Friday, May 17, 2019

Key works in lunar cultural heritage: the essential reading list for Apollo 11's 50th anniversary

If you are interested in the issues around managing the cultural heritage values of archaeological sites located on the Moon, these are the key works that you need to read. A bibliography of the broader field of space archaeology and heritage can be found here.


Capelotti, P.J. 2010 The human archaeology of space: lunar, planetary and interstellar relics of exploration. Jefferson NC: McFarland and Company Inc

Capelotti, P.J. 2009 The culture of Apollo: a catalogue of manned exploration of the moon. In Ann Darrin and Beth O'Leary (eds) The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage pp 421-441 Boca Raton: CRC Press

Darrin, Ann and Beth O'Leary (eds) 2009 The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage. Boca Raton: CRC Press

Donaldson, Milford Wayne 2015 The preservation of California's military Cold War and space exploration era resources. In B.L. O'Leary and P.J. Capelotti (eds), Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space, pp. 91-110. Heidelberg: Springer.

Fewer, Greg 2002 Towards an LSMR and MSMR (Lunar and Martian Sites and Monuments Records): Recording the planetary spacecraft landing sites as archaeological monuments of the future. In Miles Russell (ed) Digging Holes in Popular Culture. Archaeology and Science Fiction, pp 112-172 Oxford: Oxbow Books

Gibson, R. 2001 Lunar archaeology: the application of federal historic preservation law to the site where humans first set foot upon the Moon. Unpublished Masters thesis, Department of Anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

Gold, R. 2009 Spacecraft and objects left on planetary surfaces. In Ann Darrin and Beth O'Leary (eds) The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage, pp 399-419 Boca Raton: CRC Press

Gorman, A.C. and Beth Laura O'Leary 2013 The archaeology of space exploration. In Paul Graves-Brown, Rodney Harrison and Angela Piccini (eds) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World, pp 409-424. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Gorman, A.C 2019 Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future. Sydney: New South Books

Gorman, A.C. 2016 Culture on the Moon: bodies in time and space. Archaeologies, 12(1) pp. 110-128.

Gorman, A. 2014 The Anthropocene in the Solar System. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 1(1) pp. 89-93.

Gorman, A.C. 2013 Look, but don’t touch: US law and the protection of lunar heritage. The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/look-but-dont-touch-us-law-and-the-protection-of-lunar-heritage-20758

Hertzfeld, Henry R. and Scott N. Pace 2013 International Cooperation on Human Lunar Heritage. Science, 29 November, 342(6162): 1049-1050

Lunar Legacy Project, New Mexico State University. http://spacegrant.nmsu.edu/lunarlegacies

NASA 2011 NASA’s Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of US Government Artefacts. Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Strategic Analysis and Integration Division, NASA https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/library/reports/lunar-artifacts.html

O'Leary, B.L. and P.J. Capelotti (eds) 2015 Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space. Heidelberg: Springer.

O’Leary, B.L., Bliss, S., Debry, R., Gibson, R., Punke, M., Sam, D., Slocum, R., Vela, J., Versluis, J. and Westwood, L. 2010 The artifacts and structures at Tranquility Base nomination to New Mexico state register of cultural properties. Accepted by unanimous vote by the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee on 10 April 2010

O'Leary, Beth Laura 2015 'To boldly go where no man [sic] has gone before': approaches in space archaeology and heritage. In B.L. O'Leary and P.J. Capelotti (eds) Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space, pp 1-12 Heidelberg: Springer.

O'Leary, B.L. 2009 One giant leap: preserving cultural resources on the moon. In Ann Darrin and Beth O'Leary (eds) The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage pp 757-780.Boca Raton: CRC Press

O'Leary, B.L. 2009 Evolution of space archaeology and heritage. In Ann Darrin and Beth O'Leary (eds) The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage pp 29-47 Boca Raton: CRC Press

O'Leary, B.L. 2009 Historic preservation at the edge: archaeology on the moon, in space and on other celestial bodies. Historic Environment 22(1): 13-18

Reynolds, Joseph 2015 Legal Implications of protecting historic sites in space. In B.L. O'Leary and P.J. Capelotti (eds), Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space, pp. 111-129. Heidelberg: Springer.

Spennemann, D.H.R. 2007 Extreme cultural tourism from Antarctica to the Moon. Annals of Tourism Research 34(4):898-918

Spennemann, D.H. R. 2004 The ethics of treading on Neil Armstrong's footsteps. Space Policy 20(4): 279-290

Walsh, J. 2012 Protection of humanity's cultural and historic heritage in space. Space Policy 28(4):234-243 

Westwood, Lisa D 2015 Historic preservation on the fringe: a human lunar exploration heritage cultural landscape. In B.L. O'Leary and P.J. Capelotti (eds), Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space, pp. 131-155. Heidelberg: Springer.

Westwood, L. and B. O'Leary 2012 The archaeology of Tranquility Base. Space Times Magazine 4(51)

Westwood, L., Beth Laura O'Leary and Milford Wayne Donaldson  2017 The Final Mission: Preserving NASA's Apollo Sites. Gainesville: University Press of Florida

Westwood, L., G. Gibson, B. O’Leary, and J. Versluis 2010 Nomination of the Objects associated with Tranquility Base to the California State Historical Resources Commission. Accepted by unanimous vote to the California State Register of Historical Resources on 30 January 2010



Saturday, May 04, 2019

All artefacts are anthropomorphic

I was reflecting on the phenomenon of anthropomorphising space technology.

Two social media-mediated incidents are central to my personal experience with this. From my early days on Twitter, I've followed Voyager 2. The account was not an official NASA account: it was run by scientist Dr Paul Filmer. During the now-forgotten US government shutdown in 2013, NASA closed it down. He was allowed to continue tweeting as the spacecraft, but using a different handle - @NSFVoyager2.

I found the impact of this quite informative. I woke up one morning to find people messaging me, wondering why Voyager 2 was silent on Twitter. We figured it had something to do with a recent tweet in which the spacecraft expressed a - very mild - opinion. We tried to reach Paul. I cried. I felt that I was cut off from the solar system, closed in like a fish caught in the ocean and transferred to a glass bowl on a table in the vestibule.

The second is the Rosetta/Philae mission to Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency's public outreach campaign was designed to get people emotionally invested, and it sure as heck worked on me. In 2016 the equipment used by the Rosetta orbiter to communicate with the Philae lander was turned off. As I've written here, knowing that Philae could no longer speak and be heard made me quite emotional, as if a friend had died.

Some are critical about this anthropomorphisation. They would say it's wrong to attribute our agency to things instead of letting them have their own, almost an oppression of things. 

Musing on my bus ride in this morning, it struck me that all artefacts are anthropomorphic, if only because they are made, shaped, used and discarded by humans. They're a non-flesh shadow, the reverse of our obverse, the mirror of our discontent. If they were not, how could we possibly use them to speak to us about absent humans?