In absolutely devastating personal news, Reuters is reporting that the American government plans to allow U.S. companies to "stake claims to lunar territory through an existing [Federal Aviation Administration] licensing process for space launches."
This comes from an FAA letter sent in December to Bigelow Airspace, a company that intends to send paying customers—i.e. "government agencies, research organizations, businesses and even tourists"—first to a "space habitat" on the International Space Station, then to "free-flying orbital outposts," and then, around 2025, to the moon.
If this tenuous piece of extremely rude space law lasts till then, and Bigelow actually does "set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats," the company will have exclusive rights to its moon-space for mining, exploration, destruction, and other things that will be devastating to the metaphorical existence of my intended post-life destination (I plan to die on the moon) as well as the only brandless, stateless, beautiful thing that everyone on earth can see.
The FAA letter also notes that the U.S. regulatory framework is "ill-equipped" to enact the rules set out by a 1967 UN treaty, which requires governmental supervision of non-governmental entities in space, prohibits weapons of mass destruction in space or military bases on celestial bodies, and states that space exploration should benefit all nations. This seems very reasonable—it was signed by 102 countries—but may be as pie-in-the-sky as the 1979 Moon Treaty, which is wonderful and peaceful and idealistic, and thus ratified by only 16 states.
Reuters points out that much more government regulation is likely to be enacted upon the beautiful moon, as well as commercial activity that will strip the moon of its beautiful minerals. This is deeply upsetting as well as inevitable—as inevitable, at least, as my eventual death on the moon. So everyone take the next decade to enjoy the moon before you see a Chipotle up there.
Actually, now that I write that, I would not be opposed to a Chipotle on the moon. Actually, see you at the Moon Chipotle. If I weren't dead, I'd want carnitas.
Image via AP