LOS ANGELES — The California State Historical Resources Commission voted unanimously to designate more than 100 pieces of space trash, scientific apparatus and commemorative tokens from the Apollo 11 moon landing as state historical resources.
The eight-member panel decided that everything left behind by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin should be added to California's register of historical resources.
The move is part of a five-state effort to push Tranquility Base toward being named a national historic landmark and U.N. World Heritage Site, said Milford Wayne Donaldson, the state historic preservation officer. The other states — Florida, Alabama, New Mexico and Texas — were also highly involved in the Apollo program, he said in a telephone interview from Sacramento.
The Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle set down on the moon's Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, with Armstrong calling to mission control: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
Since then history has focused on Armstrong's first step onto the surface, his declaration of "one giant leap for mankind," images of the first human bootprint in the dust and the rocks that were brought home.
Little is said about the items the astronauts couldn't bring back: science instruments, tools, trash. In all there are more than 100 items, and academic interests are behind the push to protect the site, Donaldson said.
"It's not inconceivable … we could have people visiting the moon," he said.