As governments consider more moon exploration, a space heritage archaeologist is calling on policy makers to think about how to protect historic sites on the moon -- such as the Tranquility Base landing site of the 1969 moon walk.
The sanctity of the first moon landing site is threatened by the dawn of a new race to put tourists in space, according to one researcher.
Beth O'Leary, a space heritage archaeologist from New Mexico State University, said this includes the imprints of man's first steps on the moon, which were made at Tranquillity Base almost 40 years ago, and remain on its surface.
But she says U.S. federal authorities are concerned any move to protect the site would be viewed as an attempt to claim sovereignty over the moon.
How to preserve moon-based artifacts and landing sites should be thought through before the push to return to the moon and space tourism see people again walking on its surface, she said.