needed to deliver water and rocket fuel for the return home, for colonization or further into the solar system.
Matthews said only because we can not go to these sites, at the moment do not make you were less worthy of protection.
He said that the countries of the world have teamed up to protect the Antarctic under the Antarctic Treaty, and the same could be done to protect places in outer space, and he hopes their paper will trigger the discussion, Matthews said Imagine that a governing body could be inside or parallel to the United Nations.
He said existing records protecting Earth's geological heritage could be used on other planets in what he calls Exogeo Conservation
Matthews said it could take years to reach an agreement so that Discussion and debate must begin now.